Teresa Palmer strikes a pose in this new exclusive photo shoot for JustJared.com.
The 26-year-old Aussie actress stars in the new zombie flick Warm Bodies as a girl who is saved from an attack by a highly unusual zombie, which leads to the two forming a relationship that sets in motion a sequence of events that might transform the entire lifeless world.
Warm Bodies, which also stars Nicholas Hoult, Dave Franco, and Analeigh Tipton, hits theaters everywhere TOMORROW (February 1).
JJ sat down with Teresa to chat about her experience making the film, her thoughts on the zombie craze, and her dream co-stars and movie roles.
FYI: Teresa is wearing a Graziela ring.
Click inside to read JustJared.com‘s exclusive interview with Teresa Palmer…
Teresa Palmer – JustJared.com Exclusive Interview
JustJared: How’s the Warm Bodies promo tour going?
Teresa: “I am a little tired! We were in London yesterday, Toronto today, Chicago tonight. Then we’re off to New York and L.A., too.”
JJ: Can you tell us about Warm Bodies and your character Julie?
TP: “I play Julie, and she is the daughter of General Grigio played by John Malkovich. Julie is a spitfire! She’s independent, and sassy, and brave, and she is living in a world of the zombie apocalypse. One day she goes out with a group to find medical supplies, and they get bombarded by zombies. Julie gets taken captive by R – a lovable zombie played by Nicholas Hoult. She’s very fearful, and she doesn’t understand why he hasn’t tried to kill her. Then she starts watching him and realizes that everything they thought they knew about zombies is wrong. There is something very different about R, he has thoughts and feelings and he wants to protect her. Julie’s fear turns into curiosity, and then the curiosity turns into a deeper connection and they realize that through this connection R starts to heal. This sparks a change in not just R, but in all zombies. It’s a really endearing, warm-hearted story.”
JJ: What was your favorite scene to shoot?
TP: “I love the scene on the plane when Julie is talking about her ex-boyfriend Perry, played by Dave Franco, and how she saw a light in him dim. Julie gets emotional, and R is watching her, and he sees her struggling with her emotions, so he touches his hand on his heart and then touches his hand on her heart. It’s a beautiful moment, and it really is a trigger for Julie and she realizes that he is something new, something different, and it affects her to her core. It helps breathe life back into Julie, and she breathes life back into him, and it’s a chain reaction. And a beautiful romance!”
JJ: What was it about Warm Bodies that made you want to be in the film?
TP: “I loved how different the script was! It was strong and unique and refreshing. I loved hearing from the zombie’s perspective – we get to hear his thoughts, his feelings, and what it’s like to be a zombie. I loved that it was both comedic and romantic and that there is a really wonderful social commentary to the film. It’s about how de-connected we are. We spend so much time on our phones and writing emails and sitting on social media that we have really de-connected from one another. It’s about the power of human connection and how love can heal us.”
JJ: We heard you’re a bit of a practical joker…
TP: “You know, I’ve heard that before too and I have no idea where it came from! My friends always laugh about it because no one really knows where that originated from. I was definitely the chatterbox at school, my friends and I would fool around a bit, but just in a funny way.”
JJ: So there was no practical joking on the Warm Bodies set then?
TP: “No, that didn’t really happen on this movie! We all had a lot of fun on set, we were all really passionate about the movie and connected over a love for the story, but we didn’t really play any jokes on each other, no. I wish that I could tell you some really amazing, funny, crazy practical jokes though.”
JJ: Nicholas told us that the brains he had to eat on set were like a peachy-cake. Did you get to try them at all?
TP: “I did! I got to try them for the first time at a parody shoot we did to promote the movie a few weeks ago. It was really mango-y! It was jelly-like, and it had sugar in it, and it tasted like fresh mangos. I could have eaten the entire brain, it was that delicious!”
JJ: Do you think you could ever fall in love with a zombie, like Julie does?
TP: “If the zombie is as sweet, and endearing, and as caring, and humble as R, then absolutely. He also had amazing taste in music, he doesn’t talk back, and he’s a great listener! So, for all those reasons I think it could be a possibility!”
JJ: If the zombie apocalypse were to actually happen that you would survive it?
TP: “Yeah, I think so. I think I have an upper hand because I’ve been in Warm Bodies, and I got to learn how to shoot guns – I’m pretty good with a shotgun now! I think I would probably pretend to be a zombie. I think that would be my number one tactic, to zombify it up. Do hair and make-up in the mornings, go out and pretend to hunt for humans, and then go back to my lair and eat my tin food and listen to music. I would play make believe in order to survive!”
JJ: Did you go through a lot of training to learn how to shoot the shotgun?
TP: “I actually just built upon the training I had for I Am Number Four. I kept learning martial arts, and I did a lot of weight training, and then I’d go to the gun range and learn how to shoot. I had to learn how to put together a gun, load it, then pull it apart again, and do it with my eyes shut. Just getting used to handling the weapon and getting really comfortable with it. It’s fun! These are all the wonderful things you get to pick up as an actor, you get to learn all of these new skills. It’s one of the perks of doing what we do.”
JJ: Are you into the zombie craze at all?
TP: “I love zombie movies! I’m a huge fan of Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, I thought that was an incredible film. It’s very gritty and realistic. I also love Zombieland, because it interjects a sense of humor into the zombie genre. I think that’s what Warm Bodies does, and then it takes it a step further by adding the romantic element. I do love that zombie culture is almost like social commentary. It’s really important to be a part of something that has a message like this.”
JJ: What’s next for you once you’re done promoting Warm Bodies?
TP: I have a movie with Terrence Malick called Knight of Cups coming out. I don’t know when, and I don’t really know much about the story because it’s true Terrence Malick style and the story has been kept under wraps, and a lot of it is improvised. That was the greatest filmmaking experience that I’ve ever had. I also worked on a film called Parts Per Billion with Josh Hartnett and Rosario Dawson. Then there’s a film I’m working on called the Fun in Forever, it’s directed by Mark Webber. It’s a fantastic piece. It’s about the breakdown of a marriage, and a lot of it is improvised. I just started shooting that, and I get to film at my family home in Adelaide! We’re bringing a lot of real elements to the movie, and incorporating real members of my life and my family and my friends. It’s a really interesting experimental film.
JJ: Is there anyone specific you would love to work with in the future?
TP: Cate Blanchett. She’s in Knight of Cups, but we don’t have any scenes together. I think she’s a real chameleon, and she is just a true icon in Australia. I think if I had the chance to work with her it would be the best acting class ever!
JJ: Last but not least, do you have a dream role in mind – anything specific you would really like to take on?
TP: Something very gritty and layered and dynamic. My favorite role to date, which has already been on screen, was Alice from Closer. I love that play, I think it’s a complex character, it’s all very layered and grounded in reality. Natalie Portman was phenomenal in that film. If I could find a character in that same vein, I would be very excited!