The Host Book/Press Tour made a stop in Dallas on March 12, 2013. I was lucky enough to sit down for a brief interview with Max Irons, Jake Abel, and Chandler Canterbury. I had to hold onto the interview until the week of release, so here it is.
I discuss with them the limitations of the film and any pressure they felt bringing such a popular book to life. This was one of Chandler’s first interviews so I asked him how he got the part. I also asked whose body they would take over if they were a Soul and if they would like to work with anyone in the crew again.
I should mention that since everyone had been remarking that Jake and Max looked like a lot of fun, but they looked tired, I decided to bring the boys a couple of things. Both Max and Jake got a Shiner beer (a Texas beer) and Starbucks Double Shot Espresso drink. I ended up getting Chandler a Big Red soda. Lame? It sounded good in my head.
Max: There was a poster of the US magazine cover and she (publicist) showed it to me this morning, and I said I’ve already seen it. And she says, “How have you seen it, it’s only just been sent out?” The Host Movie News.
*At this point, I become a tad bit excited. And the interview begins.*
Q: The film is two hours, which is great, versus an hour and a half. But it still seems like the relationship, not yours (pointing to Max) because it is very developed. You see Melanie and Jared beforehand, but yours (pointing to Jake) kind of seems a little rushed. You (Jake) go from strangling her to, “Oh, I am kind of interested in that.” What are the limitations on doing a film like this?
Jake: Well, I think what was really interesting was, you know sometimes you read a script and you say “Where is all my dialogue? I want to be speaking more.” But sometimes I think it is more important to . . . it is what you don’t say. I think Andrew did that in the film where, after the strangling part, there is just a lot of shots of Ian sitting, watching, observing, and I think that’s his process of figuring things out. He is very cerebral, and it’s an interesting challenge because you just have to use your . . .everything you’re hearing, no words. It just makes your job a little more interesting sometimes.
Q: What is the most daunting thing about approaching a role based on such a popular book? (For all three actors)
Max: We had two weeks of rehearsal, which you usually never really get. We were all talking, and then a few days passed, and then we sort of addressed the elephant in the room, which was Stephenie’s former work. The Host was, is, and needed to be entirely different and entirely separate. Because I think people were very interested in making a comparison between those two bits of work when, in fact, I really do think that they are completely separate and independent of one another. And we were cautious not to fall into that trap.
Jake: We just kind of made a pact that we would try to make a film with as much integrity as possible, and that’s what the rehearsal was. It was our time to sit there and try to find (Max: The truth) the truth and the hidden things within the script and I think it made all the difference in the final product of the film.
Q: Chandler, you were one of the last people we heard was cast in this film. What was the audition process like for you?
Chandler: It wasn’t that bad (Me joking: It was easy!) I auditioned like twice. I taped one and my manager sent it to the casting director and then he liked it and sent it to Andrew (Niccol), I guess. I did a Skype call with Andrew, and then Christmas, my mom wrapped the script in a present, and it had a big note that said, “You got the part!” She handed it to me, and I opened it and, you know, it said that. And I was like, “Well, okay.”
Max: Andrew could not stop talking about you (Chandler) in rehearsals. Couldn’t stop.
Q: If you could be a Soul and take control of anyone dead or alive for 24 hours, who would it be?
(Lots of silence)
Jake: Either Nikola Tesla or Albert Einstein
Max: Wow . . . god . . . (thinking)
Jake: Just say Jay-Z. I know you are going to.
Max: She’s changed it up and added 24 hours. What can you do in 24 hours? I thought I would be President of the United States, but then I gotta go through Congress. And then maybe I thought a dictator and just get something done.
Jake: But horrifically.
Max: Maybe North Korea. You can just say “We are just going to stop all the nukes! Just throw them out.”
Jake: Basketball for everyone.
Max: Basketball for everyone. Lots of food for everybody and we’re done.
Me: Chandler, how about you?
Chandler: God, I don’t know.
Me: Sports star you like?
Chandler: Well, I wouldn’t want to ruin their reputation.
Jake: Overnight terrible.
Chandler: I don’t know. I really don’t. Maybe John Lennon. Wait! . . . yeah.
Q: Is there anyone in the crew besides Stephenie and Andrew who you would love to work with again?
Max: I think, yeah.
Jake: Honestly, anyone.
Me: A good group?
Jake: It really is, yeah. It absolutely really is. I think maybe the most rewarding, just because of the years of knowledge, was William Hurt and all the things we were able to learn from him just because he’s been doing it a long time. It was pretty incredible and intimidating at times, but you come out on top on the other side.
Max: I agree.
Jake: The chickens were fun, too.
Me: I was going to ask about the chickens just running around in the cave.
Jake: Frances Fisher wearing them on her head and chest.
Max: She was like a chicken whisperer. She’s got one in each hand and one on her head. That’s Frances.
Picture below from Lee Hardee to visually depict this below.
Source: The Host Movie News