Nicholas Hoult has already had a surprisingly varied career considering how young he is, and I mean it as no small compliment when I say that I think his work in “Mad Max: Fury Road” is among the best he's done so far.
When I look at him, I don't see that kid from “About A Boy” at all. It is safe to say that whatever awkward phase he may have gone through has long since ended. When he appeared on “Skins,” he was so good at playing a nearly sociopathic party boy that it would have been easy for him to have been typecast from that point forward. And when he ended up playing Hank McCoy in “X-Men: First Class” and “X-Men: Days Of Future Past,” he seemed to have turned yet another corner, settling into his skin in an admirable way. He brought a sweetness and a charm to Hank that made a huge difference in how easy he was to accept in the role.
As I said in my review of “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Hoult has a role that is one of my favorite things about the film. He plays Nux, who is one of the War Dogs, the followers of Immortan Joe. They all paint themselves white, their uniformity marking them all as members of the same horde. When we meet Nux in the film, he is 100% devoted to Immortan Joe, and he's confident that he will die in battle and be transported to Paradise as his reward. He is excited when Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) takes the five Mothers and runs, because it gives him a chance to do something extraordinary to prove his love and devotion to Immortan Joe.
Watching the journey that Nux goes on in the film is remarkable, and Hoult seems well aware of just how wild the ride was. When we spoke, he seemed to still be trying to wrap his head around the film, which he'd just seen completed for the first time. I can't imagine how punishing this shoot was, but the end result has to be worth it. Hoult's work in the film should win him even more fans in the form of other filmmakers, and I suspect we are still just seeing the earliest part of a career that will no doubt last for many decades to come.
“Mad Max: Fury Road” is in theaters this Friday, with special screenings in most markets on Thursday night.