The film adaptation for Isaac Marion's Warm Bodies hits UK cinemas today and stars Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer. I got to ask the book's author a few questions about the zombie romance novel and how it felt having his book turned into a film. Here's what he had to say...
How did the idea for Warm Bodies come about?
Are you asking where thoughts come from? Are we the sum of our experiences, or does identity and creativity come from somewhere outside of us? Pretty heavy stuff for a blog, man...
What made you want to bring romance into a zombie-filled dystopia?
I couldn't write a novel about a zombie just wandering around eating people for 250 pages. He needed to change, to rediscover his humanity and learn how to feel again, and what feeling is more essentially human than love? It's the most powerful emotion we're capable of. It seemed like the perfect catalyst to trigger R's transformation.
Though the setting for the book is dark, you've included plenty of humour and satire - and a little romance too. Was it always a conscious effort of yours to include all these elements together in the one story?
Nah, it just happened. The humor flows naturally from the premise, which is inherently ridiculous. The story is sincere and it takes itself seriously, but it also embraces its absurdity, which leads to jokes.
How did you react when you found out the book was being made into a film?
I probably ran around and punched a lot of walls. (In a good way.)
Have you been involved on the adaptation at all? If so, how?
They consulted me at various steps in the process. I had meetings with the director to discuss his ideas and whatnot. I gave extensive notes on the script, many of which were implemented. I wouldn't call it a collaboration, but they were really respectful toward me as the author.
What do you think about the casting? Did you have anyone in mind when you wrote the book? An idea of who they might be like?
I always kind of pictured Ryan Gosling as R when movie plans were first announced, but Nicholas absolutely nailed the role and I can't imagine anyone doing it better.
I hear you're writing a prequel about R, Julie and Nora. What can you tell us about it?
It's written! It’s called The New Hunger and it’s out now!
Have you seen the film? If so, what did you think of it?
I've seen it three times. I like it a lot. It glosses over some of the heavier elements of the book and takes a bit lighter approach, tonally, but that's always the case with film adaptations and I think it works really well as a movie. It's funny and charming and I'm incredibly excited to see it reaching so many people.
What's next once you're finished with these characters? Will you be writing more dystopias or something entirely different?
I definitely won't be writing anything involving zombies or any other pop-culture fixtures after this. Most of the stuff I write is much weirder and harder to categorize, and I'm looking forward to letting my imagination run wild again and watching people struggle to figure out which box to stuff it into. If I've learned anything from publishing Warm Bodies, it's that people can't just let a book be a book. It has to be a YA book or a paranormal-romance or some other reductive, easily dismissed subcategory. I'm excited to write something that can be judged on its own merits instead of the merits of its assigned genre.
WARM BODIES BY ISAAC MARION IS OUT NOW. Check out my review here.