Zombie romance Warm Bodies is currently the #1 film at the box office, taking in more than $20 million during its opening weekend. Prior to the film’s release, we had the opportunity to catch an early screening followed by a Q&A with director Jonathan Levine and star Dave Franco. The next day, we were lucky enough to sit down for a chat with Franco about his role in the film.
[Editor’s Note: some of this material is taken from the audience Q&A sessions, with the rest being pulled from our interview. Beware of mild spoilers.]
How did you get involved with Warm Bodies?
When I first heard about it, I wasn’t terribly excited, because it was a movie about zombies and we’ve seen a ton of those recently. But then I heard that Jonathan Levine was attached, and I knew that he was going to bring something different to it.
You die in a lot of movies. What’s up with that?
Great question. I keep getting cast as “the asshole.” The more I think about it, the more it makes me upset. One person told me I have “the face of an asshole.” [laughs] It’s not like I choose roles where I’m like “I’ve gotta die in a new way in this movie.” But at least you get to see a softer side of me in this, right?
We got to see your brains at one point.
There you go. Getting intimate.
Did you have any hesitation about taking a role, knowing you were going to die right away?
Yeah, when I was first reading the script and I’m dead on page 8, my instincts are to put down the script and move on. But bringing Jonathan Levine back into this, he was the main draw for me. I want to make my own films one day, and at this point in my career, I mainly just want to work with good filmmakers. I want to be around these guys that I admire and I want to see their process. I want to see how they work with actors and how they set up shots, just so I can take something away from it and hopefully use it toward my own projects down the line. I mainly wanted to work with Jonathan Levine, regardless of how big or small the role was.
The flashbacks to your character’s relationship with Julie almost forms the backbone of the story. They enable “R” to be able to relate to Julie a little bit, and I think maybe she sees something in “R” that reminds her of her relationship with Perry, early on.
Totally. It’s kind of messed up, when you think about it. Nicholas Hoult’s character kills me, he eats my brains, he uses my memories as a tool to court my ex-girlfriend, and then he steals her. I kind of get shafted, you know? He uses all of my character’s romance and charm toward this girl as his way in. It feels like I get the short end of the stick, a little bit.
You’ve done some voiceover work as The Riddler in Young Justice.
I have! You’re like the second person to ever bring that up.
How did you get involved with that?
I think the producer had seen Scrubs, and he saw how smarmy and gross my character was on Scrubs, and I think he wanted to bring that to The Riddler. That was the first voiceover work I had done, and now that’s all I want to do. You roll out of bed, you show up, you get to be so over-the-top and silly, and you’re out of there in two hours. It’s the greatest thing in the world.
Are you a big comic book fan?
I’ve never been a huge comic book fan. But even though I had a tiny part in this show, I did a lot of research, trying to make it my own. And if you ever see the cartoon, you’re going to think I’m insane, because I literally only have like five lines. But no, I can’t say I know the whole backstory of that stuff.
So no comic book movies in your future?
I wouldn’t be opposed to that. I love doing action, I love getting physical with it, so I’d be very happy to be a part of one of those franchises.
Where do you want to go with your career?
As much fun as I’m having acting right now, I can’t imagine being an old man and still doing it, still going through the grind. I’ve been doing these shorts for the website FunnyorDie.com, and the main reason I’ve been doing that is because I can film something one day, and we can release it online a week later.
My buddies and I, we try to do everything for them. We write it, we act in it, we direct it, edit it. The turnaround is amazing. It’s a cool exercise for us, because they’re on such a small scale, if we fail on one of them it doesn’t really matter. We just get to keep learning, and hopefully each one gets a little bit better.
You should check them out, if you haven’t seem them. They’re very classy. One’s called Go Fuck Yourself, one’s called You’re So Hot. It’s very vile, but hopefully kind of smart. Maybe.