Ocean Drive Magazine Interview
Smashing success as a pretty face was just a foothold for
this ambitious, romantic actor who just loves to rock the boat.
his looks could kill, we'd all be dead"
Ian Somerhalder is one of those rare inchoate It-listers--an unaffected star
amid Hollywood's glutted galaxy. He flipped off this year's Golden Globe Awards
("It wasn't such a great year"), won't discuss all the commercials he
has done ("In case anyone has actually seen them"), and doesn't dwell
on that whole modeling thing he did a few years back ("I've done stuff for
Guess?, Versace, Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabanna, Gucci--but I don't live by
it"). Somerhalder was the face of Guess? for two consecutive Fall seasons
until he landed the role as Hamilton Fleming on the WB's Young Americans.
"I saw modeling as a stepping stone to an acting career," explains the
22-year-old Louisiana native. "When I finally got the chance to pursue my
dream, I had to call Paul Marciano [founder of Guess?] and beg him to let me out
of my contract."
A sympathetic Marciano agreed to his release, and Somerhalder has focused on
film ever since. His spot on Young Americans led to a role in the MTV feature
Anatomy of a Hate Crime, the story of 21-year-old gay college student Matthew
Shepard's attack and murder. The program debuted in January, launching the
network's yearlong Fight for Your Rights: Take a Stand Against Discrimination
campaign. "This program teaches people that it only takes a single unlucky
moment to lead to tragedy," he says. "If you come into contact with
one really f***ed-up person, they can truly take your life away."
Somerhalder wrapped his big-screen flick, Life as a House, just last
month. "Itís one of those really special, amazing projects that come
along, with a fantastic director [Irwin Winkler] and brilliant script," in
which his character "pimps out Kevin Klineís son to old men for $300 a
week." The film, also starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Mary Steenburgen
and slated to hit theaters this fall, tells the story of a man searching for
lifeís meaning and a relationship with his son.
While Somerhalder "works [his] butt off" in L.A. trying to book his
next feature, he makes regular trips to New York to visit his "absolutely
beautiful, driven, determined" fashion-student girlfriend. "You
canít get anywhere without the people who have come into your life. I thank my
girlfriend for getting me out of bed every morning and making me want to
work," explains Somerhalder, who installed Kodak Videophones above both of
their computers so, although they live on different coasts, they can eat
breakfast "together" and watch each other work. "Every project I
do is one step closer to her."
Written by Suzy Buckley for Ocean Drive Magazine