Though he’s just 21 years old, Alex Pettyfer is quickly on his way toward becoming the next Sean Penn. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily a comparison based on acting – it’s one based on Alex’s burgeoning reputation as a bad boy. When he and his I Am Number Four costar Dianna Agron hooked up, they became one of Hollywood’s hottest – and best looking – young couples. But when they split, rumors that Alex had been abusive and that Dianna had taken out a restraining order immediately threw his burgeoning career into a spiral. I spoke with several publicists who specialize in crisis management and asked what advice they’d give Alex for getting his career – and his reputation – back on track.
- Get a new girlfriend, stat. “The best thing Alex can do to dispel rumors he was abusive is immediately get into another public, high-profile romance with another young starlet,” one publicist said. “A happy, smiling couple is the best way to refute rumors that the breakup with Dianna was in his fault.” Who are some likely candidates? If this gentleman prefers blondes, we suggest an up-and-comer like Dakota Fanning or Teresa Palmer. Our publicist suggests Blake Lively – “There have been a lot of rumors about her hooking up with married costars, so getting into a high-profile relationship will help improve her standing as well.” Win-win!
- Do a romantic comedy. If Alex wants to recast himself in the public sphere as a good guy, he will need to choose some more mainstream, crowd-pleasing roles. Unlike Beastly, though, it’ll need to be a bigger hit.
- Keep his head down for awhile. The nice thing about Hollywood is that people have short memories. “There will always be another scandal,” said one expert. “He isn’t A-list enough that stories about him are in People or Us Weekly. If he stays out of the press and goes back to work, people could forget about this entirely.”
- Conversely, he could go the opposite direction and embrace his bad boy image. “There’s always room in Hollywood for a bad boy,” one publicist noted. “If he wants to embrace that Jack Nicholson/Sean Penn thing, he should, as long as his talent backs it up.”