Director Jonathan Levine and actor Dave Franco sat down to talk about their latest film‘Warm Bodies.’ The movie is based on online short story ‘I am a Zombie Filled with Love’ written by Washington State native, Isaac Marion.
The movie is a love story between a zombie teenager “R” (Nicholas Hoult) and a teenage zombie hunter, Julie (Teresa Palmer). ‘Warm Bodies’ takes the young love fairy tale theme (love overcomes the monster) as seen in films like the ‘Twilight’ series, and ‘Beauty and the Beast’, and applies it to zombies. Of course, this goes against the zombie lore that zombies have no feelings and are just eating machines.
According to Director Levine, it was this unique approach to zombies that drew him to the story. Levine who is known for making such movies as ‘50/50 ’ and ‘The Wackiness’ says of the film, ‘It’s an adventure. It’s a fairy tale romance. It’s got comedic elements. It’s got horror elements.’
Dave Franco (Perry) whose character is killed off in the beginning of the film (He is featured in flashbacks) states, ‘It is a very ambitious feat. It could have gone horribly wrong. And, you take a risk so that it feels fresh and original.’
Agreeing with him, Levine explains, ‘Yes, you take a risk. ‘It is a pop culture modern take on it with hand held cameras and modern music along with many different juxtapositions.’ And during the editing, at times he thought it had gone wrong. But, it was movie where he had to be willing to try different things and not be scared if it sucked for a few days. ‘Like ‘50/50’ it is a balancing act.’
It seemed to be that without human interaction people, essentially turn into zombies, just shuffling along tethered to their I Pads, IPods, and cell phones
When asked if the movie was a take on society and our obsession with electronic devices. Levine said, ‘ Yes, it is a social commentary’ ‘Isaac had written into the film a social commentary and that is where the zombie lore comes in to play. What does it mean to be alive? The theme at the heart of it (the movie) is that people have forgotten what it means to be human and, through the interaction of these two characters, other people re‐learn what it means to be human.’ Levine says, ‘Not just the zombies, but the humans, too.’
I asked if the comedic parts in the film was scripted. Levine, says, ‘Some of the comedy in the film was improvised. When you have Rob Corddry (M) you allow him to be Rob. He is use to having creative control of his own T.V. show and putting things on his back. So once I had something I would say do whatever. And, that is where some of the funniest scenes come from. ‘
Franco, states that it is very hard to make a PG-13 scary movie that is also funny. There were moments where you feel invested in your character and moments where you are eating brains, and Rob says something that is funny.’
Director Jonathan Levin is able to weave all these elements in ‘Warm Bodies’ and produce a zombie fairy tale suitable for a PG-13 audience.
He plans on taking off some time from his busy schedule (He made ‘50/50’ and ‘Warm Bodies’ back-to-back). He is looking at some things and writing some things, but he states he wants to chill out for a while. But, he promises that it will be awesome.