Hollywood can be a tricky industry to navigate, especially when given the chance to be part of one of the biggest film franchises out there. On the one hand, it’s a game-changing step that could boost awareness for an actor and lead to a multitude of other opportunities, but it also comes with extreme pressure and the understanding that the fate of the franchise isn’t in your hands entirely. Maybe the project just doesn’t come together as originally intended, perhaps it winds up facing unexpected competition at the box office or, in the case of the X-Men film franchise, maybe you get caught up in one of the the biggest acquisitions in Hollywood history.
I recently got the chance to catch up with Nicholas Hoult for his new Hulu series The Great. Hoult and Elle Fanning were kind enough to give Collider an extended interview so that we could take a moment to reflect on their careers and all the steps they took along the way leading up to The Great. And for Hoult, of course, a major component of his filmography is the X-Men series. Four films is a major commitment, so I asked Hoult what goes into making the decision to join a high-pressure franchise that’s also a major time commitment. Here’s what he told me:
“You I think try and always weigh up each job and character, and what you’re going into with the same kind of assessment I suppose going in and what the character is, who’s directing or who’s producing, who’s making the film and what the story is. And what the character is; if it’s something that you feel you can bring something to and have an angle on, but then also, yeah, there’s definitely, I suppose, from my standpoint, if it is a big franchise like that – I mean, it’s different because, you know, with X-Men, I’m playing a supporting role and then that’s actually a lot of weight lifted from you going into those things because it’s not riding on your back. You’re getting to be a part of something that’s a lot bigger than you, and that’s where it’s actually very freeing. So I really thrive and enjoy that idea.
But yeah, definitely in the past and when you get offered kind of those bigger tentpole movies that maybe is relying more on you as a lead character, that is something that you have to kind of look at in a different way because, like Elle was saying earlier, it is a business so people kind of do judge you on how those films perform more so than if you go and do an indie film that doesn’t work out and people don’t particularly see, so it is a different assessment I supposed from your angle. Always got to look at it from a creative standpoint first, but there are different kinds of things at play I suppose with that.”
While the X-Men film franchise abruptly concluded with X-Men: Dark Phoenix last year ahead of an expected reboot by Marvel Studios, Hoult did manage to make a big impression as Hank McCoy, aka Beast, over the course of that four film run. As one of the best of the best out there, there’s no doubt in my mind that another franchise opportunity will come Hoult’s way, but the question is, would he even be interested?
“It’s tricky. Any multi-length sort of deal is interesting to sign on to because it can shape your future quite a lot and also it’s an odd thing because, yeah, as you say, you don’t always have complete control over it. The only thing that you can rely on is that hopefully if something’s good and people like it, then it keeps going and that means that you’ll obviously want to keep being involved with it. And with the X-Men experience, I’ve made so many brilliant friends and had such a great time making them and love all the people involved, so … yeah, if those sorts of things came about again where it’s a multi-deal whatever, it’s not something that I’d be intimidated by under the right circumstances.”
In addition to the commitment required to join a superhero film franchise, we also spoke a good deal about signing on to star in a TV series, something Hoult hasn’t done in quite a while. For more on that, be sure to keep an eye out for our full interview with Hoult and Fanning coming to Collider closer to The Great’s May 15th debut on Hulu!