Join Date: Feb 2014
Re: The Official Dofp MAGAZINES Thread
NICK Youíre very up on technology and science in general, so would you say thatís what you believe in more than any religion or philosophy?
BRYAN I think so, generally speaking. But I leave myself open to things spiritual, because I believe there are so many things unknown. It is a miracle that we exist, that we have intelligence. It is such a miracle that we have Jupiter in our orbit to absorb all of the asteroids that could have destroyed the Earth, that we had just the right amount of carbon, just the right amount of heat, just the right amount of volcanoes and water. Itís a miracle that we have our consciousness and we can make art and music.
NICK I remember in The Short History of Everything, the Bill Bryson book, he wrote down the chances of all the molecules lining up as they did and the number went on for pages. It wasnít even a number that one could contemplate. So it is a miracle in that sense.
BRYAN Itís great to have someone like Bryson explain things in laymanís terms so we can digest it. Christianity used to only be preached in Latin, so packs of people didnít even know what was being said. Did you have a religious upbringing?
NICK [I was raised] Christian, and I was even a choirboy for a couple years. Iíve never felt particularly religious though. I just try to be good. The sad thing is that a lot of the time, when you look at whatís wrong with the world, itís people who believe their own religion so vehemently that they think everyone elseís god is wrong. It causes a lot of conflict, unfortunately.
BRYAN Yeah, the concept of us versus them instead of just ďus.Ē
NICK Iím not saying anything against religion, it can be wonderful for many people and provide support when you need that spiritual element to pick you up in times of trouble.
BRYAN Well, hereís the thing: in [next yearís] sequel, Apocalypse, one thing I want to deal with is the notion of religion and the notion of what would happen if a mutant was born 2,000 years ago? In ancient times, what would a person think of a mutant, what would the mutant think of themselves? Would that mutant be called a god? Would it think itís a god? And would it be right to think so, in the context of that culture and that world? Those are some of the aspects Iím playing with in the sequel. When we get to lunch, Iíll gladly pitch to you, weíll talk through it. But in an alternate universe where you arenít an actor, what do you think you would want to do for a living?
NICK Itís difficult to say, because Iíve been involved in acting since I was so young that I havenít ever really thought about doing anything else. The great thing about acting is that when you are prepping for a film like Days of Future Past you learn so much about science and time travel and all these things, and if Iím going off to play an ancient warrior, I learn about that historical time and how to use their weapons and what it was like to live like them. I learn a lot through that process, so thatís why itís such a great job for me.
BRYAN What are you feeling when youíre portraying a specific role? How do you embody another person?
NICK Itís tricky, because thereís no set approach to it with me. Iíve never really been taught a certain method or found one that I could stick with. Itís about being as prepared as possible, but also being flexible when you show up and someone says to do something different or says, ďThatís not working, stand over there and do this and try that.Ē There can be times that youíre so involved in the character that you are completely in that zone and the cameras and everyone around you donít exist and itís just you and the other character youíre in the scene with. Thatís a really great feeling. Even if the audience watching canít see a difference between that take and a take where youíre distracted or something went wrong, it feels different. But sometimes itís purely logistics.
BRYAN The best advice Iíve gotten is to get myself a hobby. I havenít been able to find one that I have taken seriously yet, but do you have one? Like, I know, for instance, Michael Fassbinder [who plays the young Magneto] has a fascination with sports and with racing and itís a true interest. Is there something that takes you completely away?
NICK One thing I really like is to get on a motorbike. Itís something that you have to be very focused on and it clears your mind. It feels very free. When youíre on the bike, no one is around telling you what to do, and thatís something about an actorís life that you have a lot of, you know, you have to be at this place at this time and so on. So thereís kind of a freedom that goes along with being on a bike. I used to play a lot of racquetball, but now just whatever sport is around. I like to stay active and the rest of the time, pretty much, is just heavy, heavy drinking.
BRYAN I just had an epiphany. Two other actors Iíve worked with, Tom Cruise and Hugh Laurie, are both motorcyclists, and I just realized itís not a coincidence: Tom always said that when heís on a motorcycle he wears a helmet, and a helmet hides your face, so itís one of the rare times he can just tool around without security or protection in complete anonymity. So, on [the topic of] personal stuff, you and Jennifer Lawrence met on X-Men First
NICK Yes, during our screen test.
BRYAN Then you guys got together, then broke up, and now youíre together again. How has that been, working with someone that youíre seeing romantically?
