In the same vein as Sturgess, Dominic Cooper seemed poised to be the next Brit-turned-American rom-com star after playing the love interest in Mamma Mia! But his career-changing turn in The Devil’s Double, as both Uday Hussein and his body double, Latif Yahia, is riveting and chilling in a way that is completely unexpected. Cooper has countered the star system by inventing distinct and varied characters rather than honing a particular persona.
Due to his distance from commercial films, Sturgess was required to audition for director Lone Scherfig to get the part in One Day. “I had to do a screen test,” he said matter-of-factly. “They also wanted me to read with Anne to see if we had ‘chemistry.’ There was all this awful pressure—it was very nerve-wracking—but Anne was great. In the end I didn’t mind auditioning or the screen test. I feel like you know it’s a great project if they ask you to audition.”
In all likelihood, in the eyes of Hollywood, One Day will relaunch Sturgess, but he is still not interested in becoming a classic leading man. “As corny as it may sound,” he said to me, “I have a love of cinema. I don’t want to be a ‘celebrity’ or a ‘movie star.’ That was never my goal.”
While I may long for these new leading men to be movie stars and replenish the ranks of Hollywood, I probably shouldn’t. Their goal—to create original characters in intriguing circumstances—is more interesting. “I can’t imagine that it’s any fun to be typecast,” Sturgess told me. “I’d rather risk failing than repeat myself. And if that means that I never become famous, that’s okay.”