By Tina Case
I had the pleasure of interviewing the charming British actor Alex Pettyfer during his first big press junket in the U.S. to promote his starring role in I Am Number Four (DreamWorks Studios). He also had his first major TV interview last week on the "Ellen" show.
This year, in addition to his starring role in I Am Number Four, he will also star in Beastly, a modern day Beauty and the Beast tale co-starring Vanessa Hudgens from Disney's High School Musical fame.
Then this Fall he will be part of an ensemble cast for the movie Now, along with Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried. He's a busy actor indeed. We caught up with him on his San Francisco press tour.
I Am Number Four comes out February 18, 2011 and we will have a review posted that day. Meanwhile, here is our interview with Alex:
Parent Grapevine: How did you prepare for that incredible backflip in the scene where you begin to discover your "legacies" (an inherited trait that manifests as he comes of age).
Alex: I had two wires, we made sure I didn't fall to my death. It was very heart wrenching. I did not do any green screen. So when I get flipped up in the air or get thrown into the lockers at 40 mph, there was no green screen. I actually had my own iPhone, which would have been interesting for you to see. Damn that dropping of the iPhone, that would have been interesting for you to see.
They weren't actually going to do the backward flip. They were just going to have me just jumping off the cliff. But Brad Allen, the head stunt coordinator, said we need to do something cool and different. I prepared for it in two days which was unreal. All my stunts were real, there was no green screen involved. I remember going to the top of the warehouse, and jumping off this pole, and I remember feeling my whole stomach, it went right into my mouth. Afterwards they said, "Now you're going back up and jump off backwards." I said, "I cannot jump off backwards", but I tell (without losing the coolness of the scene) it is easier to jump off backwards than it is forwards. Because if you fall forward you are looking where you are going the whole time, if you jump backwards you don't see where you're going until landing.
PG: (Apparently Alex and his co-star, Dianna Agron, are now an item off screen). Do you think you'll appear on an episode of Glee?
Alex: If I could sing, I would, but I can't sing or dance. I sound like a foghorn! I love the show.
PG: Is it a coincidence that your movies are into the whole sci-fi drama? "I Am Number Four", "Beastly" and "Now"?
Alex: I've always looked for great stories. "Now" is a very compelling story and very different. "Beastly" is a modern day Beauty and the Beast. "Now" is this futuristic but old school sci-fi movie. I AM NUMBER FOUR is set in a small town, it's a love story a guy fighting for what he believes in, who he is and what he wants to become.
PG: This is your first major press tour, and you just had your first interview on Ellen. That went over well. How has your first major press tour been for you.
Alex: Very, very embarrassed. So when that happens and when you see how out of shape, please don't laugh at me! I love America, I've moved out here now, I love it. Very nerve wracking but at the same time a very enjoyable experience because you get to meet new people. You get to promote the thing that you love. It's sort of daunting but so far it's been really enjoyable.
PG: What was the first big thing you bought when you got your first big paycheck?
Alex: My agent called to tell me, but I didn't buy anything. If I had a red ferrari, I wouldn't be acting. I bought a nice cute house. In L.A. I think everyone needs a base. Not that I'll ever be in it, I'll be promoting this for the next 20 years. Helping Spielberg and DreamWorks get residuals. I am a slave to I Am Number Four.
PG: Obviously based on the ending, this is going to be franchised. When you first signed onto this, what do you expect to change in your life or stay the same?
Alex: I've been through this before - I think that people bring this upon themselves. I hope I'm a pretty normal guy. I could be completely insane about that. I've got a very quiet life and I'm happy with that. You can't help certain things that happen with this industry, but to prevent it as much as much possible is what I try to do.
PG: "Now" (the movie), which looks incredible and the cast is amazing. What is your role? Are you done shooting?
Alex: I finished shooting about four days ago. It took me about six days to wash off the tattoo I had on my arm. I play the bad guy, I play a gang leader, Fortis, the main bad guy. Really great character. My character gets this tick and he's in between this Charles Manson, Gary Oldman character and he's great. So much fun to play him, the movie is great.
PG: In the movie "I AM NUMBER FOUR" you have these extra ordinary powers. If you could have that in real life what would you have?
Alex: X-Ray vision and mind reading.
[Editor's note: I interviewed Alex along with two other writers. The questions above are a combination of all questions asked during the interview]