You might know him as the guy who is no longer dating Academy Award Nominee Jennifer Lawrence, but Nicholas Hoult is about to be everywhere and defintely Hollywood’s new “It” boy.
Hoult, stars in Summit’s new romantic comedy, ‘Warm Bodies,’ opening this weekend. He plays a brain eating zombie named “R.” We’ve seen him, as a child actor, in the film ‘About a Boy’ (2002), and as “Beast/Hank McCoy” in the ‘X-Men First Class’ (2011) where he met Lawrence, but finally he gets a role that he can sink his teeth into, literally.
“R” is a tongue tied zombie who laments inwardly about his life and what’s missing from it. Namely, someone to love. In a classic story of boy meets girl, with an original twist, this film soars to new heights in this zombie-romantic-comedy genre film that is getting good scores from critics.
In the lead role, Hoult, who also stars in the upcoming ‘Jack the Giant Slayer,’ out March 1st, opens the film walking through the airport among a horde of the undead. With a cleverly used voice over, we hear what he is thinking, and see how he lives compared to the days before the apocalypse. In an original twist, story writer, Isaac Marion (novel) paints a picture of what happens to humanity eight years after the apocalypse, and how life goes on. Pairing that with the traditional theme of boy meets girl mixed with star-crossed lovers like Romeo and Juliet we get a story that meshes so well to todays standards that I see big box office numbers for this film.
Based on a book, written by Isaac Marion of the same title, the film deviates somewhat in the age and sophistication of “R” perhaps as a way to make the film more appealing to the younger crowd. Warm Bodies, the film, is written and directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50). The film adaption is very well written and captures all the elements that make the novel version so took a great story and interpreted for the screen in such a way that it stays true to ittself.
Playing the lead character of “R” comes with several challenges for Hoult who is originally from Great Britian. He does a wonderful job with his American accent, which is sometimes a garbled, non verbal word or two, but you would never know from his portrayal that he’s actually a thick accented Brit. He also wears a lot of make-up, a few scars, and contacts that give his eyes the appearance of being dead and free of emotion. Combined with a quirky gait and jerky movements it’s a wonder that he is able to convey any emotion let alone making the audience fall in love with his character.
Through the use of body language, a limited amount of dialogue (especially in the beginning) Hoult is able to create and shape a character that audiences will find endearing and in some way, attractive. He’s the lost soul that you want to find love for. The best guy friend who never gets the girl, or if he does, gets hurt bad. By the end of the film you’ll be rooting for “R” and impressed with Hoult.
This role may not garner him an award of high status like a Golden Globe or Academy Award, but casting agents, and directors will see what an acheivement he was able to do with the limited about of physical expression in the face and dialogue. With his good looks, natural talent, and acting ability, I look forward to seeing him in future roles that will allow him more weight and depth.
His next film is Jack the Giant Slayer which also casts him in the position of lead, substantiating his status from boy actor, to man in a leading role. Hoult is currently working on another X-Men film that is in pre-production (X-Men: Days of Future Past) and recently completed a new Mad Max film (Mad Max: Fury Road) that stars Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron.
It’s safe to say that he has made the transition from child actor to leading man with ‘Warm Bodies’ and his acting future looks bright. The buzz is super hot for Hoult regardless of who he is dating or not dating.
Look for my official review of ‘Warm Bodies’ coming out Feb. 1st when the film opens wide.