Entertainment » Movies

Meet the Hunks from ’The Host’

by Sean Au
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Sunday Apr 7, 2013

In the follow up to the young adult literary phenomenon "The Twilight Saga," Stephenie Meyer turns to aliens for inspiration for her stab in sci-fi thriller writing. In the somewhat near future, an alien species know as The Souls has taken over the human race on Earth by invading the bodies of humans using them as 'hosts.' The Souls believe they are transforming the universe into a better place by taking over the dominating species of different planets. There are pockets of resistance, of course, to fight the aliens and that is where our heroine comes in.

Melanie Stryder, played with schizo precision by Saoirse Ronan ("Hanna," "Atonement"), while trying to protect her brother Jamie (Chandler Canterbury of "After.Life," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button") was captured by a Seeker (Diane Kruger of "Inglourious Basterds," "Farewell, My Queen") who hunts down humans to be implanted with new arriving Souls.

The new Soul inside Melanie sympathizes with her host and helps her to escape to the resistance pocket hiding in a cave. It is here where Melanie gets re-united with her brother and boyfriend Jared (Max Irons of "Dorian Gray," "Red Riding Hood"). Jared's affection for Melanie turns hostile when he learns that she has turned alien, while another resistance fighter Ian (Jake Abel of "The Lovely Bones," "I Am Number Four") takes a liking to the alien trapped in the human host.

Like "The Twilight Saga," you have a blossoming strong woman straddling between two hunks, except that this time, there are actually two beings inside her body. With a sequel novel already in the works, it probably is a matter of time that Melanie, Jared and Ian become household names. Let's then meet the fresh faced hunks who had to fight for the affection of our heroine: Max Irons, the son of Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons, hails from London and was last seen in the British drama series "The Runaway" and had a supporting role in Hollywood's adaptation of the "Red Riding Hood" story; and Jake Abel, a former model, last seen in another alien movie "I Am Number Four" and television series like "Grey's Anatomy" and "Supernatural."

EDGE speaks to the two up and coming young actors about their roles, their on screening chemistry and off screen bromance.

Romantic undertones

EDGE: What drew you to your character? What do you bring to your role?

Max Irons: For me, it was Jared’s problems. When you first meet him, he discovers Melanie (Saoirse Ronan). He thinks she is a Soul but in fact she is one of the last remaining humans as far as he thinks. He falls in love with her, then she is taken from him. At which point, he finds his way to the cave, he finds a way to adapt and becomes a military figure, so to speak.

But then she comes back, the figure of Melanie’s former self, except even though she looks identical; she is not the girl Jared once knew. She is just a daily reminder. Yet, Jared further finds out that Melanie, whom he loves, is still trapped inside. That is an agonizing problem for anyone to face. Even thought this has romantic undertones, there is nothing romantic about that. It is a horrific reality he has to face and that is a nice problem to explore.

EDGE: What do you feel is challenging for you as an actor?

Max Irons: I think getting your head around the giant truth of the story. You know, we are no longer on top of the food chain. We are forced to hide in caves. Everyone we have known and loved is gone. That is tough to get your head around, to bring emotional truth to those things.

Inter-species relationship

EDGE: What do you feel you bring to your character, Jake?

Jake Abel: What initially drew me to Ian was he is very cerebral. He is one of the more evolved characters in the cave. He starts to develop emotions for this alien much quicker than a lot of people do. A lot of the stuff in the beginning when he was first introduced, he does not have a lot of dialogue, it is just his observations. That is a really neat challenge for any actor, to not to be able to use your words, just to have to convey it through whatever it is. Also, this is the first time I did not have to fight a bunch of people and be the bad guy. That is kind of a relief because I have played a lot of bad guys.

EDGE: How do you feel about this inter-species relationship between Ian and Wanda (the alien form that takes over Melanie)?

Jake Abel: That is one thing before I audition with Saoirse for Ian, Andrew Niccol, the director called me on the phone and drops some knowledge on me about why he liked Ian. He mentioned that this inter-species love and how he has never seen that and he wanted to explore that. And I really kind of connected with that weirdness right away. This relationship is so foreign. Everybody is a stranger to you until you get to know them and even then, you have to find out who they are, not to mention they are from a different galaxy, flown in through a pod. There is a scene where Wanda tells the story of all the worlds that she has been to and all the different kinds of things that she has been. It is wildly fascinating. I am obsessed with space and the universe so it was a field trip to go explore that for three months.

Like ’Twilight’?

EDGE: This being an adaptation from a Stephenie Meyer novel. There has to be a comparison drawn between "The Host" and "The Twilight Saga." What are your thoughts about this comparison?

Max Irons: Actually, I saw an article with the headline "Which of these films is going to be the next TWILIGHT?" There are about twelve films. The only common denominator between these twelve films is that they have young actors in them. I think "The Host" is very different from Stephenie’s previous work. What people are fascinated by is the phenomenon that TWILIGHT was. It was off the scale. I do not think we have seen anything like that since The Beatles. I think people are interested to see that again, whereas I think "The Host" is a departure from Stephenie’s previous work in terms of depth and questions posed. There is a lot more to this than just a romance. I think it is a story of survival. It poses some interesting philosophical questions. You should come into the theatre with an open mind.

A bromance?

EDGE: Were there any rivalries between you guys while making this film?

Max Irons: (jokes) So many!

Jake Abel: I wish! Because it would be so much more interesting to talk about. Everyone is a consummate professional.

Max Irons: Which makes it so much nicer, I cannot tell you!

EDGE: How about a fun memory on the set?

Max Irons: Jake discovered I had a vulnerability to insects of any type. He bought some...

Jake Abel: Yes, I came in contact with some plastic cockroaches, but I never really got to...

Max Irons: I was so glad! There was one day there was a moth in my trash can. It could have been anything. I did not know what it was so I got Jake to...

Jake Abel: You know, we had big scary American bugs here.

Max Irons: Big, scary, untrustworthy American bugs. So he came and got rid of it and since then I have never heard the end of it. But that is what you do with a friend, isn’t it? You show them a bit of vulnerability and they exploit it!

Jake Abel: That is what you do!

The Host is currently in theaters.


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