Jovan Adepo Interview: Overlord

Jovan Adepo first got major attention playing opposite Denzel Washington in 2016’s Fences. He has also had multiple TV roles including Michael Murphy on HBO’s The Leftovers and Marcus on Amazon’s Jack Ryan. In 2018, Adepo played World War II paratrooper Private Boyce in the horror film Overlord. His team of paratroopers is caught behind enemy lines and discover dangerous and horrifying creatures created from Nazi experiments.

Screen Rant: Jovan, congratulations on all the success. You’re certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. You guys had a great debut at Fantastic Fest, and now we're finally come full circle and made it to the home video release for Blu-ray and Digital.  Talk to me about Boyce. Talk to me about the character a little bit.

Jovan Adepo: Boyce was a character that I was really excited to play. Just because I found myself interested in playing characters who are going through this intense like inner turmoil. And just trying to find, I guess where they land in this world. Like, “What's their purpose?” So I was really attracted to Boyce. I think that he is a nice contrast from Ford, Wyatt Russell's character, because he is kind of like the representation of a fresh-eyed young man getting into the military and having to witness war. Whereas Ford is a more experienced and possibly tarnished being. He's kind of lost his sense of humanity and he's just purely about getting the mission done. So, it was nice to have that conflict and to get to play kind of the more naive version of that.

Screen Rant: All the characters are really flushed out in this movie and this does definitely feel like a band of brothers type of war epic, along with the mashup of a horror film. Julius Avery did a great job with his direction. Now, one of the most intense scenes, we open up with that plane scene. Can you talk to me about that scene? Because that's a comparable scene to almost any war movie I've ever seen.

Jovan Adepo: Thank you, appreciate it. And I know everybody worked really hard. That was one of the scenes that I saw on one of the earlier drafts of the script and I was just like, “I don't know how they're going to pull that off.” Because they made it very clear that they wanted that shot to be a one-shot. And that brings about its own challenges. But I mean that was a really, really long sequence filming that. And it was just something that we rehearsed, I mean, it felt like a million times. There were a lot of moving parts to it. And if everybody's not on their mark, where they need to be when they need to be, people can get hurt. Because most of the effects on that were practical. Even as much as having the redesigned C-47 on the rig, with the hydraulics and everything. Everybody just had to be aware of what was going on, while still performing. So, just doing that was really challenging and it was, it felt long. But seeing the final result was awesome. Especially as just getting to hear all the sounds, when you hear it in the theater and hopefully your home theater, and getting to just see everything kind of play and compliment each other, it was awesome.

Screen Rant: Yeah, it's a brilliant, brilliant scene. Now you talked about practical effects. Was a lot of this film done with practical effects?

Jovan Adepo: Most of it was, yeah. I think if they ever found an opportunity where they could use practical effects versus CGI, they went with it right away without hesitation. And I think that that served us well because it's much easier reacting and feeling, you know, honest, when you're trying to be scared, when there's actually someone in front of you versus a little x on a green screen. You know what I mean? So, it was really cool. And the prosthetics that they had on the actors and some of the stunt performers were brilliant. So, it was really cool just to get to see it in the flesh and get to react and play off of that. I think it just, it informed all of our performances even more.

Screen Rant: Now, I heard that, you and your cast mates did a boot camp together. And I think, on the Blu-ray version, there's a little bit of that stuff in there. Can you talk to me about how the boot camp prepared you for the film and also how you formed your bond with your co-stars?

Jovan Adepo: I think it just made that bond more genuine. And, of course, we had a lot of extras and we had some extended cast mates who were involved in the filming. But that core group of guys, I think it was important for all of us to really know each other. Because if you think about it, a lot of these soldiers in the real world, when they're going away and they're enlisting, they're going to boot camp and spending a lot of time together. So, by the time, if they unfortunately have to see live action, they've spent a lot of time with these guys and they do feel like brothers, or close friends, or relatives that they known for a long time. So, they wanted that to feel real and feel organic. So, I think that that boot camp, you know, learning the terminology that they used back then, learning about the different equipment and weaponry that they use, spending hours and hours and hours with these guys not getting sleep, experiencing the same drastic circumstances together only brought us closer. And it made, I think, our performances more truthful and just kind of seamless.

Screen Rant: Did you walk away with a nickname?

Jovan Adepo: Did I walk away with a nickname? Not that I can remember. I know that Freddie gave everybody some type of awful nickname. I know Dominic Applewhite, who plays Jacob, he had a bunch because his last name is Rosenfeld in the movie. But Freddie was calling him like Rosen-splash, Rosen-garter, Riggen-flabber. Just anything and everything. But I know we all had interesting and or embarrassing nicknames, but and you would have to ask like Magaro or something because he knows everybody's fricking nickname. He’s such a jerk [LAUGHS].

Screen Rant: One of the great subplots of this film too, is the story between Boyce and Chloe. Can you talk to me about that relationship and how it kind of starts and how it fosters?

Jovan Adepo: I think it's a nice little dynamic as well. I think that his and Ford’s was great, but Chloe was refreshing because these are two people, who were just, during these drastic times in this war infested area, they really found refuge in finding someone who is like minded. And it wasn't even about necessarily, about having anything intimate, even though like it could go either way. It was just about finding somebody who is open to having some type of interaction with another human being that wasn't violent, or though it wasn't aggressive. It was just a very peaceful interaction. And I think that Claudia was able to really find comfort in Boyce and vice versa.

Screen Rant: Well, I can't wait for people to see this on home video, because I saw it in theaters and I can't wait to see it again. So, amazing job. And you guys did great.

Jovan Adepo: Thank you, we really appreciate that.

Screen Rant: Thank you so much, man.

Jovan Adepo: Absolutely.

Screen Rant: Pleasure.

Jovan Adepo: Likewise.

Screen Rant: Thank you.

More: Read Screen Rant's Overlord Review

Overlord is now available on Blu-ray and Digital.

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