NICK Itís fun because in this business you are away from one another for long periods of time, so when youíre on set together itís a brilliant thing, because you actually get to spend time together. Especially with this film, I got to spend time with her, but also the rest of the cast who Iíve worked with, on the previous film, so it was kind of like going back to school after the break and seeing all your old mates again. Which is a great thing. It doesnít really affect the acting though.
BRYAN Over a very short period of time sheís become quite famous with the Academy Awards and The Hunger Games and everything. Has that been interesting? Has she changed since attaining this particular level of fame?
NICK The privacy thing obviously changes, but the rest pretty much stays the same. You can probably relate better, with you winning your first Oscar at 24 years of age.
BRYAN No, it was with The Usual Suspects and I was 27 or 28, but I was a filmmaker, behind the scenes, and there isnít the same attention projected onto you as when youíre a star. What I learned was that no one ever feels like theyíre established. It humanized the industry for me, meeting with established actors and directors through that.
NICK Itís like that thing whereby you donít believe your own hype. Enjoy the good times, but donít get swept away with it. And I think thatís something sheís capable of doing, and thatís what makes her special, but yeah, it is very odd, and I am just kind of a bystander in many ways. It is well-deserved for her. I havenít really seen any change in her.
BRYAN I asked James McAvoy something and Iíll ask you too. You know he can be very emotional, and in X-Men: Days of Future Past he has very emotional moments. So one night we were out at dinner and I asked him, ďWhat do you think of when youíre crying?Ē The layman always assumes that youíre calling up some tragedy in your past or some very, very sad thought. But he said it was mostly, 99 percent of the time, that the character is sad and he allows himself to be sad for the character. When you do an emotional scene, are you calling upon something from your personal life or do you live it through that character?
NICK Itís living through the character, but drawing from your own experience. The only time I can think back to doing that at the moment is, I remember shooting a scene in an episode of Skins, where my character was a jerk. He messed up and he was very lonely and upset with himself and it was kind of one of those things where in my head I had to think of a time when I felt similar, but at the same time I was thinking as the character in that world, in that position. So itís kind of a mix of both.
BRYAN I wish I had that talent to access the moment. When I try to say lines, itís a total disaster. My first short film starred Ethan Hawke and Iíve never forgotten something he told me. He said, ďActors equal production value,Ē meaning you can blow up a bridge or a Death Star or a city, but nothing beats a close-up of the right actor in the right scene living that moment through. Itís just mesmerizing. Thatís why we always look toward the most skilled actors to play these larger-than-life characters. What do you think of these comic-book movies now?
NICK I think the reason people relate to them is that they tell the story of the outsider. With X-Men, Xavier and Charles have both approached the same problem and itís interesting to see how each of them deals with it. The genre deals with morality and how to go from being an outsider to becoming part of something, and that is something everyone can relate to. Obviously theyíre also popular because theyíre entertaining and thereís a hero. The other day I was watching a video on YouTube of a dad putting on a batman mask and becoming his alter-ego, Batdad, around the house. And it was hilarious. People love a way to express themselves, and itís a way for anyone to become a hero, even if they donít have superpowers.
BRYAN With comic-book films, X-Men in particular, there is an identification with the desire to embrace your normal self but at the same time celebrate your special self. Itís a mixture of who you are to some people, who you are to yourself, and then who you aspire to be. Your job also has three facets to it. Youíre Nicholas Hoult the person, Nicholas Hoult the actor, and now Nicholas Hoult the celebrity. How much do you worry about the way people perceive the character youíre playing versus the way people perceive celebrity Nick Hoult?
NICK Well, to be clear, the most important is the personal life and then the acting. The celebrity life sort of takes care of itself, I donít really worry about it. I suppose it would be stupid to say itís irrelevant, because thatís sort of part of what being an actor is, but thereís also that part of me that doesnít want anyone to know anything about my personal life, because then they wonít be thinking about the characters, theyíll be thinking, Oh, thatís him, I know this or that about his life. Itís the same with everybody I guess, you donít want to take your job home. You want to do your best job and be proud of your work, but you want a life outside of it. The film side of things can tend to be pretty all-consuming, particularly when youíre working for 12 hours a day with the same people, hanging out with them for months on end nonstop. It goes back to what I said earlier. You need your own life experiences to base the character on when youíre acting, so you do need time away from film sets and the film world. I do anyway.