In 'Endless Love' with Alex Pettyfer
Actor reveals his sensitive and silly sides in interview with A&E
“Endless Love,” an American romantic drama directed by Shana Feste (“Country Strong,” “The Greatest”) and co-written by Joshua Safran (“Gossip Girl”), is set for a Feb. 14 nationwide release. Starring Alex Pettyfer as David Elliot and Gabriella Wilde as Jade Butterfield, the movie, a remake of Franco Zeffirelli’s 1981 film and an adaptation of Scott Spencer’s novel, is yet another modern take on the tale of star-crossed lovers, with characters swept up in a whirlwind of romance only to face disapproving parents and divisive class boundaries. We sat down with Pettyfer at a virtual roundtable last week along with other participating colleges to ask him about his upcoming project.
Arts & Entertainment: Some people say “Endless Love” is a modern day “Romeo and Juliet.” Do you agree?
Alex Pettyfer: Yes, in the sense that the film revolves around two star-crossed lovers. But it’s more a personal conflict between Jade’s father and David. It’s not as heavy as “Romeo and Juliet.”
AE: Did you watch Zeffirelli’s version of “Endless Love” while preparing for your role?
Pettyfer: Yeah, I watched the original and read the book. The original movie is very different. This remake is more about two people in love who are finding themselves.
AE: Did you see parts of yourself in your character as David?
Pettyfer: Yeah, I’m a hopeless romantic!
AE: Did the director do anything to get you and the rest of cast to bond while making the movie?
Pettyfer: We did a month of rehearsal before the movie. Shana, the director, built this environment where we could really trust each other. Gabriella and I got on very, very well and she was so easy to work with. Hopefully, our chemistry comes across on-screen.
AE: What was it like working with Shana? Gabriella?
Pettyfer: Shana is amazing. She places a huge focus on the characters and where those characters are going in the movie. Gabriella is such a lovely woman and has really made the movie what it is.
AE: Any funny anecdotes from filming you want to share with us?
Pettyfer: I am a huge prankster. I actually tried to stop off at the drugstore this morning. They were shocked because no one in L.A. gets up before 11 o’clock, and it was 7 o’clock in the morning. But I wanted to buy a fart cushion, put it under the press chair and sit here making fart noises.
AE: When on set, is there one thing you have to have with you throughout production? And when are you the happiest on set?
Pettyfer: I’m the happiest at night, on night shoots. I’m a night owl. I stay up all night. And I need my iPod.
AE: Have you ever been starstruck?
Pettyfer: I met Steven Spielberg because he produced “I Am Number Four.” As a lover of film, to be in the presence of Steven Spielberg was incredible. I shook his hand and he said, “Alex, I’m very excited for us to go on this adventure together.” He was pretty incredible.
AE: What has been the most valuable advice given to you as an actor?
Pettyfer: Keep your private life private and focus on your work. Don’t let the two intermix. Create characters for people to watch and love without having them be distracted by who you’re dating or what you’re doing.
AE: What advice would you give to an actor breaking into the industry?
Pettyfer: When I first started out, I dealt with so much rejection. It’s very hard, as any human being, to hear that you’re not good enough or that you’ll never make it. I guess my advice is just to keep your personal integrity. Believe in what you believe in and keep trying. Not in a deluded way — I’m not going to ever win an Oscar. I don’t think I’m an Oscar-worthy actor, but I love making films. Just keep trying at what you love and if that makes you happy, then that’s all that matters.
AE: What are you most excited for the fans to see in this movie?
Pettyfer: I guess just love at its … purest. You know, the naïveté and the feeling that you can conquer the world. I just hope they have a good time. It’s a Valentine’s Day movie. It’s lovely and charming. It’s not a serious movie. It’s there to have fun and to remind us of love.
AE: Speaking of which, any plans for Valentine’s Day?
Pettyfer: Yeah, my mom is going to be my Valentine’s date.