Last week, EW made a special sneak peek visit to the set of The Host, the big screen adaptation of Twilight author Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling sci-fi novel. This is our first of several reports.
An hour outside of Albuquerque, N.M., on the rocky edge of a small, picturesque canyon, Diane Kruger (Inglourious Basterds) is squinting into the sun. She’s flanked by two sleek, silver sports cars, and her eyes are ringed with an eerie, iridescent circle. They’re both signs that Kruger is playing The Seeker — a dogged member of the police force of an alien species called Souls, who have successfully invaded our planet by literally invading our bodies. She’s looking for Wanderer (Hanna‘s Saoirse Ronan, pictured with costar Max Irons), a member of her race who, aptly, has wandered off into the desert after the consciousness of her human host, Melanie, cajoled Wanderer into finding what’s left of Melanie’s human family. The Seeker is also keenly set on finding this rag-tag cluster of the remains of humanity, but for very different reasons. “We find her,” Kruger (as The Seeker) mutters to herself, “we find the threat.”
Fans of Stephenie Meyer’s 600-plus-page novel have likely already gathered from the description above that film interpretation of The Seeker is almost the exact opposite of how she’s described in the book. Instead of small, dark-haired, and clad mostly in black, the very blonde Kruger stands regally on some serious wedge heels, dressed in a futuristic cream-colored pant suit. It’s a change designed by writer-director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, In Time) to reflect the “purity” of the egalitarian Souls, and Meyer told me on the set that she happily embraced it. Gattaca is her favorite sci-fi film of all time.
As for the delightful Ronan, although she wasn’t working that day, she came out to the set to speak with EW about the film, one day after the Oscar-nominated Irish actress turned 18. We’ll have video of our interviews with her, Meyer, Kruger, and Irons in the coming months — the movie, which is still shooting, isn’t hitting theaters until March 29, 2013, after all — but I can tell you how Ronan is differentiating the alien Wanderer from the internal voice of Melanie in the film. It’s actually quite simple: The Wanderer speaks with a generic American accent, whereas Melanie’s voice is inflected with a Louisiana twang, another Meyer-approved tweak from the book.