Newcomer Alex Pettyfer takes us on a wild adventure with co-stars Dianna Agron and Teresa Palmer in director D.J. Caruso's I Am Number Four. The UK hottie plays John Smith (Number Four), who might look like your average teenager—except he's from a planet called Lorien. This suspense thriller has drama, action (thanks to producer Michael Bay), and your classic love story…with a few twists, of course.
Pettyfer joined us for an exclusive interview at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills where he comfortably, in his lovely British accent, discussed the making of I Am Number Four, working with Glee sensation Dianna Agron, and his next film projects, where he gets to rub shoulders with Justin Timberlake, Olivia Wilde, and Vanessa Hudgens.
Movies.com: Nine children survived the destruction of the planet Lorien and you are lucky No.4. What sort of powers does Number Four develop?
Alex Pettyfer: I have telekinesis—basically the ability to move things without touching them—and I have lumen, which is a source of light that…allows me to demolish/harm these creatures in the movie that are called Piken, who are sent to Earth to destroy the nine survivors.
Movies.com: You've described this movie as a coming-of-age story, and [it's] one of the reasons why you took on the role. Tell us about the struggles your character faces.
Pettyfer: He's struggling with the fact that he wants normality and he's not going to get it. There's a pivotal point where he either fights or doesn't fight. What's so great about the story and what [grabbed] me is that you go on this journey with this guy who essentially doesn't want it, and that's such a phenomenal thing…there's no cheesy 80's montage of him learning how to use his powers; it's very much [in] the realm of Bourne…and it makes it that much more interesting.
Movies.com: You co-star alongside Glee sensation Dianna Agron and Aussie Teresa Palmer…do you consider yourself lucky?
Pettyfer: [Smiles]. Dianna and Teresa are amazing in the movie. Diana had this very Audrey Hepburn/Grace Kelly feel to her and it's amazing to watch the energy of both of them on screen. It's been a long time since we've seen two girls in a film [who] might become iconic characters.
Teresa is such a bundle of energy and she worked hard training for this film. It's great to work with someone who has prepared for months and learned these tricky moves that God knows I would never be able to do.
Movies.com: Your character ends up falling in love while simultaneously discovering his powers.
Pettyfer: Right, he hasn't got his powers when he first meets [Dianna] but they are trigged by the feelings he begins to have for her, so he gets his powers, and falls in love.
Movies.com: How does your character balance his quest for survival and his personal life?
Pettyfer: Teenage hormones—you can't balance it. [Laughs].
Movies.com: Seems like you've developed a close relationship with D.J. Caruso.
Pettyfer: D.J. is great. I've loved his work since day one. I liked Disturbia, even though I thought it would never work…but it did. All the movies he has ever done have been so great, and he has this eye for telling a story and making you care. He's a very good mentor and I look up to him.
Movies.com: Let's talk about your upcoming projects, Beastly and Now.
Pettyfer: Beastly comes out in March. It's the classic Beauty and the Beast story but with a modern twist. What can I say is that [the make-up] took about four and a half hours to put on and an hour and a half to get out.
Now, it's a very original idea. It's about a guy who starts aging at the age of 25. It's very dark and very much in the vein of Inception. I play the bad guy—I can't go too much into detail. I've never played a bad guy but I certainly enjoyed it…not sure if I should say that I had a great time playing the bad guy. [Laughs].