Text by Kee | Photos courtesy of Jaeger-LeCoultre
Nicholas Hoult stars in Jaeger-LeCoultre's short film, 'TheTurning Point'

He took on the role as a precocious 12-year-old boy when he was just 11. Nailed it. Aged 18, he played a sociopathic teen on a television show. Nailed it again. At 19, he was cast by Tom Ford as a delusional college student. Well, you get the drift. A grateful Nicholas Hoult could carry on playing his age until the end of time and bag all the accolades that come with it but where’s the joy in that? For the last decade, the 32-year-old has been making moves outside of his comfort zone – and that might just be his greatest gameplay.

A zombie with a moral dilemma. A post-apocalyptic anti-hero. An intellectual blue Beast. Famous writers J. D. Salinger and J. R. R. Tolkien. And now, a fictionalised version of Emperor Peter III in The Great which has now returned for a second season. Nicholas Hoult has come far enough in his career to think twice about taking on recurring roles (he has been the Beast in five superhero movies). But this series is a whole lot different, award season-buzzing different.  You see, he headlines the dramedy as the Emperor of Russia, the self-absorbed and intellectually poorer half to Elle Fanning’s witty Catherine the Great. Hoult is able to showcase his comic timing in this series and even an unfounded ability to bang out scripted minutes-long monologues stark naked in a room of people is more than masterful. That said, the actor has already resumed his big screen efforts. He just wrapped filming of a dark culinary comedy called The Menu with Anya Taylor-Joy and he will be busier in the coming months as he takes on  Renfield, a story about Dracula’s assistant in the original Bram Stoker novel. What has been another satisfying recurring role for the actor is his partnership with storied Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre (he has been part of the family since 2017). In a latest short film by the brand, titled The Turning Point, Hoult takes on a reflective tone as he ponders about life’s pivotal moments and realising one’s potential. How apt indeed. We caught up with the British actor to talk about his acting process, his love for precision timekeeping, and parkour.

Nicholas Hoult has been a friend of the Jaeger-LeCoultre since 2017

On working with a familiar cast and crew for The Great:
“The wonderful thing is that we have worked together before. So the difficulties of working through the Covid-19 pandemic – such as having to wear masks and following the protocols – would have made the filming experience different in terms of interactions. So it certainly helped that we had a shorthand and everyone knew their characters and roles so well that it became a fun experience rather than a tricky one.”

On a trait he shares with his character on The Great, Emperor Peter III:
“He is a real foodie. And that stems from the writer Tony McNamara who is a foodie as well. That’s something I have developed more and more.”

The Turning Point is a short film in collaboration with British actor Nicholas Hoult

On Benedict Cumberbatch:
“I love what Benedict has been doing, even with Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Polaris commercial. We did a movie a few years back called The Current War, in which he played Thomas Edison and I was Nikola Tesla. But we didn’t have that many scenes together. I’m a fan of his acting as well as the person. I would love to do something with him together again. I think his latest film, Power of the Dog, is brilliant. It’s fun when the people you know and like are also part of things you are a fan of.”

On what resonated with him for the script of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s The Turning Point:
“I think the overall theme resonated with me. The culmination of all your experiences that has taken you to that important life moment and how you take that leap of faith to get to those moments. This career is always evolving and you’d never feel like it has reached the pinnacle. There’s always a new character or a challenge.“

On life's "what if" moments:
"I think in acting, you can clearly spot your turning points, which is why it was interesting to make this film with Jaeger-LeCoultre. You can clearly distinguish moments that your career path took a different trajectory. And of course, there are also moments that you look back and think, 'What if that role had worked out?' But then equally things not working out sometimes lead to better opportunities or things that are more suited to you and better connections and meetings with other people and things that turn out to be for the better. So, there are moments where you reflect on but I think you can do that in a positive and negative way."

“Being immersed in nature – walking in the woods, or going surfing – puts me into a state of peace, where I feel at one with the world. I come back refreshed, revitalised and ready to get back into action.”

On getting into the role for a commercial:
“I think part of it has to do with working with the director, Théo [Gottlieb]. He has a style of shooting and we were working at the Vallée de Joux, which is close to the manufacture, so in that contained environment we got to feel what they represent. I was not working alongside other actors in this so it was a lot of internalising past experience and what those words mean to me whilst doing the voiceovers. It’s about putting your own spin on things with some truth and honesty.”

On his connection with the Swiss watchmaker:
“I was very excited to join Jaeger-LeCoultre because some of my favourite films and biggest moments of my career have been at the Venice Film Festival which Jaeger-LeCoultre has been the sponsor of for many years. Those moments are ingrained in my memory and they are part of it. The first time I was at the Venice Film Festival was when I was 19, for Tom Ford’s A Single Man. So, to track back to this memory with them is special.”    

Reverso Tribute Duoface Tourbillon

On his current wristwatch:
“I have a rose gold Duoface, which I love and adore, but I also have this large Reverso that they kindly gifted. I would say it’s not mine at the moment as it has my son’s initials on it. I will pass it down to him when he is older and able to look after it.”

On his next wristwatch:
“I have to start putting money into the piggy bank for a Gyrotourbillon. But the Reverso Tribute Duoface Tourbillon you see in the commercial is wonderful as well. I think I may go for something with a blue guilloché dial. I think it has to be on my Christmas list.”

“The two faces really express my life: the character I play when I work, and the person I am when I’m not working.”

On his artistic customisations on a wristwatch:
“I don’t know if I would go for a classic enamel painting or an artist interpretation of a family photo. I think it has to be a personal one. Maybe a drawing of what a family member has done.”

On his acting process:
“I think my acting process changes depending on who I’m working with and the project. We need to have the same end goal and thinking. I’ve worked with Jaeger-LeCoultre for so long so I understand the fundamentals of who they are, and hopefully, I am synced up with that. This is especially important since we are telling a condensed story in 30 or 60 seconds in The Turning Point.”

On always looking ahead:
"I think in general, I tend to be someone who is more forward looking, although it's interesting in this particular business, because as much as you are very present in the project that you're working on, previous things that you have filmed then comes out a year later so you are forced to look back and relive those memories. You get a great time to step back into the past and look at what feels like a long time ago, even though perhaps it was only six months or a year that you were shooting that project."

The Turning Point is a short film in collaboration with British actor Nicholas Hoult

On picking his next film role:
“Honestly, I try to read on different characters that get me excited. I try to pick something that challenges me and that people wouldn’t expect. For instance, the next character I would be playing is from Universal Monsters universe called Renfield (a spinoff of Dracula). The version we’re telling is about power dynamics and toxic relationships, where Dracula’s manipulation of Renfield has kept him working under him for years. It is a story about how someone can escape and stand up for themselves. It’s done in a comedy-action setting so at least it’s something original and hopefully people will enjoy it.”

On learning parkour:
“In prepping for this Renfield movie, I started picking up some parkour moves which I have never done before. It takes bravery to attempt. There’s something called the Kong Vault, where you jump, place your hands on the obstacle and swing between them. And I’m still learning it.”

On inspiring words:
"I don't think I've given many inspiring quotes, but I think one quote that always strikes me and it's probably one that's already out there, but it was Melissa who played one of the Vuvalini, the warrior tribe in Mad Max. She had just lost a partner previously and her main quote to me was a word of advice, "Love and be loved." And it's very simple, but sometimes difficult to do, I guess. So that's always stayed with me, what she said."

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