Alex Pettyfer: Number One as “Number Four”
Handsome, 20-year-old Brit Alex Pettyfer first came across our radar a few years ago as the kid star of a spy actioner playing Alex Rider in Operation Stormbreaker. Now on the cusp of hitting it big as the star of Beastly and the Spielberg/Bay-produced Sci-Fi film I Am Number Four, based on the novel, Alex still seems humble and admits that he is a dreamer and can’t believe that many of his childhood dreams are coming true.
At our sit-down in Beverly Hills, the tall, blondish and handsome actor is dressed in an amazing Dior suit of light tan over a while shirt. Wow! Alex reminds me that I didn’t thank him for running to get me water on the Beastly set in Montreal last year. Maybe I didn’t recognize him with all that make-up. [he’s kidding. We DID thank him!]. He is also being super careful not to talk about any personal relationship with co-star Dianna Agron. Let’s dish…
TeenHollywood: What was special for you working on this film?
Alex Pettyfer: Each film is a different experience and this film is working with people that I idolize. [Director] D.J. Caruso, I’ve loved his movies from Disturbia to Eagle Eye. I remember reading Disturbia; one of the first scripts I ever got and I was ‘who wants to make a movie about a guy in a house?’ [we laugh]. And you watch it and are blown away by what D.J. does. He makes an intricate story about a guy you care about. That’s what I loved about I Am Number Four. You have all the action and explosions but, at the core of it, D.J. makes a story where you care about every single character and it feels real.
TeenHollywood: What did you enjoy most during the shoot for I Am Number Four so much that you would like to do it again?
Alex: I would go blow up the football stadium again! I had so much fun running around. It’s so crazy, it’s like being twenty years old but still dreaming about going into the back garden and playing action hero. You go on this massive American football field and have to use your imagination.
The first shot we had, we run out of the tunnel onto the field and there are [creatures] jumping down at you and people are shooting at you and the ground is exploding. It’s so crazy, all the things you have to imagine happening and then you see the trailer and part of the film and it all comes to life. It’s a great feeling so I would go back and do that again!
TeenHollywood: How was working with young Callan McAuliffe? Was it a big bro/little bro feeling?
Alex: He’s so intelligent. Some of the things he says I don’t even understand. He is an amazing human being. If this does turn into a franchise, it’s me and him on the road and I’m so excited to work with him again. He’s a great actor and hopefully a great friend now.
TeenHollywood: How was working with Dianna?
Alex: [big smile] Everyone is so phenomenal in the movie and everyone has a perfect role for them. Everyone has brought something special and made the movie unique.
TeenHollywood: With Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay as your producers, any pressure? How did you feel about that?
Alex: As a kid, you idolize these people and think of it as a lifelong dream. When it finally happens, it kind of takes your breath away but, at the same time, you’re making a movie that you are so proud of. At the end of the day, you are collaborating to make a movie that everyone goes and sees and enjoys. You work with your icons because these guys know what they’re doing and have made movies that you’ve enjoyed in the past and now you just want on the team and you make a movie that everyone else in the world can enjoy.
TeenHollywood: Both your characters in Beastly and I Am Number Four are sort of tortured souls. In Beastly, your guy is paying for his arrogance and is forced to change. In “Number Four”, John has always had to move from town to town and yearns for a “normal” life. Do you just pick this kind of character on purpose?
Alex: Well, I think everyone in life comes to a point where they have a choice. John’s choice is to lead a normal life but it’s not his destiny. He is essentially this warrior from another planet. That is what is so torturing for him. He may feel tortured but it’s about choice for him; wanting one thing and having to do another. If he doesn’t become the warrior, he can lose everything he’s ever wanted.
TeenHollywood: You have the two movies are coming out pretty close together. What are you planning next?
Alex: Just focusing on promoting this movie. I’m doing a film at the moment (Now with Justin Timberlake, Olivia Wilde and Amanda Seyfried) but I take it one step at a time. I’m lucky to be in the position I’m in. You don’t know if you’re going to work again. I’m very proud of those movies.
TeenHollywood: Does the size of the budget of a movie matter to you?
Alex: I only want to do hundred million dollar movies! I’m kidding. Absolutely not. It’s a weird thing. I like movies that interest me and don’t think about how much money it’s going to take to make the movie. I think about who is going to make the movie and who is going to tell a story that I want to be involved in. I don’t have that choice. I went up and auditioned for I Am Number Four and, finally, really wanted the part.
When you find a story that has all the aspects of vulnerability and is a journey, everyone wants to go on the journey. That’s why we go to a cinema and sit there. We want to escape whatever life we’re leading and fantasize about something else. Other lives interest us. That’s why we read magazines like “People” and drool over what other people are doing.
TeenHollywood: What is your true casting story on this? We hear you didn’t want the role at first, actually.
Alex: I was very, very scared about playing John. I found it a fascinating story but one that I couldn’t grasp and it’s got a rebel without a cause feeling in it. I went to the audition process and they read the first line and I said ‘You know what? I’m really not right for this’ and walked out the door because I was scared.
I’ve always been the guy that loved having pressure on me because I wanted to prove myself wrong and prove I could do it. D.J. saw that vulnerability of a guy that has a choice so I went back in and read and fell in love with the story. It’s a weird thing for me. You don’t know if this alien guy can succeed or not and I wanted to bring that aspect to it.