Pettyfer at the Stormbreaker premiere in July 2006
Alexander Richard Pettyfer
10 April 1990
Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England
|Residence||New York City, United States|
Los Angeles, California, United States
|Education||The Mall School, London|
Lambrook Haileybury School, Berkshire
Millfield School, Somerset
Shiplake College, Oxfordshire
|Alma mater||Sylvia Young Theatre School|
|Home town||Windsor, Berkshire|
Alexander Richard Pettyfer (born 10 April 1990) is a British actor and model. He appeared in school plays and on television before being cast as Alex Rider, the main character in the 2006 film version of Stormbreaker. Pettyfer was nominated for a Young Artist Award and an Empire Award for his role.
He has been seen as a model in several advertising campaigns for Burberry and has starred in a number of other films, including I Am Number Four, Beastly, and Magic Mike. He starred as Brody in the Netflix science fiction miniseries The I-Land.
Pettyfer was born in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England, the son of Lee Robinson (married names Pettyfer, Ireland and Young), an actress and Richard Pettyfer, an actor. Both parents met while performing in London's West End in West Side Story, Cats and Miss Saigon. He has a younger half-brother, James Ireland, a professional tennis player and regional coach, from his mother's remarriage to Michael J. Ireland, a retired builder and property developer.
Pettyfer was brought up in Esher and then Windsor, Berkshire and began his career initially being managed by his mother as a child fashion model at the age of seven, for Gap, after meeting Ralph Lauren in a toy store in New York. He also did advertisements for some yogurt brands. His first commercial was at age six.
As a schoolboy, he performed in plays, including in the role of Willy Wonka in a production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Jack in his school play "Jack and the Beanstalk" and Robin Hood in the adaptation of The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). Pettyfer was educated at two junior independent schools: The Mall School, a small school in Twickenham, followed by the Lambrook Haileybury school in Winkfield, Berkshire. He subsequently attended two other independent boarding schools: Millfield School in Street, Somerset and Shiplake College near Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire. Before his GCSEs, he left Shiplake College to attend the independent Sylvia Young Theatre School in London.
In 2005, after a modelling career, Pettyfer made his professional acting début in the British television production of Tom Brown's Schooldays, playing the lead character, Tom Brown; he received positive reviews for the role. In June 2005, he was cast in his most prominent role so far, that of teenage MI6 spy Alex Rider in the film Stormbreaker, based on the novel by Anthony Horowitz. He was one of 500 who auditioned for the role. Pettyfer chose to appear in the film over a role in the film Eragon, noting that he preferred Stormbreaker because it would be filmed in Britain, in the Isle of Man, while Eragon would film in Hungary; Pettyfer has a fear of flying, and he liked the looks of the cast for Stormbreaker. Stormbreaker was released on 21 July 2006 in the United Kingdom, on 6 October 2006 in the United States and on 21 September 2006 in Australia.
One review of Pettyfer's performance described him as playing the role with an "earnest intensity", although another noted that he "isn't quite at ease as an actor". Media reports specified that the film was expected to make Pettyfer a "teen idol". In September 2006, it was reported that Pettyfer would not reprise the role if there was another Alex Rider film because he had become too mature for the role.
He next appeared in Wild Child, a film set in California, Kent and Yorkshire part of which took place at Cobham Hall Girls' School in Kent. He played schoolboy Freddie Kingsley and he co-starred with Emma Roberts. In 2009, he played the callous ringleader of a group of cool but cruel teenagers who are picked off one by one by the ghost of one of their former victims, in the horror-comedy, Tormented.
He starred in the film Beastly, based on the novel by Alex Flinn, alongside Mary-Kate Olsen, Vanessa Hudgens and Neil Patrick Harris. He finished filming on 13 August 2009, and the film was released on 4 March 2011. Pettyfer portrayed the main character in I Am Number Four, released in February 2011. The film co-starred Timothy Olyphant, Dianna Agron and Teresa Palmer, and was directed by D.J. Caruso, produced by Michael Bay and executive produced by Steven Spielberg.
He was offered the part of Jace Wayland in the upcoming portrayal of Cassandra Clare's best selling book, City of Bones. Jamie Campbell Bower was later cast as Jace Wayland. Pettyfer had also been offered a part in an upcoming film adaption of Joseph Delaney's The Wardstone Chronicles, but he declined the role. He was in line to star in The Paperboy, based on the Pete Dexter novel of the same name, but was dropped for the role (filled by Zac Efron). In 2012 he played Adam, a 19-year-old who enters the world of male stripping in Magic Mike.
