Stephenie Meyer screens The Host in Philly
Can a late 30s adult enjoy a film based upon a Stephenie Meyer book? After watching and reading the pain of ‘Twilight,’ I would’ve said no. But, after attending a ‘The Host’ screening and its Q&A featuring Meyer, Irons and Abel, I say, surprisingly, yes.
Although I attended a The Host screening expecting the worst, the film and its stars pleasantly surprised my aging hipster sensibilities.
I’m not a Twilight fan by any stretch of the imagination. When the initial film premiered, I attended it with other science fiction-loving English PhD candidates. Needless to say, we spent the entire film guffawing at Edward’s ridiculous stalker actions, his Liberace style piano playing and the film’s over-dramatic language. Although I attempted to read the book, I stopped, offended by the egregious use of passive voice. When my oldest friend confessed her love of the Twilight series (novels AND films), I gave her a scathing diatribe lasting ten minutes. I will not lie. I temporarily considered disavowing her.
All the same, when I received the PR announcement regarding Stephenie Meyer’s press tour for The Host, the latest flick based on the novel, of course I had to attend. Regardless of my feelings on a book that lowered the intelligence quotient of half a nation, Meyers is a pop culture legend who inspired other pop culture legends (50 Shades of Grey) and legendary YouTube videos (see Buffy vs. Edward, Twilight vs Harry Potter and every single other Twilight mockery on-line). If it weren’t for Twilight in the theaters, we wouldn’t have True Blood, the US Being Human or The Vampire Diaries on our TVs. Considering my clear distaste of the first film and book, my enjoyment in this potentially new film series caught me off-guard. The Host, for those who haven’t memorized every single line, surrounds earth’s future occupation by peace-oriented alien parasites inhabiting human hosts.
The screening attendees likewise surprised me, possibly reflecting the film’s more mature reach. While I expected adolescent females, I saw a good mix of women AND men beyond their thirties and forties. Admittedly, the true believing adolescent females sat closer to the front, while those closer to my age sat towards the back. Additionally, not everyone came for a pure Meyer love. When I asked those closer to my age group (and above) why they attended, they confessed to the draw of free tickets. However, when I asked younger women who appeared physical doppelgangers for any of Meyer’s on-screen female leads, they enthused their love of the novel. While I didn’t do a parallel exit poll, the people around me appeared quiet after the film ended and restless (almost forgetting Meyer and her two leads would soon appear).
The Q &A proved equally interesting. In case you’re wondering, Max Irons does an EXCELLENT American accent. Everyone in the audience, including myself, took a major pause when he grabbed the microphone. It happens around 1:05 in the clip below. It’s hilarious watching an entire audience swoon at his accent while realizing “OH, he isn’t American.” I will not lie, not having seen Irons’ previous work and not having made the connection between himself and his father, Jeremy Irons, I did not know he was British either. However, when he started discoursing in his native tongue, he instantly became 159% hotter to me.
While the film highlights Irons’ uber-chiseled chin and Abel’s pretty boy eyes, in the screening they looked like average 20-something lads, utterly careless of their good looks, who just fell out of bed to attend class. However, they struck me as men with their heads screwed properly on their shoulders. Both Abel and Irons flirted good-naturedly with each other while Abel cheekily joked with Meyer. Their casual, comfortable relationship reflected a potentially positive working environment. Considering Meyer is the J. K. Rowling of the American Young Adult Novel and the Shonda Rhimes of Young Adult films, I didn’t expect their mutual ease. Another great moment included a rolling joke between Meyer and Abel surrounding Percy Jackson catalyzed by a fan. Did Abel enjoy his PJ character? Of course. He was a bad-ass. But, Meyer should write more so he can play Ian again. What if Meyer kills off his Host character? That’s OK, he has Percy Jackson stuff. Check out the bantering laugh Irons and Meyer share while Abel fields the fan’s question. Personally, I enjoyed this film as a stand-alone, so I hope Meyer doesn’t write the follow-up she mentioned.
On a side note, this is the second set of pictures I’ve taken of a writer/actor affiliated with a vampire series that returned with red eye. I’m too tickled by the odd coincidence between the photos I took of her and Paul Wesley to color correct. Overall, screenwriter/director Andrew Niccol and the cast did an excellent job.
Host opens 3/29. Follow the Twitter feed at #TheHost!