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nicholas hoult
07. Oct 2005 at 06:47
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Edinburgh reports: 'there's more to life than acting'
(Filed: 16/08/2005)

After the success of 'About a Boy', Nicholas Hoult managed to avoid the pitfalls of child stardom. Judith Woods meets him

Child stars. Who'd be one? Trapped for ever in the refractive amber of your first major role. Destined to fritter away your formative years yo-yoing between location shoots and teeny rehab, or, worse, to crŤche and burn, all washed up at 13.

Drew Barrymore shot to fame aged seven in ET. She hit the bottle before she hit puberty and by 10 she would wake up in the morning and wish she were dead. Macaulay Culkin, the baby-faced 10-year-old Home Alone actor, is now 24 and still not taken seriously as an adult, despite two divorces (although, admittedly, one was from his parents).

Billy Elliot - see, I can't even remember his real name - might be 19 and playing a gun-obsessed teenage misfit in some edgy arthouse American movie, but, mark my words, those demi-pliťs will haunt him for the rest of his days.

What could the future possibly hold then, for About a Boy star Nicholas Hoult, the dorky 12-year-old with the worst pudding bowl haircut in the history of cinema? Playing oddball Marcus, he was the perfect foil to Hugh Grant's feckless but likeable kidult, with his excruciating gaucheness and vaguely satanic Denis Healey eyebrows.

As I cast my eye round the trendy Covent Garden boutique hotel where we have arranged to meet, to talk about his latest film, I see no sign of Hoult, who, by my reckoning, must be all of 15 by now. I peer round a doorway, scanning the horizon for a moon-faced adolescent in school uniform and oversized Clark's.

Instead, a handsome youth stands up, towering over me by a full foot. Dressed in Levi's and Nikes, with trendily messy hair and a broad smile, Hoult, rather spookily, appears to have metamorphosed into Hugh Grant. And if I'm not mistaken he has - yes, hurrah! - taken the clippers to his Vulcan brows.

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Hoult plays the young Richard E Grant in the actor's directorial debut, the autobiographical Wah-Wah
(You need to Login or Register to view media files and links) - an account of his extraordinary childhood spent in Swaziland. A stellar British cast includes Richard E. Grant himself, Gabriel Byrne, Miranda Richardson and Julie Walters.

"Richard wanted me to play him aged 11 and 15, but as soon as he saw how tall I'd grown - I'm six foot two - he had a rethink and cast another boy  [zac fox?]

(You need to Login or Register to view media files and links)as his younger self," says Hoult.

Hoult spent seven weeks last summer filming in Africa and struck up a particular friendship with Byrne, who played his father.

"Gabriel and I were always getting the giggles, but he was really scary when he was in character," says Hoult, "drunk and screaming and shouting at me. At one point, he held a gun to my head and I could feel my heart racing. Then, afterwards, he'd just be fun Gabriel again, having a laugh."

Watches are something of a leitmotif in Wah-Wah. Grant is seen wearing two watches, one given to him by his wife, the other by his father. At the end of filming, Byrne gave one of his own watches to Hoult, engraved "To Nicholas, with love, Gabriel".

"Gabriel told me he'd bought the watch for his ex-girlfriend, but she didn't like it. She said that one day he'd find the right person to give it to, and he said that person was me," says Hoult.

"I was very touched he chose me. Maybe I'll pass it on to another young actor when I'm older."

It's not difficult to understand why Byrne was charmed by Hoult. Despite his early success and the first class jetsetting to New York, Tokyo and Madrid to promote About A Boy, Hoult is likeable, open and remains free of affectation - even of the nonchalant posturing typical of most teenage boys.

When he mentions that Hugh Grant and he exchanged e-mail addresses, I ask whether he has e-mailed the Hollywood A-lister.

"Yes, I've mailed him a few times," says Hoult.

And did he reply? Hoult looks genuinely puzzled. "Of course he replied. Why wouldn't he?" I feel like an old cynic.

