There was a lot of God talk in Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, one of the films Douglas Booth appeared in last year. Some believed; others didn’t. But let it be known: If a higher power does exist, she sculpted Booth as a movie star. Sitting here in downtown Chicago on an early winter afternoon, in a crisp leather jacket, shorn stubble, and black fedora propped ever so slightly atop his flowing brown mane, the 22-year-old British actor can’t help but exude the required charisma and charm.
“You can feel it slowly spreading,” says Booth, coyly speaking of his rank as one of Hollywood’s fastest rising stars. The young actor appears as the spaceship-manning Titus in the new Wachowski siblings sci-fi epic Jupiter Ascending this month, a role that will be followed by his part in the much-awaited film adaptation of the Jane Austen/Seth Grahame-Smith mash-up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies later this year. Despite the lighthearted nature of the latter project (Booth imagines dreaming up the concept of the film with his friends over beers and exclaiming, “What a badass idea!”) there’s a professorial nature to the way he discusses his craft. Surveying the purposefully distressed-looking room at Soho House Chicago, he muses, “As an actor you’ve got relationships with everything. Whether it be people or your space around you—you have to create that.”
Booth sees himself as an architect, one who visualizes a scene when in his trailer, sets it to his subconscious, and moves forward. He’s taken the same methodical approach to his career: The son of a painter mother and shipping consultant father, Booth began acting at age 16, slowly carving out what has become an enviable path. In just over five years, following lead roles in smaller U.K. films, like 2010’s Boy George biopic Worried About the Boy and 2013’s Carlo Carlei adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, he began landing supporting roles in bigger films like Noah, and last September’s The Riot Club. The young actor is now fully immersed in the chaotic life of a burgeoning movie star. “You have to accept that that is going to be a version of your life,” he says wistfully of his newfound fame and status as a tabloid staple, having been linked to the likes of Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus. “But you can carve out your own version of normality.” Still, Booth knows things are only ramping up. “I feel like I’m at the very baby point of my career,” he asserts. “I’m still learning and discovering. I’ll be learning till the day I die.”