Welcome to Nicholas Hoult Web, your source for everything on British actor Nicholas Hoult. You may know Nicholas for his role as Tony Stonem in Channel 4's Skins, Hank McCoy/Beast in X-Men, Nux in Mad Max: Fury Road, Jerry Salinger in Rebel in the Rye, or J.R.R. Tolkien in Tolkien. Be sure to bookmark us and check back daily for all the latest updates on Nicholas!

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admin | Mar 21, 2022

Nicholas Hoult On How Holding Back Can Sometimes Propel You Forward

After finding global fame with 2002’s About A Boy, Nicholas Hoult decided not to pursue acting.

However, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Friend of the Brand came back, garnering a string of successes in a career that has become emblematic of how we sometimes need to hold back to propel forward. Discovered at age three by a theatre director when he tagged along with his siblings in the theatre circuit, Nicholas Hoult would later shoot to international fame with his stellar turn as the oddball son of a suicidal hippy mother in 2002ʼs About a Boy.

Three years later though, during a stint at the Sylvia Young Theatre School in London, Hoult decided he did not want to pursue a career in acting, but merely dabble in it as a hobby while he pursued more traditional academics. Yet fame called on him again. He was nominated for Best Actor for his role in the television teen drama Skins.

THE TURNING POINT

Feeling overwhelmed by the attention, Hoult almost retreated, but ultimately decided to take the plunge. It is said that child actors don’t usually go on to become successful adult actors, but Hoult would find his first role as an adult actor in Tom Ford’s 2009 directorial debut A Single Man.

The film earned Hoult a nomination for the BAFTA Rising Star Award, and the English actor has remained on an upward trajectory since. He has well and truly established himself with a slew of iconic roles, most notably as mutant superhero Hank McCoy, aka Beast, in the X-Men franchise.

In 2021, he played Peter III in Huluʼs original series The Great, a role which has earned him a Golden Globe nomination in the category of Best Television Actor in Musical/Comedy Series for two consecutive years. That same year, coinciding with 90 years of Reverso, JaegerLeCoultre released The Turning Point, a short film in collaboration with Hoult.

Filmed in Switzerland by French director-cinematographer Théo Gottlieb, it is a beautiful reflection on life’s turning points and a mirror of Hoult’s own journey. AugustMan caught up with the actor-philanthropist in an exclusive interview to talk about those pivotal moments that determine whether we remain as we are, or change gears to go further.

You are now officially a Jaeger Le-Coultre Friend of the Brand. Can you tell us the backstory to that, please? And what would you like people to know about brand ambassadors? Some people think it’s merely lending your face and fame to a product, but there is more to it, isn’t there?

I am fortunate. I got to know Jaeger Le-Coultre when it was sponsoring the Venice Film Festival. It developed quite organically from there. A few films that I was really proud to be in were premiering at the festival, and Jaeger-LeCoultre loaned me watches to wear on the red carpet.

These moments then became where my work life intertwined with JLC, and the brand became a part of my memories. That initial interaction prompted me to discover more about the watches ‒ they opened me up to the world of JLC and I became fascinated by the brand and what it represents.

When I had the chance to visit the manufacture, I felt lucky to get more of an insight into how these beautiful watches are made, the brand’s rich history, and along with all that the artistry, design and engineering… everything. It sparked a passion because I was intrigued, and that intersection of milestone moments kind of all just synced up perfectly.

You transitioned from child to adult roles without being plagued with the curse of early celebrity and privilege. What would you say was your turning point?

I’m pretty fortunate to have managed to play a vast array of characters in varied genres, and on TV, and have had a lot of fun doing it. About a Boy was a big turning point, and the fun thing about this career is that we’re constantly going through many turning points with the many different potential career paths.

Each audition you do, each part you play, can result in a completely different path. And that’s something fascinating because for each role you get, there can potentially be 20 roles or duties you didn’t get, so it does feel momentous when you do. And from that little bit of success you can create a good character that people enjoy and that can snowball to create other new opportunities.

It’s fun because you can really plot a graph of where things happened and changed and that’s why I really connected the short film, to me, it feels like it’s centred around a certain audition moment, but it’s also very much about the culmination of what can become. I think, with acting, there’s always the hope that each character you play becomes more imbued with the history and self because of the experiences you have as you grow and change as a person. So it’s exciting just to see where that that kind of leads and how you then progress because of those things.

You speak of inner courage in the short and it reminded me of how, in primary school, little kids can be pretty mean bastards. So here you are, newly famous for a role where you were dressed in funny sweaters and awkward beanies, did that make school difficult for you and was that the reason you didn’t wish to pursue acting initially?

