For those of us that have seen the near-cryptic trailers for DreamWorks’ new flick I Am Number Four, a little feeling of uncertainty sets in for anyone who hasn’t read the novel the film is based on, the first in a proposed series of six. From what we can tell, John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) is an outsider with a secret bigger than himself. As he moves from town to town, changing his identity each time, he finally settles in with the sought-after and beautiful Sarah (Dianna Agron), only to see their relationship tested to the fullest by his past and present demons.
John is one of six unique individuals who has something to hide — but the first three have already been killed. I Am Number Four is a story of lies, deception and secrets. Fortunately, the young actors in the film align with nothing of the sort, and opened up about their chemistry, what it was like to work with big timers like Transformers producer Michael Bay, and how each is dealing with their newly booming careers.
While none of the actors were familiar on a friendly level with each other before beginning filming I Am Number Four, their camaraderie came easy and strengthened quickly.
“I know people say that in interviews, but it really does become like a family. You live with these people for three to four months and you spend [24 hours each day, seven days each week] with them,” explained Alex Pettyfer, who plays John.
Dianna Agron, of FOX’s mega- hit show Glee, plays Sarah, and fanned the flame of a rumored romance with Pettyfer.
“He is a wonderful, wonderful guy. He’s very smart and very passionate about this film, and I think it shows with his work,” she said. “[His passion made it] so much easier to work with him because he was there and present. We had a good load of fun laughing [along with] silly moments.”
When asked if she prefers the small screen or her recent appearances in feature films (she was also in Burlesque), she explained that they could not be more different, but also could not be more wonderful.
“When I do work on the show, it can be very fast-paced because we only have about eight days per episode. You trust that you know the character and the work so well, that sometimes when you might not have the most time to study it that you are still on the right track,” she said.
A film, however, is not so easy.
“[When] you’re working on a film, you know the beginning, middle and end and you can really sink into it,” Agron said.
The young actress also touched on popularity and high school, a common theme in much of her acting repertoire.
“I was a well-liked kid because I was nice to the people, and I didn’t particularly lie in one type of group or clique,” she said. “In some ways, you could say that that might be a popular kid, but it didn’t feel that way that it’s depicted in movies. It wasn’t like I was walking down hallways cool, strutting my stuff in some high heels with a light shining on me.”
In the film, most characters are the complete opposite of Agron in real life: They are outsiders.
Callan McAuliffe, who plays Sam, explained his role.
“[Sam is] that kid that gets picked on a lot by the cool or the more popular kids at school but because both he and John are outsiders in different respects they both bond [over their differences with others],” he said.
None of the actors were exceptions when it came to being a little star-struck by D.J. Caruso (Eagle Eye, Disturbia) and Michael Bay, who produced all three Transformers films.
“I idolize Michael Bay and I idolize D.J. I love the work that they have done and I have grown up with it. To be a part of the creation of the movies that they make was such a big honor for me,” Pettyfer explained.
For standing fans of the novel by Pittacus Lore that I Am Number Four is based on, more from the series may hit the big screen.
“If we’re fortunate enough to have some success, I know that is something everyone’s been talking about. We’d love to follow it up,” director D.J. Caruso said of the second novel, The Power of Six.
“[It works because] there are six remaining and Number Four and Number Six end up teaming up together. So from a literary standpoint, there is definitely more planned,” Caruso said.
I Am Number Four opens nationwide on Friday, Feb. 18.