Wolk wears a vintage t-shirt; Tommy Hilfiger’s sweatpants; Lady Grey and All Saints necklaces.

“Nice” grew to be an increasingly dirty word as James Wolk pursued his acting dreams. “I had to con people into thinking I’m not so likable,” explains the 25-year-old, grinning regardless. Wolk has reason to be happy: Despite being a relative unknown, he has landed the lead role in one of fall’s most anticipated TV shows, Fox’s Lone Star. Premiering on September 20, the series carries a classy pedigree—the pilot episode was directed by Marc Webb, whose credits include (500) Days of Summer and the upcoming Spider-Man. But it’s Wolk’s career- making performance that is garnering the biggest buzz: “Reminds me of a young George Clooney” has been the typical blog refrain. It’s an astonishing reversal of fortune for a young talent with just a TV movie, a soap opera walk-on, and a commercial on his résumé. “It’s easy to think you can get discovered on the street, but I developed my chops on the stage—four years of theater in high school, and then another four in college,” he says. “By the time I got someone to take my head shot, I’d been acting for nine years!”

Styled by Lawren Howell; grooming by Ashley Verbeck at the Wall Group.