LOVE AND MONSTERS Exclusive Interview With IRON FIST And THE MATRIX 4 Star Jessica Henwick
We recently spoke to Jessica Henwick (Iron Fist) about her role as Aimee in Love and Monsters, exploring what it was like to shoot a movie set in the Monsterpocalypse, her hopes for a sequel, and more...
Love and Monsters premieres at home and in select theaters tomorrow from Paramount Pictures, and takes place seven years after the "Monsterpocalypse." Humanity has been forced to hide underground, but Joel (Dylan O'Brien, The Maze Runner) decides to embark on a mission to reunite with his high school girlfriend Aimee (Jessica Henwick, Iron Fist) after reconnecting with her over the radio. However, with dangerous monsters standing in his way, their reunion isn't going to be easy.
Henwick has made a huge impact in Hollywood over the past few years, and with her days in the Marvel Cinematic Universe now behind her, the actress is gearing up to take on lead roles in franchises like The Matrix and Godzilla vs. Kong (click here for an update on those from the star).
We caught up with Henwick over Zoom to discuss her role in Love and Monsters, and she went into detail about what it was like to be part of this project. We want to extend a huge thank you to the actress for taking the time to chat with us about the movie. You can check out our review right here.
What was it when you first read the Love and Monsters screenplay that jumped out at you and made you want to be part of this project?
The writing in the script was so good, and it crossed so many different genres. It’s just rare to read an original script, honestly, and knowing Dylan was going to be in it as well, I knew he would smash it out of the park. Those were the things that sold me. Dylan and I have been saying it was like reading a Pixar film. That’s what it felt like. There was this fantastical quality to this boy and his dog going off on a quest, and you don’t read that very often, so it was kind of a no-brainer.
I loved the movie, and something that stood out to me was the fact that Aimiee isn’t a damsel in distress and is, in fact, a legit badass. How important was it for you to have a strong female character to be able to sink your teeth into here?
I always strive to find female characters who I feel are real. This is a girl who spent her teenage years growing up in the ‘Monsterpocalypse,’ so it feels right that she’s strong and independent, and when we find her, she’s got scars on her face, and has really lived it. She’s gone through an ordeal [Laughs]. It was important to me that the character not just be this airbrushed, picture perfect girl that Joel imagines he’s going to see.
Without getting into spoilers, we don’t necessarily see a conventional love story here, so how much fun was it for you to explore that dynamic between Joel and Aimee?
I think that the film is about a lot of different types of love, and Joel really comes to understand what that word means. I think he’s lived underground for so long, he has quite a childlike view of love, and by the end, he understands all the different types of love.
For a lot of the movie, we’re just hearing your voice across the radio, so were you in just in a recording booth for that or are those scenes you were able to work with Dylan O'Brien on?
I was on set! I was on set the whole time. It was really important to both me and Dylan to start getting that chemistry from the get go. Also, just because he improvises so much and because I like to improvise a lot, we didn’t want it to be restricted by the fact I wasn’t there. I was in a tiny tent on the side of set with a speaker, and I had a monitor where I could see Dylan, but he couldn’t see me, and that was quite funny. I loved doing those scenes.
During the final act, you get to see a lot of action in a VFX heavy sequence, so what was that like, and given your stunt experience, were you given the chance to do your own stunts?
That final big stunt sequence, I was there, and I did it [Laughs]. It was interesting because it was a struggle to do it in the sand! I’ve never done a fight scene in the sand, and running in sand in leather ankle boots is kind of hard, especially looking like you’re trying to kill someone, but you’re running in the sand and it’s sinking underneath you. It’s surprisingly difficult, so definitely had its own challenges!
I’m guessing it must have been a lot of fun to shoot that sequence on what looks like a pretty stunning beach, but was that a completely real location or was there some camera trickery there?
We filmed the entire thing on the Gold Coast and it was amazing because we would wrap, and Dylan and I would just go straight down to the beach, go for a swim, and watch the sunset, dry off, and find some oysters to eat somewhere! It was probably my favourite place I’ve ever filmed.
Did you get chance to spend much time with the movie’s canine character, Boy? I know you share a few scenes, but he’s such a big part of this, and must have been a great distraction on set?
I think there was a week or so when I worked with Hero, who plays Boy, and Dodge, his double. That was incredible. Seeing the relationship between trainer and dog was just magical. The smartest animal I’ve ever met, for sure, and the things he was able to do...this film was a real ask for any trainer, I know that, and they found the best dog for the job. He is by far the most professional cast members on this film [Laughs].
The film feels like it has a lot of franchise potential, so looking ahead to the future, if we were to get a Love and Monsters sequel, would you like to bring Aimee back and delve a little deeper into her story?
I would love to play Aimee again. She’s so much fun. I was actually just saying, I want to see her as a monster hunter just fully coming into her own out there destroying her enemies! [Laughs]
Michael Rooker and Ariana Greenblatt are great here, but you don’t actually get to share any scenes with them, so is that something you’d like to see change in a potential follow-up?
They’re so good in the film, but yeah, maybe in the sequel...that would be cool!
In a way, it feels like the movie is about isolation as we obviously see these characters trapped underground, so what is it like for you to look at the film now knowing how similar it is in some ways to what’s going on with COVID?
It’s definitely strange because we had no idea when we made the story and it’s purely coincidental. Obviously, it’s much more extreme in the film, but it is kind of uncanny [Laughs].
So many movies are being delayed right now, and Love and Monsters feels deserving of a big screen release, but are you just glad people can watch it now from the safety and comfort of their own home?
Yeah, I think entertainment is so important, and we need it now more than ever! To find entertainment in the small moments, and I’m really happy the film is being released rather than them holding off for a cinema because we obviously have no assurances of when they will open up again, so I think the move was for the best.
Check out the Love and Monsters trailer - ahead of its release tomorrow - below: