The 5th Wave's Alex Roe Talks Filming His Own Stunts, His Celeb Crush & More for JJ Portrait Session!
In the sci-fi film, four waves of increasingly deadly attacks have left most of Earth in ruin. Against a backdrop of fear and distrust, Cassie (Moretz) is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother. As she prepares for the inevitable and lethal fifth wave, Cassie teams up with a young man (Roe) who may become her final hope – if she can only trust him.
Alex opens up to us in our exclusive interview about filming his own stunts for the movie, a big mishap that happened on the first day of shooting, a story his buddy Timothee Chalamet wouldn’t want you to hear, and the Oscar-nominated actress he is crushing on these days.
Click inside to read our full interview with Alex Roe…
Alex Roe Interview – JustJared.com Exclusive
Just Jared: Could you tell us about your childhood and how you got into acting?
Alex Roe: I grew up in London, West London. Half of my family are from up north, in a place called Hartlepool, which is a mining town. And then the other half of my family are from London. My granddad was a fairground boxer and my other granddad was a coal miner, and was on the beach of Normandy. Quite a working class kind of background. My mum moved down to London to be a ballerina. And then that’s how she met my dad, and that’s how I came about, and my twin sister. I grew up playing soccer a lot and playing a lot of sports. That and acting were always the two things that I flipped between. And sometimes acting would take the lead, and sometimes football would. But acting was always where my passion was and that is what I think I was good at.
JJ: What was the first thing that got you into acting?
AR: Oh I just loved movies. Just growing up, I always loved, probably watched movies I shouldn’t have watched. Like American History X and stuff, when I was like thirteen or something. So yeah, just loving movies is what got me into it. And also just being really interested in other people and what makes people tick. From quite a young age, from being quiet and pathetic I think. And just being the kind of person that is interested in lots and lots of things, and gets obsessed with things really quickly.
JJ: What was your first acting project?
AR: My first acting project was a funny one. I did a commercial for this thing called Milky Way. The chocolate Milky Way. The whole thing I was at was really, really fun. But then everyone in my area where I grew up would call me the “Milky Way Kid”. So I got a lot of grief for that.
JJ: How did you get attached to The 5th Wave?
AR: I was shooting out here and I went for an audition, and it was really late, late stages. I think they already had their shortlists. I think my agent just said that “I know that I’ve got the guy.” I read the script, and really, really felt like I knew who the guy was. Did the audition and then literally the next week, I was flying to New York as their kind of wild card on their shortlist. “Okay, why not. Let’s see him.” The scenes went really well with Chloe [Grace Moretz]. I worked on it in there for maybe forty five, fifty minutes. And yeah, and then found out a couple of weeks later that I got it. It’s weird. I think sometimes you have characters that you just feel like you understand.
JJ: Tell us about your character.
AR: His name is Evan Walker. He grew up on a farm. Really kind of like normal kid, good with his hands. He had a scholarship to Kent State before all of this happened. He was going to study mechanical engineering. And then the fifth wave hits and him and Cassie have kind of a similar thing where they both lose everyone. They lose their family but you follow Cassie’s story, but they’ve both gone through quite similar things. He’s kind of surviving on his own. And then stumbles across Cassie, and she’s been injured. She becomes kind of his reason to survive. Which is what I think is quite cool about this movie is you kind of see people when they’re all in their basic human emotions and human instincts, because they’re in such an extreme situation. And his base instinct is to be a protector.
JJ: Do you have a favorite scene that you shot?
AR: There was a fight scene that I loved shooting, because I worked really hard for it. And they managed to shoot all of it on a wide angle, so all of it’s me. It’s not like a stunt double coming in and doing it. It was just standard boxing fighting really. But there’s some cool moves in there that will be fun to watch, it’s an exciting fight scene. Evan has certain skills. He teaches Cassie how to… I think that’s in the trailer too. He teaches Cassie how to disarm, and kind of uses it in this fight scene. It’s good fun.
JJ: How true is the movie to the book?
AR: We tried so hard to keep it as true as possible. There were script changes that veer it towards being as close to book as possible. And then me and Chloe and J [Blakeson, director], I didn’t work with Nick or Maika but I’m sure they were doing the same thing, were always talking about how the relationships are in the book and how we can make them as similar as possible in the movie. It’s hard obviously because you’re not inside the character’s head, so they’re going to be slightly different, but yeah, I think it’s quite true.
JJ: Are they building this to be a big franchise like The Hunger Games?
