Garrett Hedlund Pictures & Interview

Check out these Garrett Hedlund Pictures & Interview, exclusively from DA MAN fashion magazine. It’s Garrett Time!
After a couple years out of the game, co-star of Four Brothers and Death Sentence has made a big comeback as the star of Tron: Legacy and as a country singer in Country Strong, alongside Gwyneth Paltrow and Leighton Meester. He is probably too modest to admit it openly, but we can say with confidence that there is one thing you can bet on in 2011: It is Garrett time.

Photographs: Mitchell Nguyen McCormack/Styling: Taylor Bass/Article: RJ Simons

After appearing as a bald, tattooed gangster in Death Sentence in 2007, Garrett Hedlund dropped out of the headlines. Where he disappeared to had been a bit of a mystery, but now we know he was sitting on his IKEA couch in L.A. prepping to be the main man in a trio of films over the next few months including Tron: LegacyCountry Strong in January and On the Road in mid-2011).

To say that now he is back and bigger than ever would be the understatement of the year. The affable, easygoing co-star of Troy (with Brad Pitt), Friday Night Lights (with Billy Bob Thornton), Four Brothers (with Mark Wahlberg), Georgia Rule (with Lindsay Lohan) and Death Sentence (with Kevin Bacon), he is not only back with prominent roles, he is the leading man, and in Tron: Legacy he stars with the luscious Olivia Wilde and one of the top veteran actors in Hollywood, Jeff Bridges—who also starred in the original Tron in 1982.

In Country Strong, he plays Beau Hutton, a young country songwriter whose star is on the rise.

Long considered to be “on the cusp” of greatness, it is now Garrett time. Film credits aside, maybe it is time to pose the question: Who this tall, cool gent who is crashing the A-List? In addition to this exclusive shoot, DA MAN was able to pick his brain, a bit, and find out how the boy from Minnesota transformed into a leading man and global superstar.

One thing you need to understand about Garrett Hedlund is this: he’s an extremely well-read, private, respectful guy with zero arrogance; indeed, he has that Midwestern politeness and quiet confidence with all those genuine “yes, sirs” and “no ma’ams.” He knows what he is and what makes him unique and that gives him the self-belief to turn down roles that are handed to him in favor of those that he has to work hard for and compete head to head against the best in the business.

A man of few words, he conducts himself with a degree of elegance and class that is rare; and inevitably anyone who meets him instantly witnesses that leading-man aura about him. He’s one of those guys that is just so chilled and humble that it doesn’t seem to faze him (or maybe he truly doesn’t even know) that he charms women just by being his laid-back, easy-smiling self.

To wit: In a recent video interview, Leighton Meester showed what he can do to women. As accomplished an actress as she is, she wasn’t even remotely capable of concealing her attraction to him. Leighton refers to his distinctiveness, characterized by his many apposite traits—both shy and charming, both young and mature, both down-to-earth and bigger-than-life. Another co-star, Jeff Bridges, from the Tron: Legacy set, also gives us some insight into what makes Garrett stand out. “I dug working with Garrett,” Bridges tells a magazine editor. “I admired the way he embraced the physical, emotional and mythological aspects of his role [in Tron: Legacy, playing Sam Flynn]. He’s also a cool guy to hang with.”

Garett Hedlung poses for DA MAN

Garrett was born in Minnesota and after his parents split when he was a teenager, Garrett and his mom landed in Arizona. Something inside the teenaged Garrett lit a fire and motivated him to do everything he could to become a consummate thespian.

He became a voracious reader of classic novels like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and, of course, Kerouac’s On the Road. He also read industry legends like “Stanislavski, Uta Hagen and Milton Katselas … because I wanted to distinguish myself from all the other aspiring actors.”

DA MAN: You landed quite a big role, alongside Brad Pitt in Troy, just a few weeks after arriving in Hollywood after finishing high school in Arizona, how did that all happen?
Garrett Hedlund: I was flying back and forth to Los Angeles a lot auditioning. I finished high school early and moved to Los Angeles. Troy was the first script I was given. I read the script twice and in hopes of getting an audition, I had my whole audition in my head. I got the call for an audition and I first auditioned with the casting director’s assistant and then with the casting director and then with [Director] Wolfgang [Petersen] and then with Brad [Pitt].

DA MAN: At what point, as a youngster, did you realize that your ‘calling’ was to be an actor?
Garrett Hedlund: I was raised on a farm in Minnesota. Television and movies were our only escape. It was always a dream to be an actor and live in the city.