Not wanting to pursue acting as a profession initially was a little bit of self-protection I think. As you know, everyone loves to talk about the fact that child actors don’t often succeed as adult actors and there are many real life examples where things have gone horrendously wrong. So obviously, you’re aware of that, and if you’ve got any kind of good sense, you kind of protect yourself from that potential outcome.

I think it was a little bit of that and also, anytime when you’re standing out or being different, it’s also really tricky and it’s not normally what you’d want to do as a kid. I think I was fortunate that I went to very nice schools and had good people around me, but I also tried to very much keep my professional life and my childhood separate and I think my parents did a very good job of defining what it means to be a kid and grow up as normal as possible. This is also what draws me to the Reverso somehow. It’s a great metaphor for two faces: your professional one and your personal one ‒ presenting different aspects of who you are as a person and what your life is I suppose.

Pierce Brosnan once told me that he considers his attractiveness a hindrance to how he ultimately evolved as an actor. A film critic once described your role as a Zombie love interest in Warm Bodies as “charm personified”. So do you feel your attractiveness has helped or hindered you in your growth as an actor?

[Guffaws] Charm personified? That’s funny, it’s really difficult to say, isn’t it? It’s just my face and it’s difficult to say because whether you embody a character isn’t necessarily anything to do with appearance but whether you can make it believable or not.

At times, I think that the fun of acting is trying to disappear and not be recognisable and whether that’s getting rid of your accent or your mannerisms or wearing a completely different prosthetic makeup or shaving your head or whatever it might be, that’s always just the craft and I think anything else put on top of it is other people’s opinions. Is that good or bad? Well, it is just what it is.

What do you consider your greatest role? Nux in Fury Road? The Beast in X-Men: First Class? Or Peter III in The Great?

I don’t know. I think I’ve been fortunate to play all of those characters and what makes me proud of all of them is that they’re very different. Obviously with Peter, the wonderful thing about it is that I’ve got to play him for two seasons, especially when I’ve never played a character for more than 20 hours on screen or, you know, a year of life as opposed to six months it normally takes to shoot one of those series.

So it’s fun with that because you get to play so many different aspects of the character. With film work, you have a condensed period of time to play the character so there’s less room to explore. But if I look back, I’m very proud of the Tom Ford film, it’s a really beautiful film with brilliant performances from Colin (Firth) and the whole cast, really. There’s just so many things that I think, for me as an actor, is like trying to make a big tapestry over the course of a career as opposed to merely individual roles. I suppose when look back, I want to go: “Wow. What an eclectic mix.”

Do you prefer the movie or the serialised episodic format?

As a purist, I love watching a movie, and going to the cinema, and that shared experience, and what a film can do. But now I also love watching series. I never used to. I think it has a lot to do with the great writing and storytelling that is now happening on streaming channels.

With serials, there is more time to explore and spend with the characters and so you can get a better sense of them in the world that you’re entering.

As an actor, you have a body of work that is everlasting as long as the themes are still culturally relevant. Why did you choose the Reverso for your own out of all the watches that Jaeger-LeCoultre has in its repertoire?

I love the Reverso. Itʼs got a wonderful history to it. And on the design alone, I simply love the aesthetics. From how I look wearing it, to how it feels, I love that you can kind of wear it during the day, but also, when you have to put on a suit or tuxedo and go out for a special event. It works in any scenario in a really subtle but a wonderful way.

Then there’s also the duality of it I suppose, when traveling, you can always feel connected and closer to home, this watch that I’m wearing at the moment has got an engraving of my son’s initials. So it’s kind of those really personal things, whether it’s that or an enamel painting that you’ve had done on it, it feels like there’s a secret personal element to the watch, which is yours and your alone, particularly nowadays when things so public in terms of what’s shared with the world.

It is kind of nice to feel like something that is yours and that is close to you can be carried around with you ‒ a piece of privacy. [Source]






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THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD
Nicholas as Patrick
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A teenage murder witness finds himself pursued by twin assassins in the Montana wilderness with a survival expert tasked with protecting him -- and a forest fire threatening to consume them all.

THE GREAT - SEASON 2
Nicholas as Peter
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A royal woman living in rural Russia during the 18th century is forced to choose between her own personal happiness and the future of Russia, when she marries an Emperor.

THE MENU
Nicholas as Tyler
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A young couple travel to a remote island to eat at an exclusive restaurant where the chef has prepared a lavish menu, with some shocking surprises.

RENFIELD
Nicholas as Renfield
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Dracula's henchman and inmate at the lunatic asylum.
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