AR: Because the books come in a trilogy, there’s two out now, and I think that’s the idea. I feel like Hunger Games is more kind of set in the dystopian future, whereas this is set today. Like as if this happened to us right now. And it’s kind of fears that we all have. Like living in California, the fear is of having earthquakes and tidal waves, and all that kind of stuff. That’s fears that we have, so I feel like it’s relatable in that sense.
JJ: Did anyone play any pranks on set?
AR: I wish we pranked a little bit more often. But just like silly things happened. Like on my first day, I had to chase Chloe through a forest, because she’s being chased by some others. She has a trip wire that she has to trip up on, and then I have to somehow dodge the trip wire and tackle her down to the ground. But I just ran flat into the trip wire and went flying. There was like this log that I managed to somehow dodge and hit my back rather than hitting my face. It was pretty embarrassing on your first day. I think everyone was wondering what they were in for after that.
JJ: Let’s do some word associations… Chloe Moretz.
JJ: Nick Robinson.
AR: Cool guy.
JJ: Maika Monroe.
JJ: Tony Revolori.
JJ: Liev Schreiber.
AR: Don. [Editors note: Don is slang for boss]
JJ: Tobey Maguire.
AR: Nice guy.
JJ: J Blakeson.
JJ: Tell us about your other movie, Hot Summer Nights.
AR: Hot Summer Nights… They made it onto the black list in 2014. It’s an up and coming director and writer called Elijah Bynum. It’s set in Cape Cod. It’s like a coming of age story about this kid who doesn’t really know what he wants to do with his life, moves to Cape Cod, and befriends the local, kind of the townie bad boy rebel of Cape Cod. That was my character. And then he takes this kid under his wing and they’re dealing drugs basically. And things just blow up in their face. It’s action packed but not in the same way as The 5th Wave, as far as action action. There’s just so much, so much going on.
JJ: Tell us about your character in it.
AR: Oh yeah, so he grew up in Cape Cod. He’s kind of one those guys that’s never going to leave. And on the surface, it seems like he’s got everything under control. He’s lost his mom and he’s kind of living on his own. But he’s making his own money, he’s throwing big parties, he’s kind of like the local cool guy. But really he’s got a lot of demons, and he’s got this kind of feeling that he’s never going to leave that town. And he’s kind of accepted that.
JJ: Are there any funny behind the scenes stories?
AR: We all got a huge house. We put all our money together, because you get a per diem, we put it together and got a house in Atlanta. So we had some funny times there. Timothee [Chalamet]‘s going to hate me for this… But Timothee gave us a rendition of Guys and Dolls one night. He literally went through almost the whole soundtrack because I think he was in it in school or something. So that was pretty funny. He’s going to hate me so much for saying that.
JJ: You’ve worked with Maika on both films. Is there something about her that most people wouldn’t know?
AR: Everyone knows she’s a bad ass, because everyone knows sh’es a kite boarder. I’d love to be able to say like, “But really she’s a proper nerd.” But she’s actually legit cool. I can more than say something that people don’t know. I can confirm that she’s as cool as she appears.
JJ: Do you have any favorite TV shows?
JJ: What is your favorite album of the year?
AR: This doesn’t represent my actual music taste usually, but the Future/Drake album. I love that.
JJ: Favorite food?
AR: I miss, this is so English, but I miss a really good Cornwall fish and chips. They just know how to batter a fish out there. They just know how to do it.
JJ: 70′s rock music is your favorite… Any certain bands?
AR: Oh, loads. I’m kind of into a bit of Led Zeppelin, a little bit of AC/DC. And then I like a little but of punk too. So kind of going into The Ramones and stuff like that. But I’ve got quite an eclectic taste really. I just like good music.
JJ: What’s the last movie you saw?
AR: Last movie I watched was Sicario. Great movie. I think [Emily Blunt] did an amazing job with that. I think that was a story that was like, it was just really cleverly done, and really fast paced. I liked it a lot.
JJ: What is the last concert you went to?
AR: I went to Gary Clark Jr. I think it was at the Fonda Theatre. But that’s what’s quite cool about LA. It’s like so many great bands come through. I think he’s the closest we’ll get to like a Jimi Hendrix.
JJ: Do you have any obsessions in life?
AR: Soccer. I play literally three times a week. I’m obsessed with soccer. And I watch it a lot as well.
JJ: Do you have any pet peeves?
AR: Um… Fake people.
JJ: Who is your celebrity crush?
AR: You know, Brie Larson is so cute and cool. I’d love to meet her.
Photos 1 & 4: Emporio ARMANI sweater.
Photos 2 & 5: G star jacket, John Varvatos shirt, and Emporio ARMANI jeans.
Photo 3: Ports 1961 coat, Emporio ARMANI sweater.