Alex Pettyfer is Just "Beastly"
A couple of summers ago, CBS Films flew TeenHollywood to Montreal, Canada to the cool set of the upcoming modernization of Beauty and the Beast, Beasty, a fantasy/horror/romance based upon the popular novel and starring HSM’s Vanessa Hudgens and I Am Number Four’s Alex Pettyfer.
We were visiting a rooftop set where Alex was having a beastly chat with co-star Neil Patrick Harris, who plays his tutor in the film. We were impressed with the sheer scope of the production... a whole city was stretched out before us. Alex, in full Beast make-up, disappeared for a while and voila! He popped up behind us suddenly offering us a bottle of water. We jumped then got a nice look at the make-up which we were encouraged by Alex to touch. Then, he went all Halloween tricky on us, jumped away and laughed just as we were about to connect with a scar.
Since the encounter, Alex has blown up and is hitting screens in that other YA novel adaptation I Am Number Four. He also just finished shooting Now, co-starring with Justin Timberlake. Let’s turn back the clock and get the “beastly” scoop from this tall up and comer, now rumored to be paired with “Number Four” co-star, “Glee’s” Dianna Agron.
TeenHollywood: What was the audition process like for you on Beastly? Did you have to go back a few times and do a chemistry scene with Vanessa?
Alex: Yeah I did. I started off six months before we even started casting for the film and I met Daniel (Barnz) the director, and talked about it. I went in for a different project and he had this film called Beastly which sounded amazing, very interesting and I was intrigued and asked to read the script. Daniel's a phenomenal writer and director as well and it led on from there.
Six months later, I was in England and I got a phone call from Daniel. He said 'come out and audition" and I did. I had a chemistry read with her and it went very well. You've met her as well. She's such a nice human being and so easy to get on with. Who could not get along with her?
TeenHollywood: What was your exposure to the “Beauty and the Beast” tale? As a kid or the Disney movie or...?
Alex: Well, what's great about this is it's got that essence of "Beauty and the Beast" but it's really not. I kind of tried to stay away from all the stories. I'd seen all the "Beauty and the Beasts". I saw the series on TV with Linda Hamilton when I was a kid. I've always been a big fanatic about prosthetics (movie make-up) you know. We don't realize how much prosthetics are used in films like with the film on Harvey Milk, the chin and nose and Benecio del Toro changes his chin in SinCity. He loves prosthetics.
TeenHollywood: This story is more from the beast's point of view which is very interesting.
Alex: And you follow him. You know what's great about being with a character every scene until the end? You fall in love with his story and you follow his POV. Many stories, you bounce between (various stories) and, in this, you connect with Kyle and Hunter (the beast) and you follow his story during this experience. It takes you into his world. I think that's what's phenomenal about it.
It's also got the message that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It's got this love story behind it and it's about a guy suffering with solitary confinement and he can only see materialistic things and is trying to see the beauty of life. There are so many elements to it that make it a phenomenal film.
TeenHollywood: Your "beast" is far more modern. Were you pleased to learn that you wouldn't have to wear fur or have a furry face?
Alex: [laughs] I was very happy to know I wasn't going to be furry. Question is, were you happy I wasn't furry? I think the audience will be happy. This beast make-up is phenomenal. You're talking to someone who is a fanatic about it and I've never seen anything that looks remotely similar to this.
TeenHollywood: You have tattoos and some of the make-up looks a little like that. Did you feel sexy wearing it or just ugly? (Note: Alex has several tattoos]
Alex: You can't really describe what you feel. I felt this freedom. I think an actor looks for a mask. Thespians on stage used to hold masks up to their faces and portray different people. Whereas, I've got a mask stuck to my face and I'm lucky enough to have that open freedom and feel like someone else. It's a very weird feeling when someone reacts to you differently when you look different. You start to take that all on board. I changed the way I looked and then people started to act differently toward me and I started to act differently. I took it all onboard before I started the film and it was a very big help.
TeenHollywood: Girls want to know... what must a girl never do if she wants to date you?
Alex: Well, I'll tell you what girls must have. A girl always must be funny!
TeenHollywood: Your pre-Beast character in this film, Kyle is very self-obsessed. At some time in your life, has it just been all about YOU? Is it a danger that actors face once gaining some fame?
Alex: I think everyone has moments where it's all about them; moments where you go and take hot baths and read and chill out. I have a very good friend, a very wealthy friend who is very much like Kyle. What's great about Kyle is however much you say he's got this arrogance and air of hated inside him, he's a very charismatic, charming human being. That's why people fall in love with him.
At the beginning, when he's telling people 'you are an aggressive unattractive person' and all these horrible things, he's saying them in such a charming, nice way, you fall in love with him. It's very hard to fall in love with someone when they're insulting you. What's great is that the story is built around Kyle's ability to change personally. He stops just being in love with himself and loves others. You can't love someone else unless you love yourself.
TeenHollywood: One of the lessons of the film is to not judge a book by its cover. You were in a private school for the high school years but, even there did you find that teens were very quick to judge people by their looks?
Alex: No. I was very fortunate that I went to a great school with a great headmaster and I had a great school system. Everyone was friendly. It will be good for kids (who judge people by their looks) to come see this movie.
TeenHollywood: Anything funny happen on set or between scenes that you can tell us about?
Alex: Did you not just see me and Neil Patrick Harris? Me and Neil, every scene had fun. The way we act together is just a phenomenal experience. When you say were there any fun experiences, everything was fun. I loved working with Neil, I love working with [director] Daniel [Barnz]. I loved working with Vanessa. I even worked with a TV idol of mine, Peter Krause. That was big for me. I was taken aback. He was in "Dirty Sexy Money" and "Six Feet Under". I was a big fan of his. It was all fun. There was always fun on set. I'm a little bit of a prankster as well. [so both Dianna and Alex’s co-star Teresa Palmer of “Number Four” tell us!]
TeenHollywood: Do you listen to music to get in a "zone" before shooting? What is your process when about to shoot a big scene?
Alex: I don't know. I'm kind of always in it. You're fortunate enough that you visited the set on a good day when I wasn't miserable but I kind of live in it. As soon as I'm in that make-up, I'm kind of there. There's so much down time on a film set. I just wander back to my trailer and I do listen to music or read and stay in that zone.
TeenHollywood: Would you love it if there were a "beast"/Kyle/Hunter action figure made?
Alex: Yeah but I already have an action figure for "Stormbreaker".
Catch Beastly in theaters in March.