Max Thieriot is not even 24 years old but has already worked with notable directors like Doug Liman, Atom Egoyan, Wes Craven and Nick Cassavetes. Thieriot made his big-screen debut in 2004's "Catch That Kid" opposite Kristen Stewart, with whom he remains close friends. You might recognize him as the younger version of Hayden Christensen's character in "Jumper" and for roles in movies like the horror film "My Soul to Take" and the psychosexual drama "Chloe."
In the thriller "House at the End of the Street," Thieriot plays a young man, Ryan, who lives in said house where both of his parents were brutally murdered. This has rendered him an outcast in the small community, but that doesn’t seem to bother Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence), who's moved in down the street with her overprotective mother (Elisabeth Shue) and who feels connected to Ryan. Is he really a nice guy who just had bad things happen to him or does mother know best?
We caught up with Thieriot just before "House at the End of the Street" opens in theaters on Friday and asked him important questions like how to pronounce his last name, how sexy it was or wasn't to play Hunger Games with Jennifer Lawrence's face on camera and his enduring friendship with K.Stew.
First of all, how do you properly pronounce your last name?
"Teer-ee-ut." That's how I say it, anyway. It's French, so I'm actually saying it wrong, but my family has always said it that way for whatever reason.
"House at the End of the Street" is being billed as a Hitchcockian thriller for a younger generation. Is that what attracted you to the project most?
No, reading the script is what initially attracted me to the project. I was surprised and shocked when I finished reading it. You can generally see what is coming with films in this genre, but not with this one. I was thinking about it. The character had so many different layers and he's so complex, so that was appealing. It's in the style of Hitchcock — who I'm a huge fan of — and I'll be diving into more of that soon.
You and Jennifer Lawrence have a long make-out session in "House at the End of the Street." How many takes did it take to do that scene, and how fun or awkward was it?
It was shot from a few different angles, so, like, ten? Eight? It's hard to say. It's funny because the first take was a little bit awkward and you're nervous, and then it becomes totally normal and you just continue to do it. It's like, "Oh, here we go again. Ready?" Obviously she's a very pretty girl, so … it doesn't suck.
In both "House at the End of the Street" and "My Soul to Take," you play characters that have to shift abruptly between different personalities. Exactly how many people live inside you?
On a normal day [Laughs]? I keep falling into this stuff, huh? It's fun to do it because it's challenging and makes me consciously aware of everything — even actions, like how I move. I try to steal little snippets of people I have met in my life and do research on psychopaths to get a feel for what makes a lot of these people tick and find some similarities and common ground between them.
What was your first acting gig?
"Catch That Kid" with Kristen Stewart and Corbin Bleu. It came out in 2004.
Do you remember what you bought with your very first paycheck?
I saved up to buy a 1970 Boss 302 Mustang. I finally got the car when I was 15.
Who is your acting inspiration?
I'm a big Johnny Depp fan as an actor, but recently it's kind of shifted. There are a lot of actors that are insanely talented, so I don't say who my favorite is anymore. There is Daniel Day-Lewis, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Dustin Hoffman, Sean Penn — there are too many. I would love to have Brad Pitt's career because I like 90% of the movies he's in. He does some awesome movies like "Legends of the Fall," "Snatch," "Fight Club" — I would trade anything to be in some of those movies.
What would you do if you weren't acting?
I used to race go-carts and do off-road racing for a long time, so I was kind of planning on racing cars. I started acting, so that shut down quickly. If not that, I don't know — I couldn't tell you.
You've co-starred with people like Kristen Stewart, Rachel Bilson and Jennifer Lawrence. Who is your dream love interest on-screen or an actress you think you'd have chemistry with?
It's obviously not Jen anymore because we've already done that. I'm really close friends with Kristen and have been since I started acting because she's the first person that I ever met. That might be a little difficult because we're so close, but at the same time maybe it would be easy because we're good friends. She appears in "Jumper" but I didn't have any scenes with her. We've been trying to do something together since then, but it didn't work out. I'm sure eventually we'll do something together.
Do people recognize you on the street?
It depends. People always say, "You look really familiar to me. Do I know you from somewhere?" And I'll just say, "No, I don't think so." I wouldn't say that happens all the time — usually in airports — and as long as I'm fairly clean-shaven because I don't have any movies coming out where I have a beard.
What projects are next for you?
"Disconnect" is a crazy, awesome movie in the style of "Crash" with three storylines combining. Mine is with Andrea Riceborough and I play a street kid who makes his money being an Internet webcam stripper — much darker than "Magic Mike," let's say. I did a film called "Yellow," which is Nick Cassavetes' next movie. I'm also in a movie called "Foreverland" but I don't know how much of a release it's going to get — probably limited.
Mac or PC?
New York or Los Angeles?
"Harry Potter," "Twilight" or "The Hunger Games?"
I'm going to go with Kris on this and take "Twilight."
Rock or rap?
Beer or wine?
Ooh … I don't know if I can do beer or wine. Both? Can I have both, please?
Twitter or Facebook?
Justin Bieber or Justin Timberlake?
Oh gosh [Laughs]. Justin Timberlake.
Vampires, zombies or werewolves?
Lady Gaga or Madonna?
Apples or oranges?
UFC or WWE?
UFC, hands down. And throw a shout-out to Ramsey Nijem and Court McGee. I'm buddies with those two guys.