Not many men can get away with unlaced, 24-hole, leather boots in the middle of summer. You know the sort: those footwear monstrosities worn by the sort of boys who bask perennially outside R&B sweatboxes such as London's Movida, all smooth, oily chests and grotesquely undone shirts. At a time of year when the mercury is touching nearly 30 degrees (with a little wishful thinking) and when socks really should be banned, it takes a certain youthful élan, a rebel aesthete, to get away with scuffed leather biker boots as heavy as monster truck tyres.

But there he is. Puss in Boots incarnate. On a hired bike, no less. Pinballing through the summer traffic, like some kind of pedal-powered punk rock cherub. Combined with his chopped, golden mane, a favourite trinket or two and a wobbly hand signal, actor Mr Campbell Bower - star of the Twilight franchise, Mr Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd, and the last two installments of Harry Potter - can make even such an unseasonal footwear faux pas work in his favour.

"Well, they help with the cycling," he tells me, puffing enthusiastically, having just narrowly avoided oncoming traffic with a deft swerve worthy of an F1 pilot. "And I love cycling around town; I seem to have taken it under my wing these past few months. It's much calmer than getting on the sweaty old

tube. Particularly as all too often it can be dangerously crammed with effervescent Twilight fans that spot me. Sometimes you just don't want the bother, do you? Not to patronise our wonderful fans but sometimes they don't see you but the character from the books, or the films. And yes, some are, um, a little bit mental - but hey, everyone is a little bit mental in their own way."

Candid, sharp and about as absurdly good looking as a man can be without the rest of us wanting to simply burst into tears and never leave the house again, Mr Campbell Bower is the sort of actor that likes to focus on the experience, rather than solely the goal. Fame, it seems, came a little too fast for this 22-year-old Londoner.

"Well my first proper movie was Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Directed by Tim Burton. With Johnny Depp. Talk about intimidating. Not only that but I had to sing. Christ. But what a first offer. I had done some theatre previously, but nothing with such a wide release or such an expected audience or cast. Any actor at any stage in their career would cut off their left testicle to work with Tim [Burton]. It was amazing.

"But, of course, once it was over I came back to earth with a bump. I had to tell myself that it wasn't a main role, and that I couldn't now go and just get any part I desired. I had to build myself back up. I had to prove myself. And I'm glad because if the rest of my career had just been handed to me on a plate back then I wouldn't be the person I am today."

If Mr Campell Bower sounds less like a house-trained movie star surrounded by yes men and more like a somewhat highly-sprung British thespian, off the leash and spoiling for enlightenment, it's because that is precisely how he likes it. "When the camera is up and running, yes focus, focus, focus. But otherwise

THE WORK


THe King
Mr Campbell Bower plays King Arthur (above with co-star Mr Joseph Fiennes) in the TV drama Camelot, which airs on the UK's Channel 4
the sailor
His first "proper movie" was Mr Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd, where he had to not only act alongside Mr Johnny Depp but sing, too
the vampire
On playing the black-cloaked vampire, Caius, in the Twilight series, the actor has said that his fans sometimes "don't see you but the character from the books, or the films."

what's the point of being in this business if you can't appreciate all the tomfoolery and backstage and off-camera antics? I love the rehearsals, I love being on set, and I love the camaraderie. If you can't share the experience with those around you then you should clear off, quite frankly."

Mr Campbell Bower can be seen on the UK's Channel 4 alongside the beautifully free-spirited Ms Eva Green in the new TV drama Camelot, a reinterpretation of the romantic King Arthur legend, this time with more CGI bang for your television buck, some of which Mr Campbell Bower had to really prepare for.

"It's boys with their toys: sword fights, horseback riding, the medieval full monty. I did all my own stunts - other than one 125-foot fall that I wasn't allowed to do - although I did break my ankle at one point. That hurt."

Come September and it's back to the big screen, this time with Mr Rhys Ifans and Ms Joely Richardson in Mr Roland Emmerich's Anonymous - a Mr Dan Brown-esque historical "what if" that pitches the suggestion that Shakespeare's plays weren't written by, well, Shakespeare at all, but rather the Earl of Oxford. "I play the younger Oxford, and Rhys plays the older version. It's a conspiracy theory, really. And a little inquisitive poke into history's eye; the grit in the oyster. After all what are the movies for other than to entertain?"

A savvy philosophy for one still so young. And with a flourish Mr Campbell Bower strikes hard with his right foot, and wobbles off into the British summertime, keeping his head while all those around him turn theirs.

Mr Jonathan Heaf is Features Director of British GQ

Anonymous trailer


Anonymous is out on the 30th of September in the UK and US

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