In 2013, Pettyfer had a small role as Thomas Westfall in The Butler. In 2014, he starred in the romantic drama Endless Love alongside actress Gabriella Wilde, where they play love interests. In 2016, Pettyfer played the role of Jerry Schilling in the biography film Elvis & Nixon alongside Kevin Spacey and Michael Shannon. In 2017, he starred as Nick in the indie thriller The Strange Ones directed by Christopher Radcliff and Lauren Wolkstein. Pettyfer and his producing partner Craig Robinson launched Upturn Productions in 2015 with the intent of securing literary works that could be made into film or television. In 2017, Back Roads, based on the book of the same name by Tawni O'Dell, was their first independent film produced under the Upturn banner. Pettyfer made it his directorial debut and also played the lead role of Harley Altmyer.
In 2018, Pettyfer starred as Stephen Underwood, a journalist who uncovers the horrific murder of 22,000 Poles under Stalin's instructions, in the post–World War II thriller The Last Witness. In the same year, it was announced that Pettyfer had been cast in the main role of Brody on the Netflix science fiction miniseries The I-Land. The miniseries was released on 12 September 2019.
In June 2009, Pettyfer was voted number 35 on British women's magazine Company's list of the top 50 most eligible bachelors. In August 2009, the British magazine Glamour ranked him number 21 on their list of the sexiest men on the planet.
After Pettyfer completed filming Stormbreaker, he did not discuss the film with anyone at his school, citing the advice of his Stormbreaker star Ewan McGregor, who told him to keep his personal and professional lives separate. Pettyfer subsequently decided to leave school without any qualifications and concentrate on his film career, saying that "When you have already experienced going out and working in the real world, and you come back to school, you just see it as a playground and you don't want to be there any more".
Pettyfer was briefly engaged to Elvis Presley's granddaughter, the actress Riley Keough, in 2012. They met on the set of their film, Magic Mike. Pettyfer was also in a short relationship with I Am Number Four co-star Dianna Agron.
Pettyfer has seven tattoos, including a Celtic cross on his chest, Tibetan script on the inside of his right arm, the words "What Goes Around Comes Around" on his right shoulder, a Katakana script on his lower waist, and the letters "ER," the initials of ex-girlfriend Emma Roberts inside interlinking hearts on his right wrist. When Contactmusic asked him about the "ER" tattoo he said "I don't know how to say it, she's a lovely, lovely girl, we had a spell of something that is over now, but we're on good terms. She's beautiful, she's great; we're really good friends." The actor had Roberts' name tattooed on his wrist while the two were dating. "I'm going to get asked about this, aren't I? I thought it was just between me and her," he said when asked about the tattoo.
In a 2011 Vman interview, he stated "I felt like the industry was just a factory. You hear a lot of people say they want to make art in this industry, but so few people actually fucking do it. I was disillusioned by Hollywood at the time, but now I've come to accept that's just the way things are: it's called show business, not show art."
In the same interview, when asked about how he liked living in Los Angeles, he stated, "L.A. is growing on me a little bit, but it's still a shit-hole. I think it's this insidious pool where nearly everyone lives in fear. Geographically it's fantastic: in a half hour, you can be on the beach in one direction, go snowboarding in another, or go out into the desert. But socially it's disgusting. I wish they'd just run all the cunts out."
|2005||Tom Brown's Schooldays||Tom Brown||Television film|
|2008||Wild Child||Freddie Kingsley|
|2011||I Am Number Four||John Smith|
|2013||The Butler||Thomas Westfall|
|2014||Endless Love||David Elliot|
|2016||Elvis & Nixon||Jerry Schilling|
|2017||The Strange Ones||Nick|
|2018||Back Roads||Harley Altmyer|
|2018||The Last Witness||Stephen Underwood|
|2018||Urban Myths||Tony Curtis||Episode: "Marilyn Monroe and Billy Wilder"|
|2019||The I-Land||Brody||Main role|
|2021||Resident Evil||Leon S. Kennedy||Main role|
|2018||Back Roads||Directorial Debut|
- 2008: Burberry – Spring/Summer
- 2008: Burberry – The Beat For Men eau de cologne
- 2009: Burberry – Spring/Summer
Awards and nominations
|2007||Young Artist Awards||Best Performance in an International Feature Film Leading Young Actor or Actress||Stormbreaker||Nominated|
|2007||Empire Award||Best Male Newcomer||Stormbreaker||Nominated|
|2010||ShoWest Award||Male Star of Tomorrow||N/A||Won|
|2011||MTV Movie Awards||Biggest Badass Star||I Am Number Four||Nominated|
|2011||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie: Liplock (shared with Vanessa Hudgens)||Beastly||Nominated|
|2011||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie: Breakout Male||Beastly and I Am Number Four||Won|
|2014||Acapulco Black Film Festival||Best Ensemble Cast||The Butler||Nominated|
|2014||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture||The Butler||Nominated|
|2014||Brasov International Film Festival & Market||Best Lead Actor||Endless Love||Won|
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- "Nominees and Recipients - 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Award - Cast in Motion Picture". SAG. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
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