MAX IRONS Interview
By: April Crain
Here is our round table interview with MAX IRONS from the upcoming film THE HOST.
April sat down with Max Irons last Sunday in Hollywood to conduct this interview. Make sure to stay tune we will have our interviews with the rest of the cast up soon.
You can watch our Exclusive Interview with Max and Jake HERE-
Interviewer: Your character by the way , you have the best character name, Jared is...
Max: Just Jared?
I: No, No not that one, I'm Gerad with a G...
Max: It's a nice name
I: it works
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I: So this is, number one it's a fascinating premise to begin with, had you read the book before or was Andrew's (director/writer) script your first introduction?
Max: I read half the book before the audition, finished it after the audition and re read it before filming.
I: Having done that, What do you think of Andrew's adaptation, in culling down 600 plus pages down to a workable script?
Max: I think he did a remarkably skillful job, you know obviously you have to lose certain characters, there's not much you can do about that but I think he maintained the essence. And on top of that I think esthetically.. esthetically he polished the film. The look of the souls, the cars, the costumes, that was all him. In fact, Andrew is responsible for every single detail you see on screen, I mean he cast the extras, every subtle wardrobe choice is him, which is kind of un heard of. But he also paid attention to the theme's I think, and focused on what was really important about the book. I think a lot of other studio's, perhaps, might have intervened and said You've got to focus on the love story more than anything else or you've got to focus on the action side of things far more than anything else, but fortunately with Open Road we have producers that backed off, were hands off and we had Stephenie (Meyer) and Andrew working closely together which I think led to the movie that we've seen. And I think the fans are pleased, Stephenie's pleased. But Yeah.
I: I actually think the film is much better than the book. Typically it's the other way around, but I think it's because of the thematic essence of it and the fact that Andrew did retain that and then elevate the esthetic ...
I: ... I think REALLY just pushes 'The Host' up, it elevates it beyond the printed word
I : What I liked about the story is that is pushed these boundaries of what would it take to bring world peace to us, Would we as humanity need to be eliminated, You know?
Max: Mmmm, I mean I often think the way the world is going uh, and how out of control we are as individual's, you know, normal citizens, Something, something HUGE, something catastrophic is going to have to take place before we really, really make a change. And I think Stephenie hinted , that is certainly a theme, you know, that we as humans are not getting this right. And Interesting, in the final pages of the book, which isn't something that was touched on in this movie, but might be touched on more in the next, is the idea that after the first generation of souls, when new children are born, in the traditional way, they give them a choice whether they want to have a soul implanted in them or not.
I: Yes! That's my favorite part of the book right there, that scene with the two children
Max: Yeah! It's interesting isn't it? The idea that they come, they steer us onto the right path and then give us the choice... yeah.
I: What was it that spoke to you about the character of Jared?
I: (whispers) Besides the name!
Max: I mean I was sold the first time I saw his name in the credits, I think it was the struggle, the problem that he faces with Melanie. Which a lot, He is quite aggressive toward her in the book, he is less aggressive in the film, but he is quite aggressive in the book, but it is somehow sort of understood, not meaning to endorse violence or uh aggressive talk or anything, but what a problem to have, you're living in a world where you've lost your friends and family, you discover someone who is also on the run, you fall deeply in love as you probably would, then to have that person taken, for all intents and purposes they are dead and gone to be forgotten, you begin that process. But then she comes back, a figure of the person you love the girl, you know, a ghost essentially, except there's the physical form except the girl you know is gone, and then discover that she's not gone, but she's trapped, by what we consider a parasite.
I: Then when you kiss her she slaps you...
Max: and bites me... and head butts me. There is a relationship between kissing and violence in this movie that needs to be explored, but not at this roundtable! ( laughter all around)
I: In addition to the relationship between Jared and Melanie/Wanda, very wonderful dynamic going on between you and Chandler (Canterbury) who plays Jamie, really fantastic.
Max: He's awesome. I love Chandler, He's a great kid, and we all hung around a lot on set. You know those days where you did dancing scenes or the fighting ones, that takes hours so you get to hang around a lot, and yeah we really got on.
