HLN: The film “The Host” features a great love story, so it’s only fitting to ask: Who (or what) was your first love?
Jake Abel: My first love was baseball. I wanted to be a professional baseball player when I was a kid. I had the same feeling about what I do now that I did as a kid playing baseball. I had told my grandma one day, “You know, I would play baseball for free if they’d let me!” To which she said, “Come talk to me when you’re older.” But I have that same feeling now: This is my art and I would do this for free.
Max Irons: Apparently, when I was young, I used to get very sad and I’d cry for them a lot — bellmen at hotels. I figured that people were coming and going, but no one ever stopped to hang out with them. And I used to think they must be really, really lonely. They always have to smile but maybe they’re really sad inside. So when my parents stayed in hotels and I was with them, I’d go down and talk to the bellmen all the time. And when I had to leave, I would cry — I was a weird kid.
Jake: So your first love was a bellman?
Max: My first love was many different bellmen. (Wait, please don’t print that…)
HLN: If an alien invasion happened in real life, what would you miss the most about being human?
Jake: Being alive. Because when they take over our bodies, they wipe us out. Melanie is a rare case of a human being staying alive inside the alien’s head. The film is an alien invasion story, but it’s a peaceful alien invasion. They take over the world and perfect it: There are no wars, no hunger, no currency; everything’s based on honesty.
Max: Which is an interesting question: Would the Earth be better?
Jake: The Earth is probably better off, but humans certainly aren’t — it’s mass extinction.
Max: But wonderful things tend to come from conflict, and if everyone was satisfied, it would be a horrifically boring place to live.
HLN: You guys worked with an amazing cast on this film. What was your favorite moment on set?
Jake: For me, it was the last scene of production. It’s where Ian takes Wanda out on their first date on top of this massive plateau in the middle of the desert. It was the most magnificent way to end this marathon. We wrapped, the sun was setting, it’s bittersweet, and people are crying and hugging and saying their goodbyes. It was quite magical.
Max: I know this sounds silly, but there was a big fight sequence where I got to fight three guys and I sort of won — or at least it was equal. That would never happen to me in real life! If I saw three guys, I’d run and hide in the toilets, but on that particular day I got to win and it’s nice to know what that feels like.
HLN: What was it like to work with Stephenie Meyer, the author of the book the film is based on?
Jake: Stephenie was on set quite a bit, but she was very much in the background. She was only there if you sought her out.
Max: And she trusted us. We’d go to her and say, “Stephenie, give us a piece of advice. Are we doing this scene right?” And she’d say, “Just go with your instincts.”
Jake: She’s a dream.