An actor and a model, 27-year-old Max Irons stars in The Host, based on the novel by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer.
Directed by Andrew Niccol, it tells the story of an alien race that invades Earth and the bodies of humans
My mum discovered I couldn’t read when I was eight.
I went to the local state school, and she came in one day to do reading classes and we all had to stand up and read a paragraph of a book. When it came to my turn, I was tearing up and just making up the story. Mum realised I had a problem and took me to a lady who diagnosed me as dyslexic. After that I went to a school where they had a department dedicated to dyslexia, and that changed everything.
My dad has made me proud, but I also wonder if he’s completely insane.
He worked three years flat out and then took a few years off to restore a castle in West Cork, Ireland. It was literally a pile of stones falling into the sea. Absolutely beautiful, but the sort of project any normal man would have walked away from. Not my dad. It’s amazing; you have to hand it to him. He absolutely knows what he wants and he does it regardless of what anyone else thinks.
As a child I’d get given parts as a tree.
As I got older the parts got bigger, and at 16 I was given a script to read on stage. I couldn’t do it. I then realised that I just had to be more prepared than anyone else. I’d have to know my lines and other people’s lines. I’m not embarrassed by it. In auditions, I’ll ask in advance for the script or I’ll explain that I can’t read well off a page. If you’re just open about it, I find people totally understand.
Kevin Spacey terrified me with a giant inflatable lobster.
As a kid I don’t remember being surrounded by celebrities. My parents aren’t like that. They have a few friends in the business, but I never thought of them as famous people. Kevin Spacey was a great friend of my mum’s and he came to stay after he’d been working on a movie, and he brought me back a giant inflatable lobster. When I saw it I was so terrified I burst into tears. I never associated him with being famous; I only ever associated him with that terrible lobster.
I was mortified when my dad took up driving a horse and trap.
I was about 15 or 16 – I was extremely self-conscious, I wanted girls to like me, and there was my dad riding around Oxford in a horse and cart. Awful. Now it makes me laugh.
My parents told me never to expect the success they’ve had.
Both of them firmly believe this business is largely based on luck. When I said I wanted to be an actor, they both told me to be under no illusions and to never think that my life would be like theirs, because they’d been lucky. I think it was very good advice.
(Photographer) Mario Testino scouted me when I was having a row with my girlfriend.
We’d just come out of a video shop and we were having a massive fight about the film we’d got. A black SUV pulled up and this guy got out and said, ‘Hello – my name is Mario. I’d like you to give me a call.’ Then he handed me his card and drove off. A few days later I went to see him and he told me he wanted to work with me. I then got a call saying I was wanted by Burberry for a commercial shoot. I was told it would be Kate Moss, me and a couple of bands, but when I turned up I saw Mick Jagger’s kids, Keith Richards’ kids, Bryan Ferry’s sons. I realised I was there because of who I was.
My name has opened doors and slammed doors shut.
I recently went to a casting and the casting director was a notoriously tough woman. When I walked in she just looked at me and said, ‘Don’t think you’re anything special because you’re the son of famous actors. If you do badly I will absolutely let you know it.’ In one way it was terrifying, but in another way I respected her for being so upfront.
The moment you think of yourself as hot, you’re screwed.
I’ve learnt that from my parents. It’s the reason I won’t move to LA, and why I stay away from the party scene. The actors I respect are the ones who see it as a career and manage to live reasonably normal lives, like Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
I’ve never watched Damage (the 1992 Louis Malle film), because I don’t want to see my dad naked.
He made that when I was a boy, and I never saw it then because he got his bits and pieces out quite a lot, and it wasn’t something I particularly wanted to see. I do, however, give him absolute credit as an actor for it.
I learned to drive on the set of The Host.
I wasn’t scared of the fight scenes but I was terrified of crashing a car and hurting Saoirse (Ronan, his co-star). I’d never actually driven before. I was put in a World War II jeep and told to drive across this range in the desert as fast as I could. I did it, which was pretty bad, and then when I got back, they put Saoirse in the car next to me and said: ‘Now do it again.’ I could see her dad eyeballing me in my peripheral vision. All I could think about was what the hell would happen if I crashed and something happened to her.
I don’t think I’ll ever be as big as Robert Pattinson.
The Host is very much in the same vein as Twilight, and there’s clearly a huge fan base out there. But I can’t imagine myself being as huge as Robert Pattinson. I’m not sure I could handle that level of fame.