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. Adepo’s most recent work is playing 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. Mathilde Ollivier plays Chloe, a civilian who aides the stranded paratroopers.
Screen Rant: First of all, amazing job on this film. Who'd have thought that the World War II genre and horror would be just as equally impactfully suspenseful. It's an amazing job. Jovan, first of all, I heard that you guys had a boot camp of sorts and everybody got nicknames. At least all your cast members told me, everybody got nicknames. What was your nickname?
Jovan Adepo: Oh man, I can't even-- I think mine was like Boyce. It was like related to my character. There was another one I can't remember. It had something to do with me being the most fit of the group. I'm sure that they will deny that, but it was true. Like we all-- I mean I was fortunate to have gotten the role a little bit earlier than the rest of the cast. So, I started training like a nearly, like going to the gym, get a trainer before I flew to England. So, when it was to with the boot camp and we're doing the PT, the physical training and all that, it was just like, it wasn't easy, but it was easier for me than some others. So, had to have something to do with like that.
Screen Rant: It must have been, you must have been the best in shape because everyone else complains that it was the worst part of the whole experience.
Jovan Adepo: It was that.
Screen Rant: So, Chloe. Chloe's no shrinking violet. She looks-- just as she has a gun, it’s perfect for her in the backdrop of World War II. Can you talk to me about Chloe's backstory?
Mathilde Ollivier: Yes. So, Chloe’s backstory. So, she was born and bred in France and she loved music very much and she love animals. So, she wanted to be a veterinarian. And so, she went to London to find her experience because she wanted to leave this small town of Ciel Blanc and wanting to have her own experience. So, she went to London, fell in love with a man called Daniel. And one day she received a note from her mom saying that the Germans had arrived in her village. And she decided that this moment to leave and to go back to help her family. So, she packed up all her stuff and arrived in Ciel Blanc. Straight after that, it's been four years of craziness and terrifying moment in her life. And her entire life have been taken away from her.
Screen Rant: Wow, that's crazy. And we see the stories through Boyce’s eyes. Can you talk to me about his backstory? Because I feel that he's not a pacifist by any means, but he definitely doesn't want to kill, just to kill. Can you talk to me about his backstory and how he got to this place where he is, with all these other soldiers?
Jovan Adepo: I think the biggest thing is that, like you said, he's not a pacifist. He's trying to pick his battles and he wants to do everything he has to do before it gets time to kill people. And I think, of course, he is the moral compass of this film, along with Chloe. And it's something where he just wants to try to find the fine line of getting things done in the most efficient way. And he also wants to find out where he fits in this group of people who are all experienced in war, in a sense, and he's the new guy who literally three months ago was cutting grass outside of his house, you know what I mean? War wasn't something that he had ever imagined that he'd be a part of it. Now that he's in it, he wants to fit in and do his job and do it well, but also be able to save some lives and avoid just recklessly killing. I think that was the through line for Boyce, for me.
Screen Rant: I think the script is great because it starts off just as intense as a World War II movie. Just as any other World War II movie would. But it takes so many different directions. So, what was it about this script, a scene in particular, that you guys were like, ‘This is something I definitely want to be involved in.’
Mathilde Ollivier: Well, the entire family is kind of a crazy and funny as well. And so, I was the last one to arrive on board and when I discovered Chloe's character, I really get attached to strengths and the fact that she was a fighter. I'm coming from, like a woman feminine. I grew up with my grandmother, my mom, and my sister, and they're all very strong woman. So that was important for me to make Chloe as strong mentally and physically as well.
Screen Rant: Well, Chloe, she's one of the only females in this film and she definitely holds her own against every male in this film. Can you talk to me about how that helped your performance?
Mathilde Ollivier: It was amazing because they’ve all got amazing experience in work, films. And so, they've been very genuine with me. And they helped me a lot. And they guide me so much for doing it. So, that was fantastic. To be able to be part of such a cool crew.
Jovan Adepo: She’s much tougher than all of us to be clear.
Screen Rant: Breezed through that boot camp I’m sure.
Jovan Adepo: We were complaining a lot about a lot of things on set. ‘Oh, my shoulders, or my back.’ And she's just like waving her gun around just like a champ. So, she was helping us a lot more than I would say than the other way around to be honest.
Screen Rant: Now, science fiction and horror films are usually cautionary tales. What do you want people to take away as a cautionary tale for Overlord?
Jovan Adepo: There’s a fine line between right and wrong. And when it comes to heroes and villains, I think that we all kind of play both sides of that, at times. I think as long as your, your morality is in tune. I think that's what separates you from being a hero and a villain, I think.
Screen Rant: No, I agree. I completely agree with that. Now, what was the one of the hardest scenes for you guys to shoot in this? Because everything seems so intense. And practical!
Jovan Adepo: Oh, for sure. Just immediately, what comes to mind is the first sequence, the aerial sequence, jumping out of the plane. That was a rough. A lot of moving parts, a lot of rigs, a lot of actually being suspended in the air and doing a lot of spinning and stuff. And I was just like, ‘Oh God, this is hell. But I'm sure it's going to look great. So, just let me, come on baby. Let's get through it.’ That was definitely the hardest for me.
Mathilde Ollivier: Yeah. For me it was the scene with the mistake and having to fight with it. And I've been a very, very happy that Julius [Avery] actually let me doing it with the help of Bad Robot and Paramount. And they've been very encouraging me for making this [unintelligible]. The physical part was quite hard. And staying in the era of the 1940 was very important. It was very important to never leave the things. Like by holding guns or crossing legs or usual things.
Screen Rant: That's amazing. Being in the 1940s I didn’t even think about that. But this was all done with a lot of practical effects and a lot of practical makeup and I think that adds such a depth to this film. Can you talk to me about some of that stuff and the collaboration between you and the director. Because I think that everyone was saying that this is a pretty collaborative effort for this film.
Jovan Adepo: Yeah, definitely. J.J. [Abrams] and Bad Robot and Paramount had been developing this for a while. So, when you spend a lot of time on a script and it goes through the rounds, you can become really attached to an idea of what this character is going to be, what this set-up is going to be like. And it's been amazing that they cast all of us and a lot of us still have a voice in how we were going to portray our characters. And as a statement as far as like the prosthetics being like conventional versus CGI, they had a really nice balance. The stuff that you absolutely need computer generation for, they were able to do it. But if you could have the traditional effects, it kind of gives it like this kind of classic war movie or classic horror movie feel. Because you're seeing something that's there and you don't have to look at an ‘x’ on a green screen. That helped us a lot. Like immensely.
- Overlord (2018) release date: Nov 09, 2018