Hoult lives with his parents, Roger, an airline pilot and Glenis, a part-time piano teacher, in Winnersh, Berkshire. Despite having no family connection to showbusiness, all three of his siblings, older and younger, are involved in performing, much to their parents' bafflement. Glenis travels with her son on location, but, as today, maintains a discreet distance.

The eldest Hoult, James, is 27 and doing theatre in San Francisco. Rosie, 20, is studying performance art in London, and his youngest sister, 12-year-old Clarista, has appeared in television series including Midsomer Murders.

Hoult was discovered at the age of three, by a theatre director. He was watching a play with such rapt attention that the director came up afterwards and announced that any child who could concentrate for so long on a play should be in one.

At the age of five, he appeared in Intimate Relations, with Julie Walters and Rupert Graves. His subsequent acting credits include Holby City, The Bill and Murder in Mind, and he attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School.

Hoult says he had no difficulties coming back to earth after About A Boy and his first tantalising taste of fame. His parents banked his earnings for him and, after intensive lobbying, bought him a bike.

"My experience in About a Boy probably did change me, but you change so much between 11 and 15 that's it's hard to know what had an effect on me directly," says Hoult.

"There was definitely some of me in Marcus - apart from the haircut. Definitely not the haircut. But, like him, I was quite withdrawn, and acting helped me come out of my shell."

He no longer goes to Sylvia Young, but attends his local comprehensive in Wokingham. "I've seen kids who only care about performing; it's their life and it's all they have, and it's not a nice thing to see. It's unhealthy and if you're surrounded by showbusiness, that's what can happen to you," he says.

"Acting is great but there's more to me than that. I play for the Reading Rockets basketball team, I've got school, I hang out with my friends. Acting and what not is an aspect of my life, but just one aspect."

Just before his stint in Swaziland on the Wah-Wah set, he spent three months in Chicago, filming The Weatherman, a comedy drama with Nicholas Cage. Hoult was given the role of Cage's son.

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"It's always a bit overwhelming when you arrive on set and everyone's new, but you soon become a big family. I find the hardest thing about acting is that you have to say goodbye to everyone at the end of a shoot," says Hoult.

"My mother remembers that after I filmed a Ruth Rendell mystery when I was about six or seven, I cried inconsolably for a day afterwards, because it was all over. I still feel very sad when things end, but I know that I'll probably meet up with people again at some point."

Working with Cage was, says Hoult, an education. He describes Michael Caine, who also appears, as a "really nice bloke, with time for everyone". Cage, was "very intense" and "so in the zone", he was less immediately approachable.

"But I learned so much from just watching him act. It was incredible to see what he could do even when he was barely moving a muscle."

For now, Hoult, who has a new girlfriend, is concentrating on studying for his GCSEs. Because he is under 16, a tutor accompanies him on location and he is given three hours of lessons a day.

"It doesn't sound much, but because it's one to one, you get an awful lot more done than in class," he says. "I'm not stupid, but I've never been interested in school enough to be really good at anything.

"In Swaziland, my tutor taught me to drive in a 4x4 pick-up truck. It was amazing, we were in a nature reserve and I ended up having to reverse out of a herd of rhino, which was quite scary, but they didn't seem too bothered. I may have missed out on my education a bit, but I'm learning a lot about life."

When I ask about the downside of relative fame, he immediately responds: money. "I'm constantly asked about how much I earn," he says, with well-bred exasperation. "Don't they realise it's not polite? It's just not the sort of question people ask each other and just because I act or I'm young or whatever, doesn't mean they can be rude."

I can't imagine Hoult being rude to anyone, apart perhaps from on-screen. Thanks to his gain in height, his loss of puppy fat and the presence of mind to tame the eyebrows (I suspect it was down to Glenis) he seems perfectly placed to buck the child star trend and reinvent himself.

"I hope I can keep on acting and earning my living this way, but I'll take things as they come," he says. "I think in acting you need ability, but you also need to have the right personality not to take it all too personally.

