Inside 'The Host' Premiere: No Vampires, but Plenty of Alien Love

Jake Abel, Diane Kruger, Max Irons and Saoirse Ronan
Jake Abel, Diane Kruger, Max Irons and Saoirse Ronan
 Todd Williamson/Invision/AP

A blue carpet was rolled out along Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood on Monday to celebrate the premiere of The Host, the film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s latest book.

The stars of the film -- Saoirse Ronan, Diane Kruger, Max Irons and Jake Abel -- walked the blue carpet along with Meyer and director Andrew Niccol before heading into the premiere at ArcLight Cinemas and an afterparty at Lure Nightclub on March 19.

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Before the screening, Niccol invited his cast and Meyer onstage for a brief introduction, attempting to explain the complicated nature of the relationships in the film, which include humans falling in love with aliens and also in love with the humans living in the alien-controlled bodies.

“You promised me I didn’t have to talk,” says Meyer when Niccol hands her the microphone, but she quickly turns to the audience and adds that she hopes they enjoy watching it even a little bit as much as she loved making it.

The film, following humans living on an Earth invaded by aliens called “souls” who use human bodies as their hosts, is a step deeper for Meyer, whose previous Twilight stories launched a multi-billion dollar franchise and a new universe of fans.

“Philosophically, it’s a great story,” Niccol tells The Hollywood Reporter at the premiere. “It’s more than just romantic love, which is what Stephenie has done before. It’s about a greater love. It’s about whether we can co-exist amongst ourselves, and even with a species from another actress.”

Niccol, who wrote the screenplay for Open Road Films’ project, says he worked with Meyer every step of the way while making the film.

At the futuristic, blue-themed after party at Lure, which featured dozens of glowing blue orbs hanging from the ceiling, Meyer and Niccol spent a good amount of time chatting with each other in the crowd, and hugged before moving on to talk to other members of the cast and crew.

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Meyer says that she did not at first consider Ronan, 18, for the lead of the film because she was younger than the character Melanie in the 600-plus-page book.

“I wasn’t thinking that young, but then once we really looked at what she could do and what no one else could do, I can’t picture anyone else in the role,” she tells THR at the party.

For Niccol, he felt that no one else could handle the role of Melanie, a human girl whose body is invaded by a “soul” but she refuses to die and continues to fight the “soul” internally.

“We did not have a plan B. If Saoirse Ronan couldn’t do it, I don’t know who could do it,” he says. “She’s one of the most truthful actress of any age.”

For Ronan, it was the challenge of playing a dual character that actually attracted her to the role.

“I knew it would be a real challenge to really have to build two characters from the ground up and find a way to differentiate the two,” she says, “yet still have them bounce of one another and kind of have them work in harmony with each other.”

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The men who play the love interests in the film, Irons and Abel, were also quick to credit Ronan with doing all the of the heavy lifting.

“It’s credit to Saoirse Ronan for making two clear distinct characters and playing them with such skill,” says Irons. “She’s an incredible actress.”

Also playing a dual character is Kruger, as a Seeker, which is a “soul” who is tasked with hunting down the rebel humans still hiding out on Earth.

While her character comes off as a villain, Kruger tells THR that “the jury is still out who the villain is -- the alien or the human.”

In the futuristic world, the aliens keep most of the human’s items intact, still driving human cars and using human technology. One of their silver cars used in the film was even parked outside of the Hollywood event so partygoers could take a gander.

Keeping with the theme, the waiters and bartenders at the party wore all-white outfits, the same ensemble worn by the seekers. That look is something that Kruger -- whose boyfriend Joshua Jackson stayed close to her in a booth at the party -- says she probably wouldn’t choose to wear in real life.

“Listen, it looks cool, but wearing pristine white in the desert is a little ridiculous,” she says. “Apparently the aliens figured out how to do laundry.”

The Host hits theaters on March 29.

Email: Rebecca.Ford@thr.com; Twitter: @Beccamford

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