Garrett Hedlund: the new Brad Pitt?

Upcoming screen star and former Prada model Garrett Hedlund is the new face of YSL’s men’s fragrance

Do you mind being called the new Brad Pitt ? No, not at all. I feel honoured. I worked with him when I was just 18 on my first movie Troy . I remember watching A River Runs Through It with my mother as a child and she pointed at him and said to me "that's you!" So it was very surreal to play with him and he has continued to be a great example of how to deal with everything the industry throws at you. I have respect for how he handles life under pressure.

You also worked with the Irish actress Fionnula Flanagan? Yes that was in John Singleton 's thriller Four Brothers in 2005. She was wonderful. She gave me a sweetheart glass [a crystal trinket box] for the time we worked together. She was like a mother to me.

Describe your background? I grew up on a small farm in Minnesota and my whole town, Winnesaka, was totally Swedish. Our farm was in the middle of nowhere and the furthest we travelled was a few hours away, so you grew up wanting to see the rest of the world and the usual way, the classic way to get out, was through sport. I did it through acting.

Do you go back? When you are there, there is a lot of silence – it's what drives you away and what drives you back, the peace and freedom. I stayed with Tim McGraw (with whom he played alongside in Friday Night Lights ) in Nashville and it was a wonderful recharge. He still texts me all the time and keeps in touch.

Did you always want to be an actor? Everybody at some point has a little bit of a desire to act. As a kid I used to write to the studios like Universal and MGM and ask to be in a movie – I was just a little kid living on a farm. But after I moved to Arizona to live with my mother I started taking acting class at 60 bucks an hour . . . My father wanted me to take over the farm, but the more you are on a farm, the more you wanted the city. My friends had dates and all that and there I was on a tractor.


You were a model for Prada ? Yes, that was an invitation to come and work with Gary Oldman, Jamie Bell, (who is one of my best friends) and Willem Dafoe for the 2012 winter campaign. It felt like a different role. It felt Victorian in a way.

How does it feel to be a brand ambassador for YSL? I see it as like another role, but now [with the fragrance] there are more ladies trying to swoon at me . . . And the suit I am wearing is the best I've ever worn . . . But none of my pals do make-up and I don't get comments like 'hey, you are wearing a lot of concealer today!'

How do you define your style?
My life doesn't revolve around fashion. I am much more of a T-shirt, jeans and boots kind of person. But wearing this suit is awesome.

You studied journalism at one point?
Yes, at school. I was always interested in literature and in terms of writing, I like to document what I do when I am travelling. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye was one of the first novels that I read and I was transfixed by it. I loved his approach to detail and the romanticism of that time and the sadness of time passing. I remember he wrote that the only thing worth learning is humility. I was fascinated by Jack Kerouac too – I grew up around country roads after all – and read On the Road at high school. When I got the part [in the movie based on the novel], I just couldn't believe it.

Were you ever interested in sport?
I played it for just a year in Minnesota and when I moved to Arizona, but it was never a starter. Friday Night Lights was a sports drama – I played the son of an abusive father. What draws me to certain roles is doing something different.

What's your latest movie?
I am working with the Coen brothers on the movie Inside Llewelyn Davis which is loosely based around the early 1960s and Bob Dylan – and it's about a struggling folk singer trying to get his chance to be noticed and recognised. The Coens are from Minnesota and I am from Minnesota and I remember as a kid when Fargo came out. It was made around where I grew up and people were saying that it made us all out to be a bunch of hillbillies!

You seem to be very determined? I am very determined – my mother was very determined, very strong and a great believer in travelling and getting to see the world. She was hardworking, was once a professional footballer and has been a strong influence in my life. I feel proud and honoured to be where I am now. My work ethic and commitment is increasing all the time, but I never lose a sense of wonderment.