Max Irons may be the star of the upcoming young adult sci-fi romance “The Host,” in which humans are inhabited by a peaceful race of aliens, but rest assured, no alien is controlling him. Before the March 29 release of “The Host,” Irons sat down with NextMovie in New York City to discuss pronunciation of co-star Saoirse Ronan’s name, knowing everyone in England, and whose brain he would choose to inhabit (hint: one option begins with a “Kim” and ends with a “Jong Un”).
So the movie is a lot of fun, have you gotten a chance to see it yet?
Yeah, seen it twice now. It’s a lot of fun. It’s interesting seeing it with an audience. And it’s interesting meeting the fans, which we had an opportunity to do on this. And you find out that they’re not just teen girls, but there’s a lot of guys in that and a lot of older guys and older women, yeah. That’s interesting.
That surprise you? Lots of non-tweens?
It did sort of surprise me, but then again, at the same time, it didn’t. When I first read the script, when I first saw the name of the author, I thought “Oh, ok.”
You’re like “Oh, s**t.”
Well, not “oh, s**t,” but a lot of studios were trying to replicate with Stephenie did with “Twilight.” They’re trying to come up with that same formula, and they haven’t really been able to do it. I worried that maybe Stephenie and the people at Open Road had tried to recreate it. But in fact, it was nice to discover that it was a science fiction film with interesting science fiction ideas. There’s sort of a story of human endurance and human survival.
Have you had any crazy fan interactions? Did anyone surprise you with their reaction to meeting you?
Um, we’ve had a bit of crying, which is always weird, but we did meet a woman who was obviously a Twihard, I think is the expression, who had filed her own teeth down into fangs!
Yeah, she did it herself. Now that’s torture, if you wanted information from me, file your teeth down and I’ll give you any information to you wanted.
That’s insane, did you take a picture with her? Did you touch them?
Um, did we touch them? What?
I don’t know, I’d wanna touch them.
We actually got sick because you shake a lot of hands, and we don’t really do the hand sanitizer thing in England, especially if you shake someone’s hand and kinda go (rubs hands together). It doesn’t send a good message.
But yeah, a lot of hugging, a lot of handshakes.
And have you seen “Twilight” also?
No, haven’t read or seen.
Oh, so based on just what you’ve heard, Team Jacob or Team Edward?
Team Edward. He’s English, he’s doing well for himself.
Hometown pride. Town, it’s all one town now, England.
We all live in one small hamlet.
Yeah. Do you know Harry Potter?
It’s like that. It’s a bit like “Lord Of The Rings,” but also, we’ve got wizards flying around as well.
Oh, England’s awesome.
It’s really good. We only eat roast dinner, and we all know the queen.
And everyone has bangers and mash?
Yep, fish and chips.
You look really healthy for…
For all the cholesterol we’re having… (laughs)
Exactly. So, back to “The Host” a little bit. If this was the real world, do you think you would be good at hiding out, resisting the aliens?
Yes, I do actually. We were talking about zombies the other day, and I don’t get it in zombie films why everyone stays in the cities. It’s so dumb. You open every door and there’s a million zombies in there. Of course they’re gonna be in there. Go to the countryside, big open space…
Build a Hobbit hole.
Build a Hobbit hole! Live down it, put a few leaves on top. Bow and arrow squirrels, eat them.
Are you good with a bow and arrow?
I could be, if need be, I could be.
Have you ever used one?
I have, actually.
They’re surprisingly hard.
They’re surprisingly fun. A lot of fun. Do that. Don’t get a shotgun. Don’t hide out in the city with a samurai sword, it’s nuts, it’s insane.
So you’d be a lone wolf.
I would, yeah. Because people would turn on you. People do unspeakable things under terrible circumstances.
Don’t bring a girl. She’ll get attached, then she’ll bring an alien back…
A girl might be nice.
Yeah? Human touch?
Human touch. You’d go wacky, otherwise, wouldn’t you?
(laughing) You might go wacky anyway.
If you invaded someone else’s head, whose head would you want to live in?
Well, we’ve been asked this question quite a lot, and you can go down different routes. If, you know, you just want a bit of hedonism, maybe Jay-Z, that’d be nice.
That would be cool.