I: So, speaking of dancing, were those skills that you brought to the movie or is that now something that you get to add to the resume now that you've done it?
Max: (Side note, I have video of this answer) I actually won a dance competition when I was 13.
Max: I did, yeah, school competition, I beat this kid (couldn't decipher name) Taiwanese gymnast. See he had all the moves, but he didn't have charisma, but I beat him. I beat him with my girlfriend Miranda O'Neil, Doing a combination of swing and break dancing, to the Grease mega mix. But since then I've grown and become a little more gangly and taken the dancing off my resume.
I: Oh, However Dancing with the Stars could be in the future.
Max: COULD be.
I: When you read the script and then you saw this fantastic world that was created for you, what about the world surprised you or you went "oh that's exactly the way that I envisioned it"?
Max: It's funny that you say that, I went to Baton Rouge, before everyone else for two weeks to sort of soak up Americana or at least that's what the producers thought it was. I went to Andrews office in Baton Rouge, and every square inch, and literally, some on the ceiling, every square inch was covered in photographs, ideas, images of props in the movie, the sprays, the little ships, and everything was sort of in keeping with how I'd seen it in the book. The esthetic for it, which is really nice because I've done jobs before where you turn up and go "That's my costume?" , "You want to do that to my hair?", "That's the car we're in?", you know but this was all spot on, even the changes, you know the seekers not being in black you know, none of it mattered. You know, I thought Andrew really interpreted the book and then lifted it... He's a cool guy.
I: So I want to know why the script couldn't have been re written so that you could have gotten to drive one of the Lotus'?
Max: Listen, I um, Originally it was a tossup between that white truck you see in the movie and a Ford Mustang GT. What the Hell?! I think Jared would have looked great in a Ford Mustang GT.
I: Could you have handled the Mustang? Max: Absolutely I: Because I know you learned to drive for this...
Max: Ya no that's probably why they didn't give me the mustang GT...
I: Did you learn stick? or Automatic?
Max: I learned automatic you know to drive on the streets as a civilian in real life, but then sticks to drive the trucks
Read the reset of the interview after the Jump...
I: That's impressive
Max: But we have to learn to drive stick in England and I've taken lessons but never gotten around to taking my driver's license, but unlike your crazy country you have to do more than two lessons to get a license, uh it takes 6 months
I: it used to be much harder to get a license here
Max: Louisiana- Two lessons... 2 hours total and I was on the road, with children walking in the streets
I: And you didn't get offered a Lotus as a parting gift?
Max: No! Stephenie got offered one, and she said "that's alright"
I: She could have gifted it to you!
Max: See, that was my first response, so inconsiderate! Unbelievable, Ask her what she was thinking when you see her. Say Max is deeply irritated. So famous now, So wealthy... Turn down a Lotus!
I: Mirror finish no less
Max: I'm not sure about the mirrored finish, Justin Bieber has ruined that for the world
I: So you got to work with veterans like Francis Fisher and William Hurt, and Jake was talking about how osmotic the process of working with Hurt was, how was that for you, You're still early on in your career, here is William Hurt, who always imparts such wisdom on a set:
Max: It wasn't, We never spoke about the actual how to act. That was never the thing. It was more watching, and listening to him. You know, he is a force of nature, you know I've worked on stage and we have a very specific way of working in England which we pick up in drama school, so to work with William was new for me, it was a new experience, but he is extraordinary and what I loved about him most was how he fought for us as actors. He fought for us to have 2 weeks rehearsal. He got that out of the producers, I don't know how he did it, he must have kidnapped their children or something because that never happens. And then there was a day, there was a scene that wasn't working. And you know, we are all a young cast so we don't necessarily have the power or the muscle to say "guys we can't shoot this" cus it's not working, but he did, he said "Right, Everyone go and have coffee" We're going to go out for an hour as a group. We're going to sit round and find out what this scene's about and come back and do it again, which we did and the scene suddenly worked. To have that kind of voice fighting on our behalf is great, so hopefully I've sort of soaked up a tiny bit of that strength
I: But even with who your father is (Jeremy Irons) obviously all the great work that he's done, was it ever the same kind of précis or were you always watching him as "that's dad"?
