January 02, 2021
From starring opposite Hugh Grant aged 11 to joining the X-Men, does nothing faze the actor? Well, there was one scene for his latest role ...
Nicholas Hoult: ‘Part of your brain doesn’t want to walk down a corridor naked’
Preparing for his role as Emperor Peter III of Russia in the TV show The Great, Nicholas Hoult wondered if he should go for the accent. The 31-year-old had just finished filming The Current War, a movie in which he played the inventor Nikola Tesla, and it struck him he could, without too much effort, repurpose his Serbian into a passable Russian. Hoult is thoughtful, conscientious, and takes his Job very seriously. “It didn’t flow in the right way,” he says, of his stab at Russian, and back he went to the drawing board, specifically to an exaggerated version of his own accent. “I don’t go the full public schoolboy, but I’m very posh – educated but childish.” A new comic antihero was born.
Hoult is in London with his girlfriend Bryana Holly, an American model, and their two-year-old son Joaquin, in the midst of filming season two of The Great. It’s a terrific show, written by Tony McNamara – who also penned the Oscar-winning movie The Favourite, in which Hoult appeared alongside Olivia Colman and Emma Stone – and co-starring Elle Fanning as Catherine the Great. It’s riotously entertaining, and Hoult, as Peter III, is spoilt, impulsive, infantile and profane, a figure who will summarily execute or pardon on a whim. It is also very funny. Despite being a period piece, there is a vibe of The Thick Of It, mainly because of the amazing levels of swearing and Hoult’s indignant tyranny. His catchphrase – “huzzah!” – is the most benign thing about him.
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