Forget vampires. All the teens are going to start swooning over aliens. That is, if the aliens look like Alex Pettyfer. The character he plays in I Am Number Four, which opens Friday, may have some freaky scars on his body and hands that glow when he’s upset, but all in all, “John Smith’’ is one smoldering hunk. Fully intentional.
“He was a lonely character, and I wanted him to have that vulnerability,’’ said the 20-year-old Brit, who was at the Shore Club Hotel recently. “I wanted you to look into his eyes and know what he was thinking. At the same time when anyone else looked into his eyes in the movie they didn’t know what was going on. I needed to [be] a guy who was mysterious but at the same time you could relate to him.’’
To prepare for the role of a superteen from the planet Lorien being hunted by a terrifying gang called the Mogadorians, Pettyfer did his homework, watching sci-fi movies like Close Encounters of the Third Kind as well as sizzling studies like Rebel Without A Cause. “My character goes through this transition from this insecure boy to warrior,’’ says Pettyfer, who is rumored to be engaged to Number Four costar Dianna Agron (Glee). “It was a challenge.’’ Another challenge was getting fit enough to do a back flip on a jet-ski (three weeks of training) while they were filming in the Keys and jump off a waterfall backward (a safety team rigged up wires). “It was all real,’’ affirms the actor, who was previously best known for his star turn in 2006’s Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker. “It was a lot of work and tiring but so enjoyable and an experience I’ll never forget. I didn’t want to jump off that cliff, but I though the audience would appreciate it.’’