“Warm Bodies” Teresa Palmer isn’t one to shy away from a challenge, whether its romancing a non-verbal zombie (Nicholas Hoult) or handling a shotgun. But we found one particularly daunting challenge for the Australian actress: explaining why Aussie pop star Kylie Minogue hasn’t caught on in the U.S. like she has around the world.
What’s it like to take on a romantic comedy role where you do all the heavy lifting dialogue-wise?
I know. [Laughs] At first I was very intimidate that, but actually my nickname when I was a little girl was Chatterbox because I do a hell of a lot of talking, so it seemed to fit my character. I thought it would be a huge challenge, having to express myself verbally so often, so frequently without getting any words spoken back to me apart from the odd groan or moan. But Nicholas Hoult is such a talented actor that I really felt like he was saying so much without talking. I think a less talented actor would’ve made my job a lot more challenging, but he was fantastic.
And now you’re doing press, a situation where you have to do lots and lots of talking.
Yeah! [Laughs] Well it suits me good, I’ll just talk away.
Does the press junket experience ever get normal?
You know what? It kind of does. I just look at it as my job. It’s different today because my best friend of 20 years, Katherine Mason, is here. So she’s known me since I was 6, when we used to go out to her dad’s farm and tell ghost stories and cause ruckus together. And for her to see me with press and signing posters and see my picture on a poster is so surreal to her — she’s taking pictures left, right and center — that it really does sort of recharge my batteries.
Random question because you’re Australian: Why do you think Kylie Minogue has never really caught on in the States?
That’s really interesting. I don’t know the ins and outs of what that is. She is so unique in Australia — her sound, her way, her vibrancy, her spirit — and in the U.K, I think she kind of stands alone. In America there are many artists trying to do her similar thing. Like, in Australia she’s the big fish in the small pond, and then you come out to America and there’s so many more millions and millions of people and just way more competition.
Would you say it’s similar as an actress coming from Australia to the States?
It’s almost more competitive in Australia because there are far fewer projects and many, many, many talented actors all vying for these rolls. We maybe only make 10 movies a year — and five of them are decent. It’s quite sad, so when we run out of roles in Australia, we flock over the United States, but luckily for us Aussies we’ve had amazing Aussie actors come before and sort of pave the way, like Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman. I think it almost helps put our foot in the door. It doesn’t mean we don’t work as hard, because we really do. We fight hard for our roles. But I think Americans have really embraced the idea of including Aussie actors in their films.
How do you think you’d fare in a zombie apocalypse? And how often has this question come up?
I’m not going to lie, it’s come up a lot. But it’s a good question. I think I would be good. I’ve had all the training, I know how to shoot a shotgun. I’ve got my weapons training down pat. I can channel my inner Number Six from “I am Number Four,” she’s a little warrior. And I also am very fit. I work out a lot. So I would use those skills to figure out how to combat the zombies in the apocalypse. I think it would be fun.