Nicholas Hoult

About a Boy

Interviewed by Sian Kirwan

How did you get the part of Marcus in "About a Boy"?

I went to the first audition, which was with the casting director, and got a recall for the next audition where I met the two directors, Paul and Chris Weitz. I didn't know they'd done big films like "American Pie" so I wasn't too nervous, but the third audition was the scariest as I was meeting Hugh Grant. I had the worst butterflies and couldn't sleep the night before but somehow I got through it. When I found out I'd got the part, I jumped around the house not believing that I'd got it.

What was it like working with Hugh?

Hugh was brilliant. He helped me a lot by giving me ideas and teaching me something new every day. He really helped me get into my role. He's my idol now. Him and Jim Carrey - I'd like to work with him one day.

Did you have a good time on set?

We had loads, but one that is particularly funny is the dead duck scene. In this scene I throw a rock hard loaf of bread at a duck that my mother [Toni Collette] has baked for me. I thought they were going to use a fake duck but they brought a real dead duck along which had died of natural causes! They had to tie a weight around its neck to make its feet stand upright in the pond. It was the funniest day. Another time we were shooting a scene where Hugh and I are playing snooker and I was just meant to make sure that the white ball stays down one end of the table so that he could stay on camera for his shot, but I actually got it in! Hugh couldn't believe it.

What was it like working with two directors?

I thought they'd be bashing each others heads in every day on set, but they really work well together. I think they're almost kind of psychic as one would come up to me and say "I think it would work better if you do it like this", and then the other, without seeing his brother, would come up and say the same thing! It was strange but really worked because they are both on the same wavelength, they know what they want and have double the number of ideas.

Would you like to carry on acting?

Yes, definitely, I love it. I'd like to stick to comedy as it's great fun, or an action movie like "Lord of the Rings".