Max: I never watched him. I never went to set, Ever. Well maybe once when I was 6. But the set is a boring place for a kid. And yeah, I was always at school, and so I've never really seen him in that environment, and I don't gravitate towards his films. I've seen a few of them, obviously, not all of them, and we don't talk about acting. You know, everyone's got their own way of doing it. You know, he trained 40 years ago, I trained 3 years ago, We have our own way of doing it. We do talk about the business side of it, but that's it.
I: What's the greatest piece of advice your dad has given you about this business ?
Max: I think it was, Well initially he tried to dissuade me from doing it at all, as all good fathers who care and see their children going into a very dangerous and unpredictable career but I think once he saw that I was serious he just said, Keep doing it. Keep the muscles going. So if you have a couple of months off get a couple of friends together do a little one act inter play, and just put it on, which I've done a couple of times from that advice and he's absolutely right, it's a muscle, you know, it's keeping your imagination firing.
I: So at the end of the day with The Host, what did you personally take away from the experience or learn about yourself?
Max: I don't really know if there is any one thing. Like I said, I know what I'm doing on the stage, film I don't, still don't quite feel confident. But Um, I guess just how to do film a bit. You know, I feel I'm starting to get it and I just did this thing called 'The White Queen' out in Belgium and that was six months every other day filming in front of the camera so I'm starting to kind of get it. But I felt the Host was the first time I really relaxed into a screen part.
I: Meaning all the other times it's worrying about hitting marks doing like all the technical aspects of it?
Max: Well, It's just, I find, I went to drama school, which is theater, theater, theater, and I was dyslexic in school alright, so the way I see the whole thing is I spent a lot of time at school trying to get it right and not really succeeding for one reason or another, and you try to DO as much as possible. You think the more you do the better you will become the more tools you will acquire so to speak, and I also took that psychology into drama school. You know, I've got 10 teachers all telling me different things, if I take it all put it in my box, apply it to my work I'm going to be a super actor. So you find yourself going into auditions and standing up straight with perfect diction, sustained eye contact and really singing your vowels, that kind of thing and people are just going to go "What the fuck are you doing?" (laughter) but it wasn't for lack of trying, it was just, I was using the rules that apply to the stage and the screen, and I had this casting agent called Susie Figgis, who's tough, you know, she doesn't pull her punches AT all, and I got called by my agent before going into there saying listen this could be nasty, just prepare, brace yourself, don't take it personally. I went in, I began reading and she goes "Stop! Stop! Go outside, have a cigarette, come back in and when you come back in forget everything you've ever been taught, go back to your instinct, I know your instinct is good, use it" And it takes a bit of confidence to be able to throw stuff away and just go with your instinct.
I: There's truth to being over prepared
Max: There really is, and often I find for me personally is when you are called up and they say Can you be there is half an hour, I haven't read the script, we'll send you a synopsis, learn the lines on the way, and you sort of just go in there and you have nothing but your instinct, you haven't over thought it and you just go.
I: Talk about working with Saoirse for a few minutes?
Max: Working with Saoirse? She is, well she is sort of an example of what I'm talking about. She is... her emotional intelligence, without meaning to sound patronizing because I couldn't patronize her if I tried, but for someone who is 18? 17 when I met her , her emotional intelligence and focus and just understanding is incredible, at times intimidating. But the audition for example was such a pleasure. Um, some of the scenes we shot, you know the camera was so far away, you could barely see them. And it was just me and "Sersh" and you forgot you were acting, she makes it so easy and you look at her and (whispers) "What is it you're doing" What are you doing that makes you so amazing, it's quite hard to put your finger on but it's definitely there.
I: Emotional Intelligence. I don't think I've ever heard anyone word it that way
Max: Emotional Intelligence? Yeah she just, she gets it. Some people don't get it. She gets it.
I: Makes you raise Your game
Max: She raises it sort of for you. Cus you go, I'm just communicating with a human being here, that's it, there's no tricks, it's just sort of pure with her.
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