Audiences first fell in love with Nicholas Hoult over 10 years ago when he shared the big screen with Hugh Grant in the romantic comedy-drama About a Boy. Seven years later, we saw him all grown up in a racy role alongside Colin Firth in Tom Ford's directorial debut A Single Man. A few years later he went on to play Beast in X-Men: First Class and just last month he charmed audiences as a zombie in Warm Bodies. In his biggest role to date, he takes the lead as Jack in the new fantasy-adventure Jack the Giant Slayer, loosely based on the stories of Jack and the Beanstalk and Jack the Giant Killer.
"I love being busy. I'm enjoying it," Hoult told us at a recent press day. "Jack the Giant Slayer is my biggest movie, in terms of the scale of the film and being the lead in it. It was quite a daunting thing to take on. [Director]Bryan Singer is a great storyteller and I felt in safe hands with him. He had a great cast and crew so that made me less nervous but yeah it was quite a big step."
Hoult says he first heard about the project while working with Singer on X-Men: First Class but because of scheduling conflicts had to pass on the role. "I was set to shoot Mad Max but that got delayed so I auditioned a few times for this role and read with Bryan and other people and eventually I got cast," he said. "Bryan said from the beginning that he was convinced I was right for the role.
"I loved watching action-adventure movies when I was a kid. I would run around pretending to be killing beasts and giants," said Hoult. "So, to get the chance to do that as a grown-up for a job was a dream come true."
So who or what could possibly make Jack climb that giant bean stalk? Well, a pretty princess by the name of Isabelle, a newly introduced character played by Eleanor Tomlinson. She's a royal rebel looking for her own adventure.
"[We] are two young kids who are lost and fall for each other against the odds. They learn how to make their own destiny so that makes for a really sweet tale," says Hoult. "It's a really clever twist on the original story. It's got some romance and humor and great action sequences. It's visually very stunning and it's a really fun family adventure."
Hoult will be working with Singer again in X-Men: Days of Future Past and says his prepping will be similar to his X-Men: First Class regimen, which includes hitting the gym.
"I was a fan of X-Men already. I watched the original films, read a lot of comics, watched the cartoons I grew up on. I watched a lot of Frasier because I knew Matthew Vaughn was a fan of Kelsey Grammer's Beast so I tried to emulate his accent a bit. They put me in the gym because I'm quite a scrawny guy so I needed to bulk up a bit," said Hoult.
Despite having Warm Bodies and Jack the Giant Slayer in theaters and three other movie projects in the works, Hoult believes his career is still not moving at full speed.
"No, I don’t think it's at full speed," said Hoult. "[But] it's definitely great to have so many things on my plate."
The British actor is currently filming Jake Paltrow's Young Ones with Elle Fanning and Michael Shannon in Africa having just wrapped George Miller's Mad Max.
"The Young Ones is an independent film, a kind of three-part revenge story, with Elle Fanning, Michael Shannon and Kodi Smit-McPhee," said Hoult.
"George Miller is a real visionary director so I was thrilled when I got the chance to work with him. He's fantastic and one of the nicest people I have ever worked with. To be on that set with all those vehicles they made and the stunts they were doing was spectacular. "
Hoult was recently featured in GQ magazine's March issue but he remains rather modest about his increasing status as the next Hollywood heartthrob.
"I haven’t really noticed it," said Hoult. "It's very flattering if that is the case. I try to stay focused on the work and that's my main priority."