"The worst-case scenario would probably be if I never got any work again, but I'm an optimistic sort of person. I don't really do worst-case scenarios."


nicholas's latest movie :
Kidulthood (2005)

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Re: nicholas hoult
Reply #1 - 25. Oct 2005 at 06:22
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from the london evening standard fashion magazine - sept.

photographs by alan scrymgeour

styled by james sleaford

assisted by david nolan

grooming by craig taylor.
-----------
nicholas hoult, the pudding-bowl-headed pre-teen still slouches, although at a new-found height of 6ft 2in he can afford to.

"i suppose i had a growth spurt", he says.

nicholas, brought up in wokingham where he still lives, will be 16 in december.

and despite a burgeoning acting portfolio, this is his first modelling shoot...

...some cute child stars `go off`. this gawky child actor has done just the opposite. watch this space and lock up your teenage daughters.


nicholas models expensive clothes :

military coat £800 - dirk schonberger

rollneck £250 y's yohji yamamoto

trousers £200 aquascutum
***
jacket £500  sweatshirt £200

trousers £200

all at aquascutum
***
and other similar upmarket, expensive clothes

he looks rather `gay` - although that might be the way the photographer wants to portray him.
  
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Re: nicholas hoult
Reply #2 - 25. Oct 2005 at 06:59
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Thanks apple...an interesting read.
  
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Re: nicholas hoult
Reply #3 - 06. Jun 2006 at 04:35
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Nicholas Hoult

Consenting Kidults

You may recognise him as Hugh Grantís ankle-biting sidekick in About A Boy Ė but now heís morphed into a fine specimen of Brit acting talent we say itís time to hail a shooting star.


Have you ever feared falling into the pit of failed child stardom?

Not really, itís just luck. You can do really well or you can have a dry patch for a bit. People remember me from About A Boy, but that was five years ago and Iíve changed a lot since then, Iíve grown up. Iím a different person basically.

I heard Sylvia Young wasnít too happy when you switched agency at the time of About A Boy.

It was after About A Boy. I was with them but then I got approached by ICM. It was quite weird going to a theatre school because you were around acting and performing the whole time and I think itís quite good to be away from it and have a normal life apart from it because it can be quite overwhelming
at times.

To what extent have you been free to make your own choices so far?

There havenít been any major bust-ups between anybody about what I do and what I donít do. Some people may not have liked Kidulthood, but the people that I know that read it thought it was a great script. It was beautifully written. It is quite hard-hitting, but that is pretty much how it is. Itís not like that just to try and get attention Ė itís trying to help. There wasnít a split decision whether to do it or not.

Does working with such acclaimed actors and filmmakers ever phase you?

Itís quite worrying occasionally, but itís exciting at the same time. Itís an honour and you do have to pinch yourself occasionally, but at the same time, youíre there to do a job and the second you start acting youíre a character and theyíre a character and theyíre not this big star or whatever.

And if it werenít acting, what would it be?

Iíd like to become a basketball player, but I donít have the patience and I donít practice enough. I couldnít work in an office nine to five Ďcos Iíd get too bored. I need to be out an about, just doing different things.

How do you feel about the prospect of About A Boy becoming one of those Christmas classics and a 12-year old you knocking about on TV screens every year?

Everybody I meet whoís seen it really likes it and itís nice that people like it. Itís better that it goes on every Christmas and that people watch it than it getting put to the back of a DVD cupboard and nobody watches it. Itís a film you can watch over and over again.

Kidulthood is out now on DVD


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Re: nicholas hoult
Reply #4 - 07. Jun 2006 at 05:37
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from the daily express :

...the teen actor is still not sure whether he will get the top grade for his GCSE drama exams this summer.

"i got 28 out of 30 for my performance recently which i'm not overly happy about", confided hoult - who is now a strapping 6ft 3in at the premiere of his new film...

"i do hope to get an A though".

alas, his A-levels will not include acting.

"i can't do drama A-level at my school so i'm doing subjects like biology and history instead", he adds.
.

GCSE is the set of school exams school-age pupils take at around 15.

`A-level` are taken at around 17/18 and are usually needed to enter tertiary education.

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Re: nicholas hoult
Reply #5 - 14. Aug 2012 at 15:32
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Smiley I saw Nicholas in part of Marcus in [i]About a Boy[i] some days ago. He is a very good play !

  
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