The new film 'Red Riding Hood' is based on a fairy tale, so it makes sense that its breakout star looks like *this*. Meet Max Irons, Hollywood's next Prince Charming.
Who: Max Irons
Pedigree: The youngest son of Academy Award-winning actor Jeremy Irons (famously dubbed the “thinking woman’s sex symbol”) and Irish actress Sinéad Cusack, Irons was beseeched by both parents to avoid a career in Hollywood. “They immediately said, ‘You will most likely have a life of unhappiness, financial turmoil, jealousy, and paranoia,’ ” says Irons, who studied at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama (Daniel Craig and Ewan McGregor are alums). “But when your parents give advice, your brain goes into a certain mode.”
Model beginnings: In 2006, photographer Mario Testino spotted Irons on the street and booked him in a Burberry campaign alongside Kate Moss. “This big black SUV pulled up and a man got out and said, ‘Hello…I’m Mario, and I’d like you to come meet me for a chat,’ ” Irons recalls, quickly adding, “Listen, I know what it sounds like, but don’t go there.”
The next Edward Cullen? Handpicked by Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke, who launched the careers of brooding heartthrobs Rob Pattinson and Emile Hirsch, Irons nabbed the role of Amanda Seyfried’s wealthy suitor in this month’s Red Riding Hood, a darkly sexy reboot of the beloved fairy tale. “When Max walked in to audition, I remember thinking, Oh, no,” Hardwicke says. “He’s 6'3", drop-dead gorgeous, and has this crazy magnetism.” As for his acting ability? “Like Rob, Max is fearless and physically throws himself into a character. [But] is he capable of evil? Max has a soulful quality where he’s able to channel that.” Just don’t expect any bleary-eyed vamp sulking. “If you try to bring ‘teen drama,’ ” Irons says, “you end up doing nothing but pouting.”
True Brit: Even with impending It Boy status, the London native won’t be decamping to L.A. anytime soon. “I think it’s better to add an element of unavailability,” he says. He counts Johnny Depp as his role model—“because he’s bold and unpredictable and you never see actors like him in the gossip columns”—but has no plans to go Method. “I like to think that at the end of a show,” he says, “you can just take your costume off and go to the pub.”
Red Riding Hood comes out in the US this Friday and I will be seeing it, almost solely for him.