CALLUM TURNER IN NEW YORK, JULY 2015.T-SHIRT: THRASHER. JEANS: LUCKY BRAND. HEADPHONES (WORN AROUND WAIST) URBANEARS. STYLING: ANDREW MUKAMAL. HAIR PRODUCTS: SACHAJUAN, INCLUDING SPRAY WAX. HAIR: HIRO + MARI FOR SALON87/BRYAN BANTRY AGENCY. SPECIAL THANKS: McCARREN HOTEL & POOL AND ROOT STUDIOS.
When first speaking with Callum Turner in person, it’s hard not to be hypnotized. The 25-year-old English actor and model has the effusive, unassuming charm and awkward good looks that make him believable as a wistful young soldier, a terrorized punk rocker, or a married woman’s paramour—all roles in which he’s recently excelled. Meeting up at a quiet bar in Brooklyn, Turner exudes the unbridled enthusiasm of someone just coming into his own as an artist. “Today was so surreal,” he says. “I’m in New York City, and I spent the day floating around in a pool with my clothes on. Now I’m here with you in a bar, and later I’ll try to learn to speak Polish for my next movie role. Like, what is this? What’s happening?”
Turner has reason to be excited. After making a name for himself on British television, including a memorable stint on E4’s gritty 2014 whodunit Glue, he was tapped by John Boorman to play a younger version of the director’s own alter-ego in this year’s historical drama Queen & Country. More recent roles find him alongside Anton Yelchin and Imogen Poots as a punk rocker caught up in murder in Jeremy Saulnier‘s ultra-violent Green Room, and on an upcoming miniseries adaptation of War and Peace starring Paul Dano. But perhaps most spectacularly, this fall Turner will appear opposite James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe in Paul McGuigan’s Victor Frankenstein, a radical reimagining of the classic tale. The Frankenstein role, in which Turner plays half of a police duo hot on the heels of Igor and the titular scientist, posed an interesting challenge for the seemingly fearless actor. “I hate horror movies,” he says, laughing. “I get really scared and I don’t want to be scared. I don’t know why, but I’m one of those people who gets frightened and can’t go to sleep.”
Although he admits that his childhood dreams growing up in London didn’t include acting (“I always wanted to be a footballer, actually”), it was an obsessive love of movies that provided Turner with a very thorough, if oddly skewed, education in cinema. “I watched Free Willy probably 100 times,” he says. “I nearly wore out the VHS tape. That movie was my introduction to Michael Madsen. When I finally saw Reservoir Dogs, I was like, ‘That’s the guy from Free Willy!’—which is probably the wrong way around.”