'Divergent' Star Theo James: 'I Quite Like Proper Manhood'

·Senior Editor

Divergent star Theo James is the new star of Boss The Scent (Photo: Hugo Boss)

Theo James likely caught your eye as Tobias “Four” Eaton from the Divergent film series, but the handsome, 30-year-old British actor is expanding his resume as the new face of Hugo Boss’s latest cologne: Boss The Scent ($85). Following in the footsteps of guys like Victor Cruz, Ryan Reynolds, and Gerard Butler, James is a natural as the brand’s new ambassador. We caught up with the actor to talk about the recently wrapped Divergent: Allegiant - Part 1 (debuting on March 18, 2016), his grooming routine, embracing manhood, staying fit, and his personal role models.

Your overall look stays pretty consistent, but you change up your facial hair a lot. How do you decide to shave or grow it — is that based on roles or is that just about your mood?

Or how ginger my face is feeling? [Laughs] Yeah, usually it’s work, but sometimes it’s a reaction to work. I grew it for a film that I did and finished a couple of weeks ago before I started Divergent: Allegiant. In the beginning of the year I grew it as well, because I had just done a film where I kind of had to shave every day for a couple of months, so you kind of feel like you want to become a man again. [Laughs]

You’re 30 years old now. For women, many of us freak out at those milestones. Do you have any qualms about aging?

No, actually. Someone said to me that in your 20s you’re kind of figuring out how to live and in your thirties and onwards you’re kind of living. So I feel like, obviously you’re always learning and the mistakes and the learning curves have happened and now I’m able to learn from that. And I quite like proper manhood, if you can call it that. I think coming from being the youngest of lots of siblings, I was always feeling like I wanted to be older, and I was always feeling perpetually young. Whereas, when you reach thirty, you’re not pretending anymore. You’re definitely an adult. It’s quite fun in a way, it’s good.

So what attracted you to working with Boss as the face of their fragrance?

I thought you were gonna say Bob, and I was like, who’s Bob?! [Laughs] Boss is internationally a big brand and it’s really big in Britain, so I’ve kind of grown up with the campaigns and the fragrance campaigns and the cool, ¬quite masculine pictures and dudes. Also, what they wanted to do with this fragrance was something that they hadn’t before. It’s a new fragrance, but it has those elements of Boss — that style and success and a little seduction. I think it’s interesting and it’s a bit more representative of me.

Cool, and was it fun shooting with fashion photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott and director/producer Darren Aronofsky?

It was great. Darren Aronofsky was fun. Obviously, I’m a fan of his movies, so it was very easy and a fun experience. Mert and Marcus — they’re very cool, relaxed dudes. I’m an actor, so other than having to do stuff for press, I’ve never done these kinds of things. Initially, it can seem discombobulating because normally you’re used to having a script and a character and that comes from doing a film, but this is more of a mood piece, so I thought it was going to be difficult, but it was fine.

Are you someone who wears a fragrance throughout the day or is it more of a special occasion thing for you?

I wouldn’t wear it every day. I would wear it at times when it’s a big night, if it’s a big to-do, like a friend’s birthday or something or for work. If you are having to kind of get suited and and booted for something, I think it’s good to wear. Particularly, but sporadically, at the same time.

Do you have any method for applying it? Where do you spray it?

I spray it in my mouth. [Laughs]

Theo James on growing a beard: “You kind of feel like you want to become a man again.” (Getty Images)

Good one. You must be constantly traveling. Do you have any must-have products that you take with you on the road?

No, there’s nothing in terms of travel, just earphones for music on the plane. I always travel with a book for obvious reasons. I’m reading this book that I just picked up called “The Savage Farmers.” He went to Papa New Guinea and he was eaten or kind of cannibalized by the local population, so it’s an interesting story about his journey in the ‘40s.

Sounds interesting. What’s a must-have product you use at home?

After a shave, I like Ren Multi-Tasking After Shave Balm ($45). They have these good products, especially if you’re doing it for an event or press or for filming. Ren is a good brand for post-shave stuff.

Are there any special hair products you use?

The thing is, you’re working all the time and people are putting stuff in your hair for you, so I use kind of whatever’s around. I have bushy hair. Everyone kind of dislikes their own hair, don’t they?

Glad to know guys have that problem, too. What style tips do you have for our male readers?

The most important thing the cut of your suit. Although the quality is important, the cut is the most important thing, especially if you have an interview or an event coming up. Although sometimes it can seem like an expense that isn’t worth it, I would always recommend, if you can, having the best suit cut. It makes you feel more ownership and a little bit more in control.

In the Divergent films, you are referred to as a hero. Have you ever felt like a hero in real life?

No, probably not. I think, you know, even if I have, if I said it then I would sound like a d–khead. I get the concept of saying I’m like a hero, but it’s kind of a tough one.

Who are your own heroes?

I think my dad has a big influence on me, my parents. My grandfather — he was very iconic in many ways for me. Then, in the film world, I always loved those iconic male Hollywood movie stars like the Steve McQueens, and the Paul Newmans, and Sean Connerys. Those kind of characters.

How do you stay healthy and fit but still have some fun with your workouts?

I like boxing. It’s a good way to keep in shape. It’s a learning process and you’re always kind of learning new things and there’s a kind of ritualistic element to it, ‘cause you’re wrapping up and putting on the pads and hitting the bag and move around with someone, so that is good. And I do other stuff, like track work, to mix it up.

What else are you working on?

I just wrapped an indie John Michael McDonagh film, which is called War On Everyone. It’s a black comedy and we’re about four weeks into filming Allegiant at the moment, which is the third movie in the Divergent franchise.

Awesome. If there was any one actor or actress that you could work with, who would it be?

Hmm, who would it be? There’s many. Clooney, always seems like a cool guy.

For more of Theo James, check out the video below.


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