And if you want to do something good, you could be Kim Jong Un, you know, the North Korean dictator? You can change things up, you can say no to the nukes, let’s get food to the people, let’s open up to the UN. You can do a bit of good. Or you can be a cheetah, you can run really quickly. You can be a talking cheetah, you’d be an overnight sensation. You know, Max the Talking Cheetah.
Yes. You’d be like, “Hello, my name is Max…”
And he’s intelligent. You can write. “Give me a pencil.” “Draw a boat” or something. “Draw a house.” How many cheetahs do you know that can draw boats?
You can’t really call your romantic situation in the movie a love triangle, what shape would you call it?
I’d call it a love box, because it has sexy connotations.
It has something connotations.
It does (laughs). We’ve had love box, love square, love rectangle, love quartet. We’ve had a conjugal visit for conjoined twins. We’ve had a whole bunch of wacky stuff.
You guys sit around and talk about this? Jake Abel also said love box.
No, we’ve just had people come in and say “What do you guys think about conjugal visits with conjoined twins?”
I just imagine you guys sitting there going “What am I gonna call this, you guys?”
Love box came up early.
Nice. And so, Saoirse’s name is difficult to say if you just look at the spelling. You’re like…
Well, I’m half-Irish, so I knew actually. My mother’s Irish.
Oh, you got a one-up on us. I was gonna say, what was your first guess at the pronunciation?
Yeah. “Swa-soo,” “Sweh-sulu,” no, Saoirse, I knew it was Saoirse, I actually met her when she was 14. We got a part in a film together that fell through in the end, thank God, because it was terrible.
What was the movie?
I can’t tell you, but it was terrible. But yeah, I knew her from before.
What’s the best mnemonic tip that you would give to a fan that was trying to say her name?
Rhymes with “inertia.”
So, your dad is Jeremy Irons.
Did that make you want to act, did that deter you from acting?
It didn’t really do either. He tried to deter me from becoming an actor, but fortunately, he’s sort of a normal guy. He doesn’t live in L.A., he lives in London. He’s got his weird little hobbies. I wasn’t dragged to film sets when I was a kid, I wasn’t dragged to parties, I had a normal childhood. But when he heard I wanted to be an actor around when I was 16, he sort of reminded me, he said “You’ve been around two successful actors all your life. You’ve seen the life that it can afford you, holidays it can afford you, that kind of thing. But you need to know that it’s not just about talent, and the odds are against you. Don’t look at us and think it’ll necessarily be the same.” So he warned me about the cost on your life that it has, how difficult it is to form long standing relationships, jealousy, paranoia, financial instability. Friends will be hot one minute, cold the next, and what that does to you mind, you know? But once he saw I was serious, and I think I went about it the right way, I trained in it, I did a bit of theater and I want to do more theater. He sort of just let me do it. All actors make mistakes in terms of choices and casting and these type of things. He lets me do it, he doesn’t bother me with that kind of thing.
Does he ever give you advice?
On the business side of things.
Did you talk to him about this script?
No, no. I talked to my agents.
What’s the hardest thing to say in an American accent?
It’s always the R’s. And “all.” When you have to put “all” into a sentence, I had the scene with Saoirse, I had to run around the corner and say “There’s no medicine left, you souls have destroyed it all!” and it sounded like a f**king G.I. Joe moment. You know, it was so sort of horrible, and every time I did it she burst into laughter. Every. Time.
And you’re like “And another take. Awesome.”
She’s like, “Why can’t you just be better?” (laughing) And I was like “It’s not my fault!”
Do you ever Google yourself?
Every now and then, but it’s not a good thing to do.
What do you find?
Well, boys hate you, girls might like you, and that goes the other way for girls, I think. Some weird stuff too.
What weird stuff?
Jake told me what slash fiction was the other day. Yeah, I learned about that.
Did you read it?
You got to the summary and were like back, back, back, back…
OK, back, yeah.
What’s the most outrageous lie you’ve read about yourself on the internet?
Oh, I do think there’s one. Skip it, because it’s gonna take too long for me to think about it.
What would your porn name be?
I’d be Ratty Hill!
Oh, that’s awesome, that’s really gross.
That’s a dank porn star. He’s not making the big official films, he’s doing the real backstreet stuff.
He’s like “I’ve been in 900 films this year, and they are filthy!”
My heart is black!