VMAN recently interviewed Olly about his steady rise to fame:
It took Olly Alexander awhile to decide on being an actor. “First I wanted to be a gymnast,” he says. “Then a tennis player. Then a philosopher—I got really into Hermann Hesse and all these Beat poets. Then I wanted to write. Then I got really into music and wanted to be in a band. Then came acting.”
At 17, he landed a role on the U.K. children’s TV show Summerhill. Soon after that, he was cast in Gaspar Noé’s highly anticipated Enter the Void, which required him to drop out of school and travel to Tokyo, an experience he found surreal. “Going there, you feel like a child again because you can’t read anything or understand anything,” he says. “Everything is new. You break about a million traditions every time you walk inside a shop.”After his turn on Summerhill, Alexander could have been dismissed as kiddie bubblegum, but Enter the Void established him as a pedigreed dramatic talent. Still just 18, he has been enviably busy, most recently getting cast as an anarchic prince in a new adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels (which stars Jack Black as Gulliver). This year alone, he has four films slated for release, playing damaged characters in each. Enter the Void finds him double-crossing his best friend and getting the friend killed in the process. In Jane Campion’s John Keats biopic, Bright Star, he plays Keats’s tubercular younger brother, Tom. In Dust, a postapocalyptic film with a cast of three, he plays an incestuous twin who pursues his sister. And in Tormented, he plays an unlikable geek who, as in the Noé film, sells out his best friend, only this time he gets killed himself. “Nobody likes the guy,” says Alexander of the character. “He just smokes a lot of weed. And cries a lot. I do a lot of crying in my films.”
Alexander admits that he has already played quite a few “nasty betrayers,” as he puts it. “Maybe people see some sort of sneaky, evil presence inside me. I don’t know. But a character capable of betraying his best friend is more interesting to play.” Half seriously, he blames his hair. “At castings I always get the, like, ‘Wow, your hair.’ I always tell them they can straighten it.” He laughs. “But they always just fit it into the story. Actually, my hair is probably the only reason I’m working.”Olly also recently took 46th position in tMF's Top 50 Hottest Young Actors list. Screenterrier thinks he probably should have been higher...