hunt NUMBER 4, hunt ALEX PETTYFER!

DreamWorks Pictures takes a big gamble on young actor Alex Pettyfer and gives him a star-making lead role in the new sci-fi action-adventure “I Am Number Four.”

Based on the best-selling book by Pittacus Lore, “I Am Number Four” revolves about an extraordinary young man, John Smith (Pettyfer), who is a fugitive on the run from ruthless enemies sent to destroy him. Changing his identity, moving from town to town with his guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant), John is always the new kid with no ties to his past. In the small Ohio town he now calls home, John encounters unexpected, life-changing events—his first love (Dianna Agron), powerful new abilities and a connection to the others who share his incredible destiny.

For the role of John Smith, aka Number Four, director D.J. Caruso (“Eagle Eye”) knew he had to find someone with a strong personality who also had a sensitive side to portray the character. “John’s extraordinary abilities make him very different from the other kids in school, which in turn makes it very hard for him to fit in,” Caruso says.

“A lot of teenagers can relate to that, particularly those who have to move to a new town at that age,” he adds. “Trying to integrate into high school is tough for anyone. There is a universal aspect to his character that the audiences can hang on to because even though he is superhuman, the emotions that he has are something that a normal teenager would be experiencing.”

Many weeks went into the selection process as the filmmakers looked for that one actor who would have the attitude and physical prowess to bring John Smith to life. When Alex Pettyfer had his first read, D.J. Caruso knew that he had someone special on his hands. “I feel that Alex has a really special gift,” Caruso says. “As interesting, attractive and dynamic as he is, he has an incredible vulnerability that really works for the character. I think it will make audiences fall in love with him.”

Producer Michael Bay (“Transformers”) says of Pettyfer: “I’ve been watching Alex for a long time. He’s got a ton of charisma and physicality. As Number Four, he brought a mix of strength and vulnerability that not a lot of young actors can pull off.”

Alex Pettyfer was delighted to land the lead role of John Smith for two reasons. The first was Pettyfer’s desire to work with D.J. Caruso. “D.J. is incredible,” he explains. “I came onto this movie because I think he’s got an amazing vision. He brings something different to the table. He brings science fiction into a world and makes it real,” says Pettyfer.

The second was the story and the role. “It’s a really cool premise,” explains Pettyfer. “John Smith is at a point in his life where he has a choice and his dilemma is that he wants to be a normal kid but he has been given this destiny of becoming a warrior. He is initially very reluctant and has a James Dean ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ outlook. He has the kind of temperament that you feel could explode at any moment.

“John is trying to find out who he is and what he wants to do with his life,” Pettyfer concludes. “A lot of kids are going to relate to what he is going through in the story—being an outsider and trying to fit in.”

Opening across the Philippines on Feb. 23, “I Am Number Four” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.

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