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PEOPLE About a man ACTOR

PEOPLE About a man ACTOR NICHOLAS HOULT HAS COME A LONG WAY SINCE HIS BREAKTHROUGH ROLE AS A CUTE 11-YEAR OLD IN ABOUT A BOY WITH HUGH GRANT... WORDS: Guy Bird PHOTOGRAPHY: Alister Thorpe Still only 24 and rapidly rising up the Hollywood ranks with two turns in X-Men and more, he also stars as the boffin in Jaguar’s next advert, but took time out to talk exclusively with J-Magazine about toy cars, classic movies and going undercover at Comic Con The It’s Good to be Bad Jaguar advert riffs on the idea of the English film villain, but do you think there is an English film boffin tradition too? There’s certainly a tradition within the James Bond movies with Q – it’s one of the things I specifically reference in the character I play in the next Jaguar advert – but it’s also there in films like Mission Impossible III with Simon Pegg and Star Trek too. You always see a Brit popping up in a Hollywood film somewhere, normally explaining some technical stuff and then cracking a funny joke. They’re fun characters to play. Where did you shoot the advert? We did the main ad on the James Bond stage at Pinewood Studios and I got to drive the F-TYPE, XJ and XF which was really fun. Then we were at the Gaydon testing facility in the temperature control centre – where it can go up to 50 ºC and down to minus 30 ºC – and then we went to the crash-testing zone to smash up an F-TYPE, which I was a bit sad about to be honest. You weren’t in the F-TYPE at the time I take it? No, I’ve done a bit of film driving lately but had enough close calls to be happy to be not around that sort of activity. Did you get to do any vehicular stunts in your upcoming film Autobahn? Yes, we used a closed-off bit of German autobahn and the stunt team took me out in some old bangers to crash into each other. It was exciting as a lot of times on bigger films they don’t let actors get ‘in and amongst it’ for insurance reasons, but I was jumping Citroen C5s and doing more than I would normally be allowed to do. Nice specimen: Nicholas Hoult gets ready to play the boffin in Jaguar’s latest advert You seem genuinely into cars. What was your first awareness of them as a child? Toy cars were my thing as a kid, I had a collection of about 30 and would pitch my favourites against each other. I had Top Trumps playing cards – two of my favourites were the McLaren F1 and the Jaguar XJ220 – and remote-controlled cars too. I was obsessed with cars. When did you pass your driving test and what was your first car? I took my test the first moment I could [in the UK], the second I turned 17. My first car was a red Fiat Grande Punto with a 1.4-litre engine. [Then he deadpans] …it was absolute mayhem. 62 j THE PERFORMANCE ISSUE

Have you had any great driving experiences lately? I recently got a Ducati 899 motorbike, but the best driving experience I’ve had lately was a pillion ride at Ron Haslam’s Race School at Donington [in the English Midlands]. It was the most terrifying experience of my life but also possibly one of the most thrilling. Jaguar took me to Finland to drive on frozen lakes in F-TYPEs and that was incredible too. Further back, I have good memories of my mum driving up and down the M4 motorway from my home near Reading to London in our Land Rover Discovery to take me to auditions. I think that car did 200,000-plus miles in the end. I’d go straight from school and sleep on the way back. Any bad driving habits? Riding a bike makes you more conscious of everything around you and makes you realise how dangerous you can be in a car. My worst driving habit is probably fiddling with the radio, trying to find music. What’s on your car stereo? I listen to a mixture now but growing up it was always Queen...Don’t Stop Me Now [he laughs]. I remember commuting for a few weeks and the only CD we had was by Bruno Mars and the radio didn’t work. I know that whole album now. What driving habit do you most dislike in others? People who do things that are inappropriate for driving, like reading a book, doing paperwork or putting on make-up. I’m like ‘Err, come on, couldn’t that wait five minutes?’ What advice would you give to a child actor just starting out in the film world? The most important thing is – if you enjoy it – to do it, but also to make sure you have a normal life in amongst it, as you need enough of a normal life to base your acting on too. If you only spend time in the film world as a kid it clouds your judgement. I stayed in school until 17 because I was aware child actors often didn’t progress into working as adult actors. I didn’t have a specific job in mind, but tried to do well in school, just in case. IF YOU ONLY SPEND TIME IN THE FILM WORLD AS A KID IT CLOUDS YOUR JUDGEMENT. I STAYED IN SCHOOL UNTIL 17 AS I WAS AWARE CHILD ACTORS OFTEN DIDN’T PROGRESS Through your X-Men film roles have you been to any comic conventions where fans dress as their heroes? I went to Comic Con San Diego last year. It was mad. I’ve never seen so many fans in one place who care so much about the stories and characters. Me and [fellow X-Men star] James McAvoy put on weird breathing masks so we could walk around the main hall and not get recognised. We got away with it too! Your job takes you around the world. Where’s home? North-west London. When not working, what’s your idea of a great day out? Maybe play golf or go-kart. It would probably also involve the pub if it’s sunny and then go up onto the roof of my place …and sleep a little a bit. Any acting role models? Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and Jack Nicholson from the older generation and from the one just ahead of me, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Tom Hardy. Having worked with some of them it’s interesting to see the different personas off-screen and on set, and how it all comes together. Do you watch a lot of films to improve your craft? I do watch a fair few, normally films with a similar tone or character, so you can see what worked and what didn’t. It was useful when filming Autobahn to watch classic car films like Bullitt and Vanishing Point. Can you recommend any recent films you’ve watched for our readers? True Romance and also Rust and Bone. The latter’s a French film with subtitles and is beautifully shot. Finally, what’s your favourite Jaguar of past or present? I was blown way by the Project 7 car. I’d like someone to let me have a go in one of those at some point. I’m sure if you ask nicely... [He chuckles] Maybe… THE PERFORMANCE ISSUE j 63

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Jaguar Magazine celebrates creativity in all its forms, with exclusive features that inspire sensory excitement, from beautiful design to cutting-edge technology.

In this issue, we explore the art of creativity from the Brazilian masters who devised the graceful art of Capoeira, to the Irish artists mixing new culture with old. You will also discover the creative line that links Victorian wallpaper to the iPhone. While the multi-talented actor and performer, Riz Ahmed, explains why it is the right time to reveal his true self to the world.


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