Dave Franco took some time to sit down and chat about the typical “Franco” family Christmas and his character Perry in the delightful and upcoming rom com zombie flick, “Warm Bodies,” that’s set to hit theaters February 1st.
So, did you have a chance to read the book beforehand? Did you take anything away from it?
Dave: I did read the book beforehand, to be honest this was a year and a half ago now, so I wish I had more parallels to draw. What I do remember from the book is that I’m glad I did read it because you did get to see a little more insight into who Perry is. Obviously, because it’s a movie they can’t put all those details in the movie, but I remember thinking that it just had a really cool tone. It was another zombie story but it had those elements of comedy and it didn’t take itself too seriously and it wasn’t too heavy handed and that’s what I responded to.
Were you able to visualize this world when you read the script?
Dave: I think you create images in your head when you’re reading it but there was such great production design on this one that you step onto set and whoa, you guys did your homework. This is an amazing job and its nice where they do actually have a little bit of money where it’s not just in a studio and on one small set that they’ve created. We were out in the wilderness and they just made it happen, it makes everything easier. You really get to put yourself in that world you don’t have to try and use your imagination as much.
Do you think it kind of breaks the rules of what we know of zombie stories?
Dave: Yes, it’s told in a different kind of way, there is comedy there, for example they cast a guy like Rob Corddry, which is definitely a choice because he’s known for his comedy and you wouldn’t expect him to be in a movie like this and he’s amazing. He fits in perfectly to the tone. He’s so great because he does come from a background of theater so he’s able to be serious when he has to but then obviously he’s such a funny guy and I think that’s kind of the whole tone of the movie. Right within who Rob Corddry is I guess. Figure that out as I said it, right now. Rob Corddry is “Warm Bodies.”
Poor Perry, definitely an unfortunate situation, it was great to see him memories played out, though throughout the film, you were dead but you weren’t.
Dave: Yeah, it was interesting, I liked it, right off the bat you get to see the end of his story, you see him as this hardened guy who’s hell bent on ending this zombie apocalypse and through the flashbacks we get to see why he is the way he is and you get to see this lighter side and hopefully sympathize with him a little bit more throughout the story. It was interesting when I first reading the script, and it’s like alright, I’m dead on page seven, I probably shouldn’t keep reading but thank god I did because the rest plays out the way it does.
Your death sequence too, there’s so many people and so much going on, was it challenging to shoot?
Dave: Yeah, I think we filmed that scene for a week and a half. There’s a ton of zombies and humans and humans shooting zombies and people dying all over the place. So yeah, it was challenging for sure but it was a fun one for me because half the time I’m shooting the gun, and to have a lot of the cast together. The cast on this one, primarily a pretty young cast and I think that was one of the only times I got to work with Nick Hoult and we got along so well off camera that it was fun to just spend the week with him and joke around on set. It was a good time.
Did they give you any back story on the watch?
Dave: Yeah, the watch is my dad’s watch and it’s just kind of a sentimental thing that I hold onto and that’s the main zombie kind of makes a joke out of right before he kills me. So yeah, I guess it means a lot.
What’s the dynamic with you and James, with you both being in the same industry-
Dave: We have a good relationship. We don’t talk a lot about the industry, it’s one of these things that if I ever do have a question and he’s always open to talking about it but I don’t for some reason, we’ve always just kept that separate. For no particular reason, it’s just something when we’re not working and we are with each other, we get to see each other so rarely these days that it’s just let’s just be there with each other, let’s not talk about work so much. But we are very supportive of each other, we work great together and it’s nice that within sibling, I think with some siblings there’s competition but there isn’t at all with us. I think once you meet the two of us, you see how different we are from one another and it’s not like we’re competing for similar roles anyways.
Did you get to go home for Christmas?
Dave: Yeah, everyone was home for Christmas, this was actually the first time the family was together all year. The Franco Christmas is weird. We tend to have new traditions every year. So, a few years back, I have another brother, another older brother, who’s five years older than me, two years younger than James and he decided that we were going to go caroling on Christmas Eve. So the Franco family goes up and down our block caroling every year now and I don’t think that’s going anywhere anytime soon, unfortunately. This year though, after caroling, I was hanging with some friends down the block and I came back home and my family was sitting in a circle in the living room. I immediately thought, ‘uh oh,’ and I knew something was up and my mom decided that we were going to perform a one act play for no one. So, that happened. I won’t lie, we all had a good time, but I think unfortunately that’s going to be a yearly thing now too.
Do these traditions die off as the years go by? Because if you keep adding traditions-
Dave: They only get stronger. Except, swing dancing died off, swing dancing was around for a few years but it was always unfortunate because it seemed like everyone was paired off and then I would show up and I would have to dance with the teacher, regardless if it was a man or woman each time, so maybe I was the one who underneath it all, made that go away but we’re not too upset about that.
I’m looking forward to “Now you see me”-
It looks good, you, Woody Harrelson-
Dave: Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher.
It looks like a lot of fun.
Dave: Yeah, I hope so; I really think it’s going to be a fun one. Just being on set with all those people, all the people you mentioned but in addition there’s Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine Mark Ruffalo and Melanie Laurent. These people who you look at the cast and it’s like, alright, what the fuck is Dave Franco doing in there and who is he? It was amazing just being around them and learning from them and seeing their process. On top of all that, it’s a movie where there’s all this action and I got to do these action sequences that lasted a week or two and I’m in the middle of these sequences and I’m thinking ‘alright, why do I want to do these depressing dramas where I’m crying all day, when I could be flipping over tables and jumping down trash chutes’. Of course, I do want to do those dramas too but when you’re in the heat of it…I’ve played sports all of my life, so to be able to use some of those abilities towards acting now, it’s a blast. It was amazing.