"The Weekend Rent" offers quick-hit suggestions of what to watch at home to get psyched for new releases in theaters, on Fridays.
The zombie movie gets a rom-com twist in Warm Bodies, now playing in theaters everywhere. Nicholas Hoult stars as the shuffling zombie known as "R" (he can't remember his full name) who stumbles across a breathing human (Teresa Palmer) one day that he would rather date than eat. The PG-13 movie doesn't offer much excitement for hard-core zombie fans—the makeup and special effects are pretty weak—but it works as a charming young adult romance about two people from different worlds thanks to Hoult's sympathetic performance as a zombie striving for more.
Hoult is now only 23, but he started acting at a young age. One of his first roles was in the 2002 dramedy About a Boy starring Hugh Grant. Hoult made an impression as the titular 12 year old who accidentally kills a duck with a loaf of bread in a park, where he meets Grant. Hoult discovers Grant has been lying about being a single parent and blackmails him into letting him hang out at his apartment after school.
In the 2005 drama Wah-Wah, which is loosely based on British actor-director-writer Richard E. Grant's childhood in Swaziland, the director persuaded the casting director that the role of Ralph should be played by two different actors because he thought Hoult resembled an older version of Zac Fox. Curiously, in real life, Hoult is only one year older than Fox.
Hoult grew up fast on-screen. Four years after Wah-Wah, Hoult played a young student in A Single Man who takes an interest in gay English professor George Falconer (Colin Firth) and crosses the boundaries of a traditional student-teacher relationship. Although the movie is set in 1962, skinny-dipping and drinking with one's professor is still universally frowned upon.
Hoult transitioned from lover to fighter in 2010's Clash of the Titans. Hoult played Eusebios—one of the soldiers who accompanies Perseus on his quest to kill the Kraken. Eusebios is skilled in hand-to-hand combat and survives the battle with those giant scorpions, but he doesn't do as well when he confronts Medusa. In a moment of fear, he looks up and becomes petrified by the Gorgon's gaze.
On the set of 2011's X-Men: First Class is where Hoult became romantically involved with costar Jennifer Lawrence, but whether or not they are still a couple today is a mystery. On-screen, however, they showed terrific chemistry with Hoult playing Dr. Henry "Hank" McCoy—the sweet-natured mutant with the freaky feet who tries to cure himself and ends up transforming into Beast. He develops a bond with Lawrence's Raven Darkholme, aka Mystique—a shape shifter who unsuccessfully tries to convince Hank that being a mutant is nothing to be ashamed of. We wonder if she would have had better success convincing Hoult that he shouldn't have to hide being a walking corpse in Warm Bodies. Probably not.
All of the films listed above are available on DVD and/or Blu-ray as well as on various VOD services.