“Yeah, I’m just very lucky. I feel I won the lottery with ‘Beastly,’ ” says Alex Pettyfer.
Actually, the 19-year-old has been lucky all along. At 14, he won the lead in “Tom Brown’s Schooldays,” which led to his being cast at 15 as Alex Rider in “Stormbreaker.”
Now as the rich boy Kyle Kingson in “Beastly,” he learns several life lessons, including how to see people for whom they really are.
“It’s kind of a modern take on ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ People like stories they recognize, but they like it changed up.”
The change here, as Pettyfer explains it, is that “B&B” is usually seen through a woman’s eyes, “where ‘Beastly’ is through my eyes as the beast. You go on this adventure with him, with his loneliness and struggle, and you’ve never been on this side.”
Calling Kyle his most demanding role, Pettyfer says “it was physical but not in the sense you’d consider.”
When he signed up, “I didn’t think I’d be in a makeup chair for 7 1/2 hours (for 53 days). It was 5 1/2 hours of makeup, then an hour and a half off. Seventy-five pieces glued on to you every day is crazy.”
That was after he shaved his head.
“That helped me with my character. When you’ve got an image you’ve had for many years and destroy that, you take yourself out of a comfort zone,” he explains.
One side benefit of all those hours in the chair: “I would watch the TV behind me in the mirror and saw probably 40 horror movies. The makeup guys were obsessed with horror movies and taught me about those with great prosthetics.”
Pettyfer’s faves: “Tim Curry as Satan in ‘Legend’ — that was nine hours in the chair — and John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ and Sam Raimi’s ‘Evil Dead 2.’ ”
His one hope for the future?
“I am praying there is not a ‘Beastly 2,’ ” he says.