​theo james is the boss

We catch up with the face of HUGO BOSS’s new fragrance to talk acting, celebrity, and the embodiment of masculinity.

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Sep 18 2015, 2:45pm

Dressed head to toe in Hugo Boss, eyes smoldering at the camera, and the exquisite Natasha Poly running her hands over his bare chest, Theo James is the ultimate man of mystery in Darren Aronofsky's short film for BOSS THE SCENT, the new fragrance from Hugo Boss. Shot in a warm amber light, apparently "A paean to skin, scent and seduction", the film oozes with masculine allure, and readily captures the rich smells of ginger, maninka fruit, lavender and burnished leather *swoon*. We caught up with the British actor (read: ultimate heartthrob) for a lesson in the art of seduction.

So, what makes you the ultimate Hugo Boss man?
I think it was an easy fit. As an actor you get approached for various things. Growing up in Britain, Hugo Boss was quite big for me. I remember all the marketing from when I was a teenager. Hugo Boss represented that classic old school man, and I thought that was in line with how I viewed myself (laughs).

Do you think you're the embodiment of masculinity?
Yes! No, no, of course not. I don't think I'm the embodiment of masculinity but I certainly think that the values of the concept at least adhere to mine.

What age were you when you first started wearing fragrance? Deodorant doesn't count, although I feel like you're a Lynx man…
Actually it was quite funny, I was in New York the other day and I was like, "I really need to get some deodorant." I was with some friends and automatically I just reached for the Lynx, being a 30-year-old man my friends were like, "dude, no! What the hell are you doing?" and I was like, "Oh noooo. I'm not allowed". I think I started wearing fragrance at 16, you know all those cheesy ones but then I stopped.

And now you only wear Hugo Boss! Obviously the campaign is built upon the art of seduction, how would you seduce someone?
I think I just wear them down, really. Humour is the main way in for me. But with the campaign it's more about mystery.

Do these steamy scenes come naturally to you or do you find them kind of awks?
To be honest, I was pleased because of the classiness of it, there was no getting out of the swimming pool with a wet t-shirt stretched over a soaking wet body, it was good in that respect. But I've got to say it feels strange as an actor.

What was it like filming with Darren?
It was good; it was a little surreal, because as an actor you have a script and something to work off, whereas with this you are being yourself, which is odd, especially for me, as I'm a firm believer in being an actor without having to blur the boundaries with being a celebrity. So it was surreal, as it was just walking around and interacting with someone as opposed to doing a scene, but because it was Darren, it was sort of easy. He knows his stuff.

So you'd rather be an actor, than celebrity?
I feel that the boundaries are blurring more and more. With more and more young actors establishing themselves, there's an assumption that they are both, but you don't have to be a celebrity to be an actor, acting is your job. I always think of the actors I admire who are working at the moment, and who are doing good stuff, like Michael Fassbender - I cant imagine him tweeting pictures of himself every 15 minutes. I think an interaction is far more meaningful. I said this to a girl the other day who asked me for a selfie, I was in Tribeca and I was drinking and I didn't really want an image taken of me at 1am, so I said, "I'm not going to take a picture but I'd happily sit with you and talk." I asked her why she was in New York and who she was here with. I don't think she was particularly satisfied with that.

It's so interesting though, she only wants your image and validation that she's met you, she's not really interested in who you are, but what you represent…
Sometimes people don't actually want something that's actually real. I mean it's intangible isn't it? As you said, it's not the actual a person that they want, it's just an image or brand, which is kind of meaningless.

How do you reconcile that with your role as the face of Hugo Boss?
I thought this was the classiest way of going about it, because Hugo Boss is what it is and I think the vibe is very me, the whole packaging and everything.

Are you a little bit Australian?
No, can you hear that? My dad is a Kiwi. People have said that though, I must stamp that out!

You're American accent is pretty good though. I thought you were American after I saw Divergent.
Thank you, every British actor thinks they can do an American accent, but it's actually a lot harder than you think.

So what are you working on next?
I just finished a film with John Michael McDonangh. I'm playing a villain who is an absolute psychopath. A complete nut job. It's nice after playing the morally centered good guy in the Divergent franchise.

What would be your dream role?
I'd love to play a musician.

Living the rock star dream?
Exactly. I'd actually like to play a jazz musician, like Chet Baker, but I think Ethan Hawke is playing him as we speak. Damn that cool Ethan Hawke.