Australian actress Teresa Palmer stars with Nicholas Hoult in Warm Bodies, a twist on the romantic comedy genre. Set after a mysterious virus has devastated civilization, turning its victims into zombies, Julie (Palmer), witnesses her boyfriend Perry’s (Dave Fanco) demise when R (Hoult), a soulful zombie, eats Perry’s brains, thereby assimilating all of his memories.
Instantly attracted to Julie, R saves her from other hungry zombies by hiding her in an old abandoned 747, and it doesn’t take Julie too long to realize she might have the same feelings toward R.
I spoke with Teresa about her interesting new rom-com.
Have you watched many zombie movies?
I have seen Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, which was fantastic. It’s one of my favorite movies. It’s very different from Warm Bodies of course. It’s kind of horrific in a really beautifully shot way.
It was very much grounded in reality and it really petrified me. And I loved Zombieland, I thought that was great, it pokes fun at the zombie genre.
What was it like not to have to go through that zombie make up?
It was so refreshing. Usually you see on the call sheet when you’re getting picked up, and the guys always get picked up an hour and a half after the girls. But on this one it was great, it said, ‘Nicholas Hoult, 4:15 a.m.’, ‘Teresa Palmer, 7:30.’
There’s been a lot of comparisons to this story and Romeo and Juliet. Do you see any parallels between the stories?
We definitely pay homage to Romeo and Juliet. It’s kind of the quirky version of the classic love story. I do think that Juliet and Julie have a lot in common. They are both brave and spirited.
I love the balcony scene in Warm Bodies, it was very Romeo and Juliet, very sweet.
How would you fare in an apocalyptic world?
I think I’d be pretty good. Because of all the training I did for I Am Number Four, I know martial arts. And I know how to shoot a shotgun, because of Warm Bodies. I think I’d fare well in a zombie apocalypse.
I’m a good gun shooter. I went down to the gun range in LA and I was not bad. I love it, I feel so powerful with a gun. If it’s in a safe environment then it’s good. I could cook for everyone. People need food in the apocalypse, right?
If you could get into someone’s brain, like R, who would that be?
Elizabeth Taylor. I think she has had the most colorful life. Richard Burton, and all the incredible experiences she had, to even just have a snippet of what she lived through would be incredible.
I just finished reading Furious Love, which is about the love affair between the two of them and it just sounds so crazy and passionate. I think I would love that, to see what Hollywood was like back in those days. How interesting.
What was it like working with Nicholas?
Fantastic. He’s such a beautiful man in every way. He’s an incredibly gifted actor.
He had a very challenging role in this movie, because he couldn’t express himself verbally, so he really had to show his emotions through his eyes and his body language and a couple of groans and grunts.
He’s just so talented, this man is going to have a huge career. He’s also a beautiful, humble person.
Do you think the movie has a message?
I think what is at the core of this story is this beautiful notion that love heals. Love breathes life back into people. That’s something I really believe in, and I connect to and when I read that in the script I picked up on that instantly.
That’s kind of hidden in the zombie world, but it is a great metaphor for life. Love is the most powerful thing, it can transform you, it can heal so many people, and I think that’s the key, to be more loving to each other.