Since getting his big break opposite Hugh Grant in 2002's 'About A Boy,' Nicholas Hoult has gone from precocious child star to undead leading man. J-14 caught up with the 23-year-old actor (who recently ended his two-year relationship with 'X Men: First Class' costar Jennifer Lawrence) for an exclusive chat about his turn as a lovable zombie named R in 'Warm Bodies' -- and his real-life tricks to winning a girl's heart.
'Warm Bodies' hits theaters this Friday, February 1.
J-14: What do you say to skeptics who think 'Warm Bodies' is just another 'Twilight'?
Nicholas Hoult: What sets 'Warm Bodies' apart majorly is that it takes itself quite lightly. It doesn't take itself too seriously like [some other films in the genre do]. It's entertaining and fun and also slightly scary at points. It's got a funny, twisted sense of humor about it. And I thought it was an interesting take to tell the story from a zombie's point of view.
J-14: Have you ever been super uncomfortable around a girl like R is when he first interacts with Julie?
Nicholas: I feel uncomfortable with anyone until I start to get to know them, and then I can relax a little bit. It's hard enough for us guys to be around girls anyway -- and particularly with a zombie who hasn't been around a girl for a long time. We don't know what to say or do, but R definitely has a very heightened version of that where he can't really talk as well, so he's trying to communicate through records or showing her things which is very tricky.
J-14: The zombies in 'Warm Bodies' definitely have some communication challenges. In your own life, have you struggled with being misunderstood?
Nicholas: It could potentially be a very English male trait where we find it very difficult to communicate our emotions, but I think that everyone at some point feels like they don't fit in. Connecting with people is one of the best things that happens in life. It happens very rarely, and it's something everyone's striving for.
J-14: In the film, R risks his life for Julie. What's the most romantic thing you've done for a girl?
Nicholas: Well romantic things, it's more like little surprises -- making a surprise meal or something like that. All the little things, like you stop and get them flowers on the way home or something, even though flowers usually mean you've done something wrong. Be careful with the flowers. Sometimes you'll get in trouble for buying flowers.
J-14: Which do you think you'd be more likely to survive -- a zombie apocalypse or the Hunger Games?
Nicholas: My chances are not good in either. I'm going to go with the zombie apocalypse because I could maybe blend in and pretend to be a zombie for a little bit and they wouldn't notice.
By Ashley Spencer
Photo: Maria Laura Antonelli/Startraks Photo