The first time Alexander Ludwig was confronted by the forces of darkness he was in Romania filming the adventure flick The Seeker: The Dark is Rising (2007) against the backdrop of the economically beleaguered country’s gray, industrial landscape. For a kid from bright West Vancouver, Canada, the experience was akin to plunging headfirst into icy water. “It was eye-opening,” says the 16-year-old Ludwig. “There were times when it felt really dangerous.” Which made the conditions surrounding Ludwig’s next film, Race to Witch Mountain—Disney’s new reimagining of the cultish (and slightly creepy) mid-’70s classic Escape to Witch Mountain—seem all the more surreal. Like the original, this Witch Mountain tells the story of paranormally powered twins, Seth (Ludwig) and Sara (AnnaSophia Robb),who are on the run from nebulous villains and find refuge under the muscle-bound wing of an earnest cab driver (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). A good portion of the film was shot on the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, California, and, asLudwig enthuses, the place seemed touched by Magic Kingdom pixie dust. In between scenes he would dodge the homework trailer by playingHawaiian music with Johnson and surfing in Malibu. They even had a smoothie truck. “It was an affirmation that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life,” he says, adding that the native wildlife at Disney seemed straight out of Snow White (1937). “I swear Disney trains the squirrels,” he says. “They crawl right up to you and you canfeed them from your hand.”
Above: Alexander Ludwig in Los Angeles, December 2008. All clothing: Burberry Prorsum. Hair products: Redken, including Mint Shape-Forming Paste. Fragrance: Burberry Brit for Men. Styling: Moses/Margaret Maldonado. Grooming: Riawna Capri/Solo Artists. Special thanks: Hollywood Loft.