Alex Pettyfer unveils unexpected new career move
By CHELSEA HUANG
Alex Pettyfer may have made headlines recently over a so-called on-set clash, but the 25-year-old actor has much more brewing than a Hollywood feud.
Pettyfer, best known for his roles in "Magic Mike" and "I Am Number Four" has broken into production with the launch of his company, Upturn Productions. Pettyfer joins the likes of Zac Efron, Johnny Depp and Ben Stiller -- to name just a few -- who boast their own production companies.
But unlike the scores of others in the business, Pettyfer has another weapon in his arsenal that could allow him to double down on a prime, very lucrative corner of the business: a publishing house.
It marks an unexpected turn for the young heartthrob's career and an "accidental" move that only began when he happened upon a manuscript from author Ashley Mansour, "Blood, Ink & Fire," which he absolutely loved, but lacked a publisher.
"I was wondering who was publishing the book -– because I wanted to buy the film and television rights -– and she said that no one was publishing it and what if I published it?" he told AOL in an exclusive interview. "And I thought, 'That's very sweet, but I don't know the first thing about publishing a book.' "
"I never thought in my wildest dreams I would be creating a publishing company."
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After bringing it up with his business partner and six months of research, the off-the-cuff suggestion became a reality -- and the novel is available for purchase today. As it turns out, the "accidental" encounter is kind of a brilliant one.
Leveraging existing fan bases into a film adaptation has major potential -- think the "Hunger Games" and "Harry Potter" film series, which have raked in $2.8 billion and $7.7 billion worldwide respectively.
Pettyfer is no stranger to this space. Three of his young adult blockbusters originated in print -- "I Am Number Four," "Stormbreaker" and "Beastly." But it's not just about the sci-fi thrillers of the world. Films like "Still Alice" and "Room" are just more examples of the potential of book-to-film adaptations that generate much-coveted attention come awards show season.
"We're targeting stories," he said. "I think the greatest thing that you feel when you walk into a book store is this overwhelming sensation that you can pick up a book and dive in to your own imagination and be swept away ... I think that escapism, that excitement, is what I get when I find a book and the possibility of bringing that to a visual sensation of escapism."
The concept of a publish-to-production service is also an attractive prospect for authors aiming for the same kind of return ... or even a fraction of it at the least.
"I think when you introduce something or a piece of material with the opportunity of it potentially becoming either a film or television, it becomes more exciting. These books that are so successful like the 'Hunger Games' and 'Twilight' -- they have these fandoms for years wanting them to become film and I think we're just trying to turn that opportunity over faster."
Part of that strategy is marketing books as you would films, doing television appearances and targeting that "movie audience" in addition to a traditional bookish one.
"People that have embraced the book have not necessarily been readers, which is an incredible thing. It's always difficult to get any product into the market with noise, and I just want to take a different approach than I thought would be the obvious route," Pettyfer said.
Of course, with huge reward comes even bigger risk -- the biggest of which is alienating or disappointing the story's fandom, like the original backlash when Kristen Stewart was first cast in "Twilight," for example.
"Every person's imagination is different," Pettyfer said. "And everyone's perception of the story is different. And the only thing you can really do when adapting a book into film is tell the best possible story that is as true to what you feel personally. Everyone has their own interpretation and imagination. You have to please the story and be as true to the story as much as possible, and that's all you can do as a filmmaker."
The actor's first acquisition as a publisher, "Blood, Ink & Fire," seems like it fits the bill in the post-apocalyptic young adult sphere, but time will tell if the payoff is strong. In the meantime, the star is looking to enjoy the holiday season -- he absolutely loves Christmas -- with family and friends.
It's clear that Pettyfer will be wearing many hats in 2016 -- actor, producer and publisher, among others -- but his new year's resolution is a simple one: "Drink more water."
Pick up a copy of "Blood, Ink & Fire" on Amazon.
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