|Photo by Bobby Quillard|
Based on the novel of the same name by Isaac Marion, the new movie Warm Bodies centers around a young zombie named “R” (Nicholas Hoult)who shuffles around an airport, while dealing with an existential crisis. One day, he meets Julie Grigio (Teresa Palmer), and instead of eating her, he rescues her, and then he falls in love.
Positive changes start to happen among R’s zombie horde-friends, but there’s a big problem: Julie’s dad is a general who wants to exterminate every last zombie.
I was fortunate enough to see Warm Bodies at an advanced screening way back in December, so imagine how stoked I was when I landed an interview with actor Cory Hardrict who plays Kevin, the second-hand man to John Malkovich‘s General Grigio.
|Hardrict in Battle: Los Angeles
No, I haven’t. When I was a child, I was a scaredy cat. I was afraid of everything zombie, alien, creatures, all of them.
I mean, I think The Exorcist did it for me in that whole horror, spooky way and I was afraid of anything that had to do with blood. I fell into that lately; those are the roles that I fell into. You know, I think they say you have to face your fears, attack your fears.
And it’s kind of like I faced them head-on when I started auditioning for these projects, and then they start getting fun and you start booking them.
It seems I’ve been gravitating into these projects where I hold a weapon and I shoot people, aliens, zombies, creatures; I shoot them all. So, that’s how I fell into this and I love it. I’m having a great time doing it, as well.
Did you read the novel Warm Bodies as you prepared?
CH: Yeah, yeah, I read it. [Author] Isaac Marion put together a great tale and there was quirkiness in it, but at the same time, he caught the love aspect of it. The whole Romeo & Juliet story. Everyone has heart, whether it’s zombies or whatever; you still have the heart. And they still have feelings and that’s just the most important thing, whatever you are. So, he brought that story together with a human being and just made it really, really special and then he added all these other colors in it — the zombies, the boneys, and the action. I mean, it’s one of the best books I’ve read by far, and he has a new book coming out right now, the prequel, The New Hunger, so knock on wood we can do that film…If you’re listening, someone at Lions Gate [Entertainment]… let’s go! [laughs]
Gran Torino and The Least Among You, you play characters who are unsavory. They’re bigoted, they’re misogynistic; they’re not very nice characters. Is it difficult for you to play characters like that, especially being a married family man?
No, it’s not, because I feel like you’re acting at the same time. I’m being you know — and what do they say — Art represents life? I’m from the south side of Chicago, so I grew up around real people and real characters, you know? My uncles, my brothers, cousins, they lived this life. I can look back, being around it. I didn’t live that life, but it’s easy to tap into it, since I’ve been around it and that’s how I was raised. I’m deep rooted in it, so I just tap into the family and I pull it out on screen, so they get mad at me and they say, “Hey, that’s not you! That’s me! That’s cousin Johnny!” I’m like, “You’re damn right, that’s cousin Johnny, but I’m getting paid for it now!” [laughs] I mean really, I’m just being honest. I learned from family. My experiences, I can put it on the screen really well. I didn’t smoke a cigarette, but you didn’t know that, how I smoked it, but I got that from my Uncle O.J., so I owe him some residuals for that.
How did you overcome that background and not succumb to a more dangerous life?
My mom raised me well, God bless her soul. She’s in Heaven now. She kept me away from that. I went to Catholic school. As I got older I went to public school, but she kept me grounded; she instilled great qualities in me. My mom raised me and my brothers with no high school education and we had it all. She just told us if we wanted anything, we had to work hard for it. You have to believe in yourself and you’ve gotta have faith and I kept that with me. I know what I want to do, you know? From being an extra in Oprah Winfrey’s movie, waiting in line with 2,000 kids. I had the best time of my life and I knew I wanted to do this for the rest of my career.
Can you briefly describe your role in
Lovelace and what drew you to it?
|The Real Crocker
Hey, it’s about the porn business — need I say more? [laughs] I mean, hey, it is what it is. It was great material and the character was based on a true guy, Frankie Crocker, who’s a DJ who owned a radio station in New York, New Jersey, and he was phenomenon taking over the ’70s and ’80s, you know?
The disco era, the big Afros, the jewelry, the dressing, you know? It was just something special, and this thing made over $600 million and Linda Lovelace, played by the lovely Amanda Seyfried, who’s just a gem to work with and a great human being. She did an amazing job, hopefully she will get nominated or something good. I read it and it was great and I was like, “Well, I got to be a part of this,” and it happened.
I interview the porn stars who come to the radio station all the time and just try to find out the excitement of that and just want to know more about how they did it and why they did it. You know, maybe I can help and I spread it out through my station on how this thing has taken over the country and it’s an exciting time for the X-rated business, so yeah, that’s who I play. I wear gold, you know, bell bottoms, I smoked a small cigarette, it’s like two inches long. I kept burning my fingers in every take. You gotta love it. You gotta give people what they want. People want to see realism and that’s what I try to bring to my characters, big or small. Oh, I’m excited! You got me going now! [laughs]
Geek question now: Who is your favorite superhero and why?
I would say my favorite superhero would be Spider-Man. I love Spider-Man, you know, I love Captain America. I don’t know if you know about Spectreman, but when I was little there was a superhero called Spectreman. He was probably way past your time — way past mine, too — but I remember Spectreman. He had this pointy little head and he would always save people. I thought he was slick, but also why Spider-Man is because he has a great quality about him; he’s human, but he’s not. He’s funny, he’s entertaining. He can be serious and witty, but he don’t take himself too seriously and he saves people. He spreads the love and that’s all it’s about. Saving people and spreading love and that’s what I’m in the business to do.
What do you get really geeked out over?
|Cory and wife, Tia Mowry Hardrict|
What do I really love? I love my family, I love my son but I don’t know if I get really geeked out over it. Um…geeked..geeked…I don’t know. I would say jumping in the ocean. I get geeked out over jumping in the ocean. When I go to Hawaii and jump off this thing called Black Rock in Maui, that is something I get geeked out about. I get charged about it, you know? We go every summer to Maui and I climb up this big ol’ rock and swim with the turtles. It’s the greatest feeling known to man, so that’s that.
Wow, um, they both have that magnetic power with them. They’re so zen, so powerful without saying a word.
The thing about John Malkovich is that he’s a great human being, a humble man, and he’s a giving actor, as well. You just want to be around him. You know, he plays, he goes back and forth; it’s like a great tennis match. He’s an awesome, special person and I have to say, I really respect him and have the utmost, you know, everything for that man.
Clint Eastwood was awesome, too. He gave me the best advice ever: “Never worry about what you’re going to get, just show them what you’ve got” and it’s stuck with me throughout my career so far. I try and show people what I got and don’t worry about what I’m going to get. And he ate lunch with me everyday for three weeks — by himself, no entourage, nothing, no big crowds; I learned a lot. He’s a legend and a living legend at that. And he gave me a big shot, you know, a few scenes in his film, but he let me do what I do and so I’m glad I was a part of history.
Do you have a dream role?
[without skipping a beat] Yes, to play the President, to play Barack Obama; that’s it.