Fresh Blood; Jamie Campbell Bower Made His Debut with Johnny Depp, Learned from Sir Ian McKellen, Waved His Wand in Harry Potter and Now He's Starring in New Moon, the Sequel to Twilight. Watch out Robert Pattinson, There's a New Vampire in Town and He's Sharper, Younger and Hotter Than You, Says Melissa Whitworth

The Evening Standard (London, England), November 13, 2009 | Go to article overview

Fresh Blood; Jamie Campbell Bower Made His Debut with Johnny Depp, Learned from Sir Ian McKellen, Waved His Wand in Harry Potter and Now He's Starring in New Moon, the Sequel to Twilight. Watch out Robert Pattinson, There's a New Vampire in Town and He's Sharper, Younger and Hotter Than You, Says Melissa Whitworth


Byline: Melissa Whitworth

The door to the hotel suite swings open and a young man, slightly dishevelled but devilishly handsome, welcomes me in. His jeans are half undone, and he cries, 'Salutations!' in a mock luvvie voice. Jamie Campbell Bower has the prettyboy looks to turn young girls wild with desire, which is just as well because he's about to explode on to the tween market. With parts in both the Twilight and Harry Potter film franchises coming up, he'll soon be on the bedroom walls of millions of teenage girls across the globe. Not bad for a 20-year-old who only left boarding school three years ago and hasn't even been to drama school.

It's fascinating to catch an actor at this prepreposterously famous stage, just before he shoots into orbit. For a start he's excitedly enthusiastic about the attention building around him, rather than world-weary and guarded. 'I'm not really focusing on this "inevitable" stardom that people seem to be talking about,' he says, beer in hand. 'I am not in this industry to be famous. I'm doing it because I like to perform and act and to be different people. I'm just happy to be working in general.' Campbell Bower is, one could wager, the next hot young British actor to break America; the next Robert Pattinson. 'Well, you say that, but in the Twilight film I don't really look very good-looking. I look like the vampire version of Kurt Cobain or an older Dakota Fanning,' he laughs. He remains seemingly oblivious to the Twilight blogs that are already buzzing about who he is, where he's from, and - most importantly - if he has a girlfriend (he does, a fashion designer called Zoe Graham). A sample of views: 'His accent makes me melt'; 'I will marry him!!!!'

He's currently travelling round America promoting New Moon, the second in the series of films adapted from Stephenie Meyer's vampire saga. He plays a member of the elite Volturi family, Michael Sheen plays his father and Dakota Fanning his sister. 'It's a grower, not a show-er,' he says of the size of his role. 'With New Moon the Volturi are introduced; in the fourth book we come back and basically the fourth book is about the fight between the Volturi and the Cullens [Robert Pattinson's character's family].' Dressed in cripplingly skinny black jeans with huge rips at the knees ('They are tight, aren't they? Are they throwing you off?'), a thin printed T-shirt and a black hooded top, Jamie could actually, as he says, pass for a prettier Kurt Cobain, with a bit of Russell Brand thrown in. He has wide, feline blue eyes and there's a Gothic-inspired earring dangling from his left lobe. He swears prodigiously, but in an inoffensive, public school way. In London, he is in a band called The Darling Buds.

Jamie grew up in Petersfield, Hampshire, and went to school at Bedales, where his talent was fostered by an English teacher: this being Bedales, there was an after-school cinema club where the pupils made their own films. His mother Annie is a music manager and father David works for Gibson Guitars. He has a younger brother, Sam, 15. 'My parents obviously realised I had this wish to be a performer, so they nurtured that side of me. I joined the local youth theatre and got very heavily involved and did every production until the age of 16.' He also dabbled in modelling to earn some spare cash. At 15, he performed in a Roger Waters opera called Ca Ira in Rome. 'I thought my heart would lie in musical theatre. I wanted to be this West End musical star.'

Then, when he was 17, his mother introduced him to the agent Simon Beresford (who also represents Ralph Fiennes) and a few weeks later he was auditioning for a part in Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. He got the part. 'Everything was a build-up to that,' he says. 'I was so high on the adrenaline. I'd get back to school at 9pm - I was a boarder at that point - and everyone would be tired and getting into bed and I'd be like. …

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Fresh Blood; Jamie Campbell Bower Made His Debut with Johnny Depp, Learned from Sir Ian McKellen, Waved His Wand in Harry Potter and Now He's Starring in New Moon, the Sequel to Twilight. Watch out Robert Pattinson, There's a New Vampire in Town and He's Sharper, Younger and Hotter Than You, Says Melissa Whitworth
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