Movie Talk

Theo James to Star in ‘Divergent’: Five Things to Know About Him

Movie Talk

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For a guy who only earned his first television role in 2010, things are going pretty darn well for Theo James. In 2011, the handsome British actor landed a plum role on the UK TV series "Bedlam," and then booked a major part as David in 2012's "Underworld: Awakening." Now he's playing the lead on the new police series "Golden Boy," and has just been announced to star as Four in the upcoming futuristic adventure "Divergent," based on the best-selling novel by Veronica Roth. So he's good looking, he's charming, and his career is going great guns. But what else do you need know about Theo James? Here are a few facts you might find interesting about this rising star.

He's Philosophically Minded: James attended the University of Nottingham, where he earned an undergraduate degree in philosophy. (It may have had something to do with his heritage; his paternal grandfather is Greek, and Theo's real surname is Taptiklis.) However, it seems James was just practical enough to realize he should find another career to fall back on, so he went on to study at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. James did well enough there that he was already working in major feature films such as "Red Tails" (produced by George Lucas) before completing his studies at Old Vic.

He's Also An Aspiring Rock Star: When not busy acting, James is also a member of the London-based band Shere Khan. Describing their music as a mixture of dance music, indie rock and punk, Shere Khan features James on lead vocals and guitar, alongside guitarist Will Earl, bassist Joi Sharratt, and drummer Sam Sweeney. They haven't scored a record deal yet (though with a handsome movie star on vocals, that not outside the realm of possibility), but you can hear what they've been doing on their MySpace and Soundcloud pages.

He's Landed Some Pretty Classy Gigs: Most actors spend years wishing that Woody Allen would cast them in a movie, and many even work for reduced fees given the juicy roles he offers. But James already has a credit with Allen under his belt, having played Ray in 2010's "You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger." (OK, it wasn't a very big role, but working with The Woodman is never a bad thing to have on your resume.) And if you're hooked on "Downton Abbey" (or someone you know is), you may remember James as Kemal Pemuk, a dishy Turkish diplomat who caught Lady Mary Crawley's eye in an episode from the first season. (Though things did not end well between them.)

He's An Environmentalist: In an interview promoting "Golden Boy," James showed off his green side, declaring "I try to use public transport, always. My obsession is plastic packaging. It makes me sick, all the waste. Everything about it disappoints me." And while you might think the leading man would have more of a say about such things, James wishes the team at "Golden Boy" would do a bit more for Mother Earth. " They do try and make an effort, but there is a lot of plastic packaging and forks and paper cups," James said. So if you want to get on his good side, forget sending a limo – roll up in your Prius instead.

Playing A Guy Named Four May Not Be Such A Great Career Movie: James might want to sit down for a chat with Alex Pettyfer, another British born hunk who was supposed to make his American film breakthrough playing John Smith, the title character in the sci-fi thriller "I Am Number Four," based on a popular young adult novel. That movie tanked at the box office, as did Pettyfer's next picture, the curious romantic fantasy "Beastly." Just because you're playing a character named Four in a pre-sold sci-fi commodity doesn't meant good luck is smiling on you, so Pettyfer could certainly offer James some useful advice, especially since he was in talks to star in "Divergent" at one point before James got the nod. (Though Pettyfer has gone on to use his looks to his advantage in "Magic Mike" and "In Time").

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