‘Warm Bodies’ Makeup Tricks: How’d They Make Zombie Nicholas Hoult Attractive?

Confession: I am not a fan of zombies. They are generally gross looking, make creepy noises and appear to smell really bad. But much to my pleasant surprise, the undead folk in “Warm Bodies” are a different story, specifically this week’s Hump Day Hottie Nicholas Hoult. The fact that I found myself wanting to be hugged by zombie R halfway through the movie was a new experience indeed.

So how’d they pull that off? How do you make zombies cute? MTV News sought out “Warm Bodies” makeup artist Adrien Morot for the answer—the short version being cast a handsome actor to play a zombie—plus a few bonus facts about how he and Nicholas made the most out of their many hours together in the makeup chair.

“It was a question of finding the right balance,” Adrien said. “Because obviously you can’t have sparkly ’Twilight’-like zombies or ’The Walking Dead’ in this movie. And the lead character Teresa [Palmer] plays has to believably fall in love with our zombie character, so he needed to look like he could potentially smell good.”

In order to maintain that balance, Adrien wanted the zombies to look like their bodies had gone into hibernation but not total decay. He wanted a translucent look to their skin, enhanced by pronounced scars, partially healed wounds and pronounced veins.

“I was careful with the veins because I didn’t want it to look like a horror movie,” he said. “I took an anatomy model which had the network of veins on a person displayed and I traced them. I did tattoo transfers from those, they were custom-made tattoos of veins.”

Other odds and ends included scars, colored contacts and a mixture of blue and brown food-coloring to make the zombie mouths look, well, dead. Adrien said that from start to finish the application process took a little over an hour and that he and Nicholas would pass the time watching movies or playing zombie-killing games on Xbox.

“He’s a very funny guy, very witty and clever,” Adrien said, adding that his dog became especially fond of Nicholas and would sleep on his feet while he was in the makeup chair. (Aww!) “It was a really fun time.”

Bonus fact for those of you planning to see the movie this weekend: The scene in the film that involves some characters putting on makeup was filmed as-is. i.e. Adrien gave the actors a bunch of makeup to play with and they turned into giggling makeover artists. The final result you see in the film is actually how it happened during filming, with just a couple tweaks from Adrien.

“Warm Bodies” opens February 1.

Do you think Nicholas Hoult makes a cute zombie? Are you excited to see “Warm Bodies”? Tell us in the comments and on Twitter!