We admit that we felt a little bit dirty after watching the trailer for Beastly, the modern spin of Beauty and the Beast starring Vanessa Hudgens and newcomer hunk Alex Pettyfer. Not because we suddenly found ourselves with an uncontrollable need to see a film with Mary-Kate Olsen as a witch channeling Taylor Momsen, but because Alex was so freakin’ hot…but at 20-years-old, he makes us feel like cougars. Dude is 2 years younger than Zac Efron!!
But whether we like it or not (and we sort of like it), Alex isn’t going anywhere: The native Brit, who began his modeling career at 7 when he was cast in a Gap ad, may soon be the next Robert Pattinson after he hits the big screen in his starring role in I Am Number Four. The books are already being called the new Twilight series (except they’re about aliens), and as the brooding, mysterious John Smith/Number 4, Alex is set to sweep tween hearts as hard as he swept his costar’s, Dianna Agron.
Alex and the Glee star have been dating from almost day one on the film, and aren’t trying to hide it: They’ve been seen holding hands on set and going to the Emmy’s together, leading us to believe that these two truly are gunning for the on-and-off-screen coupledom that was previously reserved for R-Patz and Kristen Stewart. But unlike the moody Robert, Alex is no stranger to announcing his relationships to the world: After all, he still has the letters E.R. tattooed on his wrist from his last relationship with Emma Roberts, with whom he remains on good terms.
Like most British actors who seemingly show up one day in America and become uber-famous (Andrew Garfield, *achem*), Alex actually has a big following in his hometown: He was mentored by Ewan McGregor while they worked on 2005′s Stormbreaker (for which he nominated for several emerging artist awards), and modeled for Burberry in two of their campaigns. Not to mention his starring role in the British program, Tom Brown’s Schooldays, or the TV commercials he’s appeared in since age 6.
But not everyone has overlooked Alex: Aspiring young adult novelist April Bostic has written her second book, The Howling Heart, around a character “molded” by Pettyfer. Our favorite chapter excerpt?
I didn’t see the dirty naked boy again, but my dream skipped to the following morning when I found a dead squirrel on my bed. My mother almost had a conniption and she wouldn’t let me sleep in my room after that.
It’s too early to say definitively if the blond, boyish Alex can topple the dark, brooding Robert Pattinson from his throne as the King of Tweens, but it’s nice to know that we’re not the only ones thinking dirty thoughts about the boy. Besides which, vampires are getting old…time to bring on the aliens!