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How Anya Taylor-Joy And Nicholas Hoult Improvised Their Way Through The Menu

If you've ever made fun of foodies or snickered at the uber-wealthy, then you'll love (or have already watched) "The Menu," a rich morsel of satirical horror-comedy starring the iconic Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Nicholas Hoult. By peeling away the pretensions of celebrity chefs, foodies, journalists, and tech bros in equal portions, the movie concocts a sweet mix of unsavory characters and distasteful power imbalances. It's also darkly funny and piquant — whether you're familiar with the food industry and its various players or not. Portions of the film were also heavily improvised, according to Taylor-Joy in a recent video segment with Vanity Fair.

For the segment, Taylor-Joy joined Hoult and the film's director, Mark Mylod, to discuss how they made "The Menu." As the trio revealed, in order to amplify the sense of immersion, a distinct approach was taken to filming scenes that involved a large group of characters being present throughout the action. As Taylor-Joy and Hoult explained, as actors, they had to be on at all times, even when the focus wasn't on them.

The actors in The Menu stayed in character even when they were in the background

In the Vanity Fair segment, Anya Taylor-Joy explained that "The Menu" director Mark Mylod treated his set like a stage on which every actor had to be in character and reacting to the events around them.

"Something that Mark does, was he wanted us all on stage essentially the whole time and improvising because you never knew when you were going to be caught on camera, which was such a fascinating way of working," said Taylor-Joy. "But the other wonderful thing, which I've not experienced in any other film, is usually if it's someone else's closeup, you'll go and rest in your trailer. We never left this set. We were constantly on set improvising or watching everybody else around us and it was such a supportive environment."

As Mylod revealed, this improvisational, stage play-like atmosphere gave the editors a plethora of rich material to work with and led to some exemplary reaction shots from cast members like Paul Adelstein and Janet McTeer. Incidentally, the approach also registered with critics like Tasha Robinson of Polygon, who compared the film to "an expansive version of a single-set play."

As for Taylor-Joy and Hoult, they say they tried their best to be up to the task. "We committed to the improv, like, pretty hardcore the first couple of days," said Taylor-Joy, before Hoult admitted that the two eventually just started playing a version of "Two Truths and a Lie."

To see the fruits of their labor, you can catch "The Menu" in theaters now.