Alex Pettyfer — who was in Beastly, I Am Number Four, and Magic Mike, but is probably best known for being a prick — was on Brett Easton Ellis’ podcast this week. Having read all of Easton Ellis’ novels growing up, this was my first experience with his podcast. He’s kind of a narcissistic asshole, but then again, so is Marc Maron.
There’s something different about Ellis’ brand of assholery, though. There’s an intent to harm behind it, and best I could tell from the podcast (and his social media presence), he really hates Millennials. Not in an out-of-touch grumpy-old man kind of way, but in a disdainful kind of way, as though Millennials are doing it wrong because they aren’t out snorting lines and killing hookers, like they did back in his day.
I’ll grant Ellis this much, though: He’s good at needling his guests for gossip, and where it concerns Pettyfer, there’s no shortage of it. Pettyfer is regarded as one of the entertainment industry’s biggest assholes, and Pettyfer knows it. I was ready to hate him for it, too, especially because of all the reasons he gave to excuse his assholery (for instance, he asked for a private plane to do the promotional tour for Endless Love because he’s afraid of flying, which sounds like a major prick move until you learn that he at least tried to pay for it himself).
Ultimately, Pettyfer proved hard to hate. He’s self-aware — he knows about his reputation and knows that it has cost him jobs (he was up for Gale in The Hunger Games, but lost out because the studio didn’t want to take a risk on a guy with well-known behavioral problems) and he genuinely seems to have put that behind him. He fully accepts that he’s responsible for the perception others have of him; he chalks a lot of it up to youth; and he sounds like he’s matured.
Take, for instance, the anecdote he shared about Channing Tatum, his co-star in Magic Mike. As Pettyfer tells it, Tatum didn’t want Pettyfer on the movie in the first place, because of Pettyfer’s reputation. Tatum lobbied Steven Soderbergh hard to get him off the movie. Tatum, a co-financier on the movie and an “extraordinary businessman,” according to Pettyfer, thought the actor was a bad gamble. Soderbergh thought he was perfect the role, however, and cast him over Tatum’s objections.
But that’s not why Tatum disliked him, as Pettyfer explained.
“Channing Tatum does not like me, and for many reasons,” he told Ellis. “Many being my own fault.” Pettyfer was stand-offish on set, though he explained it was because he was insecure, because his reps had told him that he shouldn’t talk because everything he said was horrible.
But that’s not why Tatum disliked him, either.
What happened was, Pettyfer moved into an apartment owned by a friend of Channing’s with his girlfriend. However, he had to move out after a week because he was allergic to mold and dust. When he left, however, they asked him for the four months’ rent.
“I should have paid it, there and then. What happened was my cousin passed away. His lung collapsed and he threw up and choked and died in his sleep, and I forgot about the situation with the apartment. All of a sudden, I got a very negative email from Channing, rightfully so, saying ‘Don’t fuck my friends. You owe money. Pay the fucking money. Don’t be a clown.’”
“I really took that the wrong way, and I shouldn’t have. I emailed him back and saying, ‘Listen, I’m in a very negative situation, a negative headspace. Can you respect me for a moment, and blah blah blah.’”
“And I just got hounded, during this time of grieving, for money, and by the end of it, I just basically said, ‘Fuck them. What is money when life is so much more and I’m not dealing with this and I’m not paying.’”
“And I should’ve paid. I think he was looking for an excuse to not like me … [but] I was wrong in not paying. From that point, we went on to reshoots, and he’d already told everyone he didn’t like me and, what Channing says goes. He is a movie star. He’s incredible and he’s done so well for himself.”
“I am thankful for what happened,” Pettyfer continued. “It was me who made the poor decisions, not him. I made the poor decisions … so for me, I totally understand.”
He gets it. He understands why Tatum dislikes him, and he takes full blame for it. He was a prick, but maybe he’s been humbled by the experience. He did add, in fact, that it was a turning point — the end of his selfish behavior. But maybe that’s just the lack of movie roles talking.