DA MAN: So what can you tell us about Tron: Legacy?
GARRETT HEDLUND: I play Sam Flynn, who is haunted by the disappearance of his father and one day he gets pointed in the direction to go and search for him. He had pretty much given up on that part of his life, so he goes to search for his father and finds himself in this incredible world that he had heard about as a kid. They were bedtime stories and myths to him, but suddenly he comes to the realization that it is all real. His father was creator of this incredible and unique universe.

DA MAN: With all the action scenes, cyber-fights and cyber-chases, did you have to do a lot of stunts or physical stuff?
GARRETT HEDLUND: Yes, the film is filled with action. We trained in parkour, capoeira and motorcycle-riding. We also did a lot of wire work and stunts, which were very physically demanding.

DA MAN: Had you seen the original Tron before being cast for Tron: Legacy?
GARRETT HEDLUND: I wasn’t born when Tron came out in the early 1980s, but I saw it for the first time in 2003. I thought it was something that was insane and an incredibly new idea, being stuck in a computer, and exploring that route of technology. Computers were hardly around then and it was such a new thing for everyone.
It was the wonders of the possibilities of the future that had everyone questioning things like this and the possibilities of lasers and if you could travel from one place to another. We have come to realize it’s not necessarily come to that, but Tron: Legacy offers another stop in that direction of wonders and technological possibilities and fantasies.

DA MAN: Any fond off-the-camera moments with co-stars Olivia Wilde, Jeff Bridges, etc.?
GARRETT HEDLUND: I will remember the whole journey of filming the movie. To work with Jeff Bridges and Olivia Wilde and Bruce Boxleitner on this every day was a real experience. It was a great family to take this journey with. I am happy it was who it was. It wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t with them.

DA MAN: What is after Tron: Legacy for you?
GARRETT HEDLUND: Country Strong is coming out soon and I play a young country music singer, then later, On the Road where I play the character Dean Moriarty from the book. This has been a dream project. I have been cast for On the Road since 2007 and have been hoping for it to be made one day. Every day has been such an incredible experience. Working with [director] Walter Salles has just been incredible. This shoot has been the closest thing to a guerrilla-style shoot. We have been constantly moving from one city to another, from one country to another. It has been the experience of a lifetime.

DA MAN: What do you hope to achieve in your acting career?
GARRETT HEDLUND: Every film I’ve done I’ve had to work for. I’ve never taken a film that has just been offered to me. I look for the next extreme opposite of what I’m either currently doing or what I have done before. Who knows what I will be doing next.

DA MAN: What would be your ultimate role/project?
GARRETT HEDLUND: The role I’m currently finishing up, playing Dean Moriarty in On the Road. This has been a dream project. Again … it has been the experience of a lifetime.

WEB EXCLUSIVE

The interview questions and answers below do not appear in the magazine, only here.

DA MAN: When you first got to Hollywood, did you take it in stride or did it kind of blow you away?
Garrett Hedlund: I had been flying back and forth from Arizona for auditions for two years, so it was something I had been a little used to.

DA MAN: What sort of experiences do you think prepared you to handle the Hollywood whirlwind?
GARRETT HEDLUND: Growing up on a farm. It gave me all the tools I need for real life.

Garett Hedlung poses for DA MAN

DA MAN: You have sort of flown under the radar the last couple years, were you working or taking some time off?
GARRETT HEDLUND: I had some time off as I was attached to On the Road and I swore to the director that I wouldn’t do another film until we did it.

DA MAN: Did you get stressed by the demands of celebrity; from Troy as a teenager, then basically two major feature films per year for next few years, concluding with Georgia Rule and Death Sentence in 2007? After those did you just say to yourself, ‘I gotta slow this down’?
GARRETT HEDLUND: I’m happy with the pace of my career.

DA MAN: What has been your proudest moment so far in your movie career?
GARRETT HEDLUND: My role in On the Road that I am currently filming.  It has been my dream role.

DA MAN: What has been something you wished you had not done?
GARRETT HEDLUND: No. You wouldn’t be where you are without the past.  I would never change anything that got me to where I am today.

Country Strong, Garrett Hedlund & Leighton Meester, photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

DA MAN: What do you hope to achieve in your acting career? Any goals, such as an Oscar?
GARRETT HEDLUND: I don’t really have a master plan. I cant foresee it. I just hope to continue working on films and in roles that I can completely dive into and believe the character.

DA MAN: What does it take to make it to the top and stay there in Hollywood ?
GARRETT HEDLUND: Understanding yourself and knowing what you have to offer.

DA MAN: What  do you like to do to relax when you have leisure time?
GARRETT HEDLUND: I enjoy staying home and relaxing on my couch reading or going back to the farm.

For the full magazine feature with several more images, pick up the December 2010/January 2011 issue of DA MAN magazine