The Hollywood Reporter has an in depth interview with Stephenie Meyer, Andrew Niccol, Jake Abel, Saoirse Ronan, and Diane Kruger about The Host. I noticed some of the quotes used in the previous THR interview/story are from this interview. This interview is called Stephenie Meyer’s The Host: 10 Burning Questions (and Answers) About the Big Screen Adaptation (Q & A). Below are excerpts from the interview. Please go to the THR site to read the full interview. It is worth the time to read it all, just like their last interview with Stephenie Meyer.
The interview discusses the run time for the film, the next book (yay!), the next film, how Saoirse does both Melanie and Wanda, and what was changed from the book.
THR: The book is more than 600 pages long. How long will the movie run?
Niccol: I think it will be dead-on for two hours.
THR: What was Meyer’s role on set as a producer?
Abel: She was on set, but she really kind of gave us free reign [to develop our characters]. We had two weeks of rehearsal with just the cast and Andrew Niccol, and that’s where we really came together to discover the entire story and really unearth all the things in the script. From there, she really just let us define it for ourselves, which was really great.
Kruger: We met in Baton Rouge when we started filming. We had a long rehearsal process. It was great that she was there, because we could ask her how the character may evolve, and she definitely had a lot of notes on how the movie ends for my character because of maybe another film or because of the second book. We don’t know what the second book is.
THR: What was the most challenging scene to adapt to film?
Niccol: I think that scene in the field, because it’s so difficult to create something on that scale. You literally have a wheat field in a cave, so just logistically, doing that was enormous. [The washroom is] literally a river in a cave. It was a major engineering feat. We had to pump gallons and gallons of water every minute to pour exactly. It was easy to put on the page to deliver a cave, but creating it — something else.
THR: How will the viewer see and hear the internal conversations between Wanda and Melanie?
Niccol: It’s one of those things in the novel that is talked about as a concept, but Saoirse’s character is literally the inhabitant of a starving alien being. … Yes, she recorded all of Melanie, the human character, beforehand, and I played it to her in an earpiece. I played her her own voice so she could have a conversation with herself. No one else could hear it on the set, none of the other actors, none of the crew could hear it. So I was listening to it, and Saoirse could hear herself, some of the intense conversations she was having with herself, sort of battling hopelessness.
THR: Stephenie is currently in the process of penning a sequel to The Host. Do you know where the story might go?
Abel: She’s a steel trap. We tried the whole time to get little bits of information out of her, and she’s locked up tight. I have no idea. And we wondered if maybe the things we created on set would influence her. She had mentioned that watching us bring it to life had given her ideas, and the things we’ve done with each character have given her ideas of where they go, and that’s really interesting, I think, for both of us to be influencing each other in this streamlined way. … There was one thing — we wanted to play guitar in the movie. We wanted Ian to play guitar. So we got a guitar and we had a piece written for me to learn, and we were ready to go, but then she was like, “Stop!” And she wouldn’t say, but I think, hopefully, music is a big part of the second book.
Niccol: I had a beautiful piece of music composed for [Jake] to play, but Stephenie says, “No, music plays a pivotal part in the next book, so can you not play?” Funny thing is, there is a chamber in the cave where you see a guitar leaning up against the wall. It’s foreshadowing for the next movie.
Meyer: Not having written it doesn’t mean you don’t know everything that’s going to happen. I have very detailed outlines, I do a lot of outlining, to the point where there’s dialogue in my outlines. The outline for this is about 50 pages long. It gets very in-depth. So I know exactly what’s going to happen. There’s a lot you can do with a science-fiction world. There’s a lot of exploration you can do, so there’s a lot of different directions.
THR: Speaking of the next book, what about the next film?
Niccol: I’ll have to speak to Stephenie about that if she wants me back. It’s so secretive, I don’t even know what the next story is. It’s up in the air. Until there’s a second book, I can’t quite make a lead to a second film, but I would love to work with her again. It’s been such a fun collaboration.
Meyer: I think they’d like to keep going [with a film series]. That’s the conversation I’ve had. I think the biggest hold-up is the fact that I’m writing so slow.
Kruger: My character has more possibilities still to come — especially with the human aspect.
THR: What has changed from the book in the movie?
Niccol: In the novel where the seekers capture humans, they’re described as wearing black, but in people with a purity and the soul’s intention. I suggested they wear white. [Meyer] thankfully embraced that change. [Also], the seekers are armed and sort of killing us with kindness in this alien way. I suggested that only human beings use guns, and they would have other ways of killing us, and they would just literally come in peace, so I thought let’s get rid of those weapons. Again, I thought, it’s a big part of the novel and she totally embraced it. There were other times when she wouldn’t agree [with my suggestions]. For instance, I thought that the world that the soul could enter the body would be small and light enough to enter a host, the human being by sliding seamlessly under the eyelids. But in the novel, they make an incision in the neck and make it in that way. Stephanie thought that the fragile nature of our eyes would be awkward to our audience. … I stuck with the book.