The new Shakespeare thriller Anonymous expounds upon a controversial theory that the Earl of Oxford wrote all of the plays that we today associate with William Shakespeare, and that “the Bard” was just a front. Australian actor Xavier Samuel plays the Earl of Southampton, who many believe to be the “Fair Youth” that Shakespeare addresses in his sonnets.
We’ll give Xavier that—though he’s 27, he’s just broken onto the scene thanks to a supporting role in one of the Twilight movies. And he’s not hard on the eyes. So what else do you need to know about this Aussie lad?
1. In 2010′s Eclipse, he played Riley Biers, Victoria’s (Bryce Dallas Howard) “mate”—or at least, the first vampire she turns to join her army, who falls hopelessly in love with her. The role got him his first MTV Movie Award in 2011, for Best Fight. He told BlackBook that the Twihards were so rabid that he and castmates Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner had to coordinate their hang-outs to the minute. “We even had lookalikes,” he said.
2. He hasn’t yet made it: While partying with his brother Benedict on a night off during the Anonymous shoot, a bunch of teenage girls mistook the boys for someone else. Actually, they thought Benedict was Xavier’s co-star Jamie Campbell Bower (who plays the young Earl of Oxford), so the newspaper caption the next day read “Jamie and friend.” Ouch.
3. Unlike all-grown-up Billy Elliot star Jamie Bell, Xavier can talk about sex without seeming like a teenager trying to be cool: Of working with Rhys Ifans, he said, “Acting is like sex. It’s possible if your partner is bad, but it’s better if they’re good.”
4. While in college — excuse me, “university” — Xavier was the lead singer for the band Hyatus.
5. He’s currently dating the 2005 Miss Europe, Iranian model Shermine Shahrivar.