Theo James gets real about acting, Sydney and the power of scent
That is, if you don't count his publicist, who flits in and out a few times - to check, I can only assume, that I haven't flung myself at the 31-year-old Divergent star. He's rightfully cautious - in person, Theo James is every bit as charming as he appears on screen. If there were awards for British accents, his would win, but for now, he has to make do with the numerous other accolades his talent and good looks afford him.
We meet in New York for the launch of Boss The Scent for Her, for which James has reprised his role as the German luxury house's ambassador. This time, he's sharing the spotlight with German-born beauty Anna Ewers, and their chemistry is palpable (watch the campaign film below). Read on to see what he has to say about acting, Anna and his secret Sydney gap year - Theo, you're welcome back any time.
Do you remember the first scent you ever wore?
It was called Red Mist or something really cheesy like that, but I did have a Boss bottle which I actually lost in Sydney on my gap year.
You took a gap year in Sydney?
Yeah, Sydney was one of the stops, and I worked in a couple of hostels.
What did you think of it?
I liked it. I've been quite a lot recently because my brother now lives there but I had a good time. I was really broke so I had to do a lot of odd jobs - I worked for a hostel cleaning, I did deliveries and I did a random thing for KFC.
Do you wear fragrance often?
Just for special occasions. I think if I wore it every day it could be a bit overpowering. I wear it for events with a suit, you know, you put your cuff links on, a bit of fragrance and I think it finishes the outfit off nicely.
What kind of perfume do you like on a woman?
It's very hard to identify what it is, but I like something that isn't overpowering because the best fragrances, especially for women, are the ones that work with the person's skin so you can also smell them. I don't like too sweet. Subtle is good.
The campaign is quite provocative... what's it like filming something so intense?
It's not the worst job in the world! But there's something a little bit odd about the fact that you meet someone and 20 minutes later you're kind of... you block it out and once you've done that first moment where you're very intimate with each other, it dispels the awkwardness and you relax.
What's it like working with Anna Ewers?
She's very sweet, beautiful obviously and she's not a diva or anything so it was totally fine. She was up for - the thing with filming a campaign shoot - you have to be up for trying things because you have a day to shoot it and you have to try and shoot as much as possible and some of it will be used and some of it will work and some of it won't. She's very open to that.
Do you spend much time on your grooming routine?
I don't have a massive routine to be honest but I use this stuff called REN Multi-Tasking After Shave balm. And a bit of beard oil is good.
How did you prepare physically for the Divergent franchise?
It's about putting weight on quite quickly so you have to do lots of heavy weights and low reps, but I find boxing fun because it's a skill and you can get better at it. It's a bit less boring. I also work with an ex-American football player and we do explosive power stuff which helps with your fast twitch fibres for speed.
What kind of film roles are you looking for now?
I think I'm done with that [action movies] for a bit. Now is a time when I should and I am doing things that are smaller and a little more intimate and a little bit more narrative-driven. Being my age - I'm not 22 - I'm a old 31-year-old so I want to do something different from now on.
What would you be doing if you weren't an actor?
In a completely different life I always wanted to be a policeman.
Has your philosophy degree had an impact on your work?
Philosophy, it doesn't directly affect people but I think it gives me half a brain. What's good about it is that it makes you question everything. Not necessarily in a negative way but if someone has an opinion on something, you ask them why and what it's based on. It's not combative or dogmatic or believing deeply in being atheist, for example, it's the ability to analyse an argument and see both sides of it, which is helpful.
Buro 24/7 Selection
Buro 24/7 Selection