I know a lot of you are scratching your heads and wondering “where did this kid come from? He’s EVERYWHERE!” And you’re right. 2011 is not only the year of the Rabbit but it as The Year of the Pettyfer as well. With two starring roles and even more high-profile films in the works I think this handsome British lad’s face is going to become even more commonplace among the ever burgeoning list of One2Watch4 leading men.
Now of course Alex Pettyfer didn’t exactly come out of nowhere. While his work hasn’t been extensive, it’s been significant in building a legitimate base for this young actor. As a youngster Alex was a model. A funny story is how when Alex was 8, Ralph Lauren suggested Alex come model for him as Alex was shopping with his mom in the Lauren New York City store. Alex’s mom had no idea they were talking with the designer himself and quickly dismissed the offer as insincere (and probably a little creepy). It was years later, when Alex was doing an actual ad for the fashion house, that Alex recognized Lauren and his mom’s mistake.
Modeling was all well and good for a while but what teenage Alex really wanted to do was act. He’s the son of a working actor (Richard Pettyfer) and had been in the odd production at school. The first big break came in the form of a TV series called Tom Brown’s Schooldays (also starring Stephen Fry). The critically acclaimed show helped propel Alex to the top of the list of 500 hopefuls for the big-screen adaptation of the popular young adult series Alex Ryder as well as the Hollywood version of another popular book Eragon. Talk about your wealth of choices! Alex (Pettyfer) decided to take the Alex (Ryder) project for the simple reason that he has a fear of flying and Eragon was being filmed in Hungary. Oh fate has a funny way of shinning on the lucky few. Ever hear anything again about the kid who ended up being the lead in Eragon? I’m just saying.
Since the Alex Ryder books take place in quick succession, Pettyfer was already too old, by the films release, to play the character in any subsequent sequels. Not that any were going to be made since it did so poorly at the box office. But that didn’t really affect him. Alex was quickly growing out of the awkward, gangly, early teens into his matinee idol looks. Next up were two films set in proper British schools – the American fish out of water comedy Wild Child, starring Emma Roberts (Alex’s rumored ex and the inspiration behind his “ER” tattoo) and zombie revenge flick Tormented, where Alex plays a bully who gets his what’s coming to him. Then, in 2009, Alex shaved off all his golden locks, put on about 15 pounds of muscle and donned heavy prosthetic make-up to become Beastly – a retelling of Beauty and the Beast with Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical fame. Release of Beastly has been delayed several times and will finally hit theaters March, 2011. All this on the job training almost prepared him for what was next – a blockbuster science fiction flick produced by none other than Steven Spielberg.
Alex was called in by the casting director to audition for the next in the long list of young-adult novels being turned into films: I Am Number Four. The story is about aliens with special abilities living amongst us, being hunted and killed by a race known as Mogadorians. The film was being produced by Hollywood powerhouses Michael Bay and the aforementioned Spielberg and the part was the lead. Pettyfer was understandably feeling the pressure (though at that time he was blissfully unaware of Speilberg’s participation) and literally walked out of the room before reading one line. He was convinced he was not right for such a weighty role and that he would ruin it for all involved. It took some major negotiating from the casting director and film director D.J. Caruso to get Alex in and on tape. But whatever it took, worked. Alex landed the part (with Speilberg’s final thumbs up) and I Am Number Four went into production co-starring Glee’s Diana Agron and fellow O2W4’s Tim Olyphant and Callam McAuliffe. It opens Friday, February 18th.
Pettyfer is hot right now. We’re talking Pattinson hot. He’s been getting work hand over fist. Currently in production (as of press date) is another Sci-Fi flick, Now, with and all-star cast. After that there is the bio-pic that Pettyfer is actually producing, about the tragic life of Formula One driver James Hunt. And the rumor going around today is that Alex is passing on The Mortal Instruments and signing up to be The Last Apprentice. Talk is that Jeff Bridges and Winter Bone’s nominated actress Jennifer Lawrence will star in that one. Not hard to see why an up and comer like Alex would jump at that opportunity, eh? Love him or leave him, Alex Pettyfer is going to stay in the collective consciousness for the foreseeable future.