CATEGORIES MoviesThis weekend marks the release of "The Host," "Gattaca" director Andrew Niccol's adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's sci-fi novel. It tells the story of an alien race called "Souls" that take over human bodies and suppress the "hosts'" personalities. The film tells of one young woman (Saoirse Ronan) who rejects her Soul, forcing the alien invader to form an emotional connection with both her and her memories.
"The Host" author Stephenie Meyer sat down with Moviefone Canada to talk about her role in adapting the story for film, the creative input she had on both that and the "Twilight" series and why "The Host" is her favourite novel/movie.
Moviefone: How does "The Host" film build on the issues that are referenced in the book? Stephenie Meyer: Well, one of the things I was doing with "The Host" is taking a look at being human from the perspective of someone who hasn't been human their whole life and taken it for granted. It was really interesting to sit there and think, what would be interesting, what would be different, what would be unexpected about having a human body? I'm sure there were plenty of things I missed because I can't be new to that experience, but it makes you appreciate being able to see, smell, and touch and all the things we get to do because we have these awesome bodies with all these senses.
Since "The Host" was published, it has taken on an added relevance because there's a lot of talk about body image around women in entertainment these days, especially people like Adele and Christina Hendricks, so I'm curious, do you feel the film takes on added relevance now that women, especially celebrities, are facing that kind of public pressure? I don't know that in the film version we get too deep into that, there is some element of appreciation we get to see, but shaving 500 pages off a book, you lose a lot of the minor plot themes for sure.
How much input did you have throughout the creative process of the film? I was involved in everything. It was really great, actually, the first producer that came to me was Nick Wechsler, who wanted to do it, and he does things a little differently than lots of people. It's all everybody working together, and he wanted my opinion on everything, which was great. I really feel like I was very involved, I picked the director, he asked me what my favourite sci-fi movie is. I said, it's Gattaca, he said, awesome, let's go for it. It was that easy and just that fun the whole time.
You got to pick Andrew Niccol? Yeah.
Wow. He picked us, that was the amazing part, who wouldn't want him?
How does that compare to your experience with the "Twilight" movies, then? How much input did you have on those ones? Well with each movie I got a little bit more input. With the first one, they kept me in the loop on what was going on, they told me after people were cast. I was just glad, that's not even usually the case, you don't usually have that open dialogue with the studio, and with this movie, I think they got used to me and knew I wasn't going to go like storming in and say, this is wrong, it's not my personality, and I think they trusted me a little bit more.
How do you think your input helped out to make the "Twilight" movies what they were? I think so much of it comes from the director and the screenwriter. I would never tread on their territory, but I do feel like there were some small things that I was able to make sure got in, that were really important to the fans. With "Twilight" the one thing I said was it would be really great to have the character of Edward play the piano, because that lullaby meant so much. I knew the fans were waiting for it, and I couldn't get every element like that, but where I could, I tried to save things, mostly because I knew what the fans were looking for.
And how did you feel the "Twilight" films turned out? Oh I think they were really great, I mean, each one is really different. It was kind of a fun thing having a different director each time, because you get such a different feel, you know, Catherine's is edgy, Chris's is like this old-world romance, you know, it's beautiful, each one did their own thing, which is cool to have that distinction.
How do you think that filming in British Columbia helped out the "Twilight" franchise? Do you think that was important at all to establishing the atmosphere in the films? I think it was important to making the films beautiful, for sure, and we were able to really put the characters in a place that felt green and kind of private. The secrecy of those thick trees, it felt really organic to the story and we got so many beautiful things we wouldn't have had somewhere else, and in easy distance of each other, which makes it really practical.
I've heard what you thought of "Twilight," how do you think "The Host" has turned out? Well, "The Host" is my favourite novel, "The Host" is my favourite movie. It's just, well, a lot of it, Andrew Niccol, I'm a sci-fi girl, that's my style, I love that, he just really made it so beautiful and brought so much more visually to it. I think maybe that's one of the reasons why I love it so much, because it's not just fitting my description, he actually takes it a step further and does things I wish I'd done, which is kind of a gift to an author.
How hard was it to get Andrew Niccol? It was really easy, I think Nick knows him, talked to him about it, I thought we would have to song-and-dance, but he was interested right from the beginning. And this is the first time he's ever adapted someone else's work, and I didn't know if that would be something he would want to do, but he's really good at it.
Coming out of the five "Twilight" movies, how different is "The Host" from the previous franchise? It has such a different feel. There's an element of romance in it, but I don't feel like that's the primary love story. I feel the primary love story is the sisterhood between both of the characters Saoirse Ronan is playing. She does such a good job of making them real that I always forget it's just her on the screen.
And what was it about Andrew Niccol that you wanted him so much? You said you're a sci-fi fan, but what is it about his work in the past that made him ideal for this project? When he does science-fiction, it's always about the human element. "Gattaca" is a really good example of that, you're in a world where everybody knows your genetic future at birth. And there's things you can do with that, that would be kind of cold, I think, scientific, instead it's about one person trying to be more than what his genetic code says he could be. And the relationships around him and those loyalties, he understands it all so well. He really is perfect for this story, it has spaceships, but it's not about spaceships, it's about people.
"The Host" opens in theatres across North America on March 29.