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Nicholas Hoult starred in The Turning Point by Jaeger-LeCoultre to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Reverso

Audrey Simon
Audrey Simon • 13 min read
Nicholas Hoult starred in The Turning Point by Jaeger-LeCoultre to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Reverso
Nicholas Hoult starred in The Turning Point by Jaeger-LeCoultre to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Reverso
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British actor Nicholas Hoult recently starred in The Turning Point by Jaeger-LeCoultre to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Reverso. It is a film Hoult identifies with, as he faces his own turning point as he ponders the many significant moments in his life

About A Boy is one of those movies you can watch over and over again. The story is a rom-com classic that is led by a stellar cast of Hugh Grant, Toni Collette and a new-comer Nicholas Hoult, who was about 11-years-old when the movie was made in 2002. Based on a book by Nick Horn- by, the story centres around a free-spirited man (Grant) who tries many avenues to meet women and his last resort was to join a Single Parents Alone Together (SPAT) community group. Marcus (Hoult) is on to his shenanigans and soon makes the bachelor re-think his life.
The main takeaway about this movie is that Hoult, with his bowl-cut hairdo and woolly hat, stole the show and our hearts. Hoult, in a video interview with Options, says: “Getting cast in About A Boy was a big step professionally that opened many doors to talented filmmakers and having opportunities to play different characters.”

Hoult, a friend of Jaeger-Le- Coultre since 2017, is currently enjoying huge success in his TV series The Great. The comedy-drama is loosely based on Catherine The Great, the 18th century Russian Empress and the country’s longest-ruling female leader. He plays Peter III, which earned him Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations.

Before this, Hoult is also known for headlining block-buster films like the X-Men franchise as well as for award-winning films like 2018’s critically-acclaimed period piece The Favourite. This year alone, two movies are due to be screened: The upcoming monster movie Renfield and dark comedy The Menu.

Most recently, Hoult was featured in the film The Turning Point by Jaeger-LeCoultre to highlight the 90th anniversary of the Reverso. The timepiece was created in 1931 to meet the requests of polo players who wanted to wear a watch to keep time but needed it to be protected from the rigours of the game.

This iconic watch is identifiable through its sleek, Art Deco lines and unique reversible case. Through nine decades, the Reverso has continually reinvented itself without ever compromising its identity: It has housed more than 50 different calibres, while its blank metal flip side has become a canvas for creative expression, decorated with enamel, engravings, or gemstones. Ninety years after the Reverso was born, it continues to epitomise the spirit of modernity that inspired its creation.

See also: Femme finesse

It is with this in mind that The Turning Point is based on, as it follows Nicholas through the process of an audition, contrasting moments of intense focus as he prepares to go on-stage, with periods of calm reflection amid the forests of the Vallée de Joux in Switzerland.

As the film moves between the two settings, the actor flips the Reverso Tribute Duoface Tourbillon on his wrist to reveal its second, contrasting face. The second time zone on the reverse side subtly underlines the sense of reaching a new point.

Speaking to Options via video call from Los Angeles recently, Hoult discusses the respect he has about watchmaking, his early start as a child actor, and the turning points in his own life.

See also: Cut above the rest

What is it about Jaeger- LeCoultre that resonates with you?
Personally, it resonates with me, because I have lots of wonderful memories from my life, and have been related to the Venice Film Festival, a festival that is very close to me and very proud of the films that I’ve had première there. Jaeger-LeCoultre sponsored the film festival throughout most of those years.
Throughout a lot of those moments, for me, I was wearing a Jaeger-LeCoultre watch. It played a big part in the event and the people that I now am fortunate to work alongside were there. It’s kind of that wonderful thing that I feel like we’ve been intertwined for almost 12 years.
The thing that resonates with me about them as a brand is that they’re very true to their roots. And they still, you know, create all their pieces at the manufacture in Vallée de Joux, which is where they originally started creating the watches. They are very classic and true to the methods, but also always progressive and, creating beautiful pieces of art that you can wear on your wrist, essentially. It’s very inspiring to see all the artists and the watchmakers and the people that work there and understand what goes into creating each timepiece.

The visit to the Jaeger-LeCoultre manufacture offered you a new perspective on the way you view watchmaking?
I’ve actually attempted to try and kind of, you know, put in a tiny cog on a watch or attach a screw. And I don’t even have the stability in my fingers or hand to be able to do it. It’s just not possible for me.
To then visit and see that precision and creativity and watching people work on the microscopes creating enamel paintings of beautiful portraits or engraving and guilloche-ing, shaping the faces of the watches and stuff. It’s just truly incredible to witness and it just gives you a whole new level of appreciation of how individual each piece is and how much love and craftsmanship goes into it.

How was The Turning Point conceived? And what was it like working with French director and cinematographer Théo Gottlieb?
Théo was fantastic to work with, he’s got such an energy about him when you’re shooting a short film like this, you’ve only got a limited amount of time, and he’s really brilliant at capturing the feeling of what this film was about. That [the movie] was for me, obviously, is the build-up to an audition is, all those moments that have taken you to that moment, and how you then take the leap of faith to create and go on to the next part of your journey or story.
That’s something that resonates with me most. I think about this film because each of those moments is a combination of who we are up until that point. With acting, you’re always having micro versions of that, whether it’s an audition or a meeting and how you elevate and progress but also, it’s something that in life, all our experiences completely take us to that next step and they’re what sparks our imagination or passion or creativity for what we want to do next. So it’s fun to be able to tell that story with Théo and with Jaeger-LeCoultre.

And of course, what was that turning point in your life?

This is interesting because there are so many that you can kind of correlate how things have and probably only in hindsight. But obviously, getting cast in About A Boy was a big step, professionally. Then that opened many doors to talented filmmakers and having opportunities to play different characters. And with acting — I had it described to me once — it’s like riding a wave and, you know, there’s a wave picture up in the air and if you capture that one, hopefully, and you see where that character takes you and that role, and then perhaps there’s another good one after it. There have been lots of micro-turning points along the way. And, you know, some of them potentially, at the moment might have seemed like, negatives that ended up being positives.

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The movie is also about the Reverso the timepiece, and it’s celebrating its 90th anniversary. What are your thoughts on the Reverso?
The Reverso is such a classic watch, it’s incredible what they’re doing with it, particularly, the watch that I wore, in the film, the Reverso Tribute Duo- face Tourbillon. It’s just incredible and beautiful. I felt very lucky to get to wear that for a couple of days.
The Reverso for me with its duo face is the closeness I get when travelling in different time zones, or just the ability to change it. Flip the watch around, perhaps you’ve been wearing it throughout the day, and then you’re going to an event in the evening and you flip the face and it feels like you’ve prepared for an evening and changed up your attire, not a persona. And for those who want to capture the moment, mine has engraving on the back with my son’s initials. It becomes very personal and it feels like you’re kind of carrying a little piece of your life hidden with you.

What do you think you will be doing at 90?
I don’t know. Perhaps I’ll still be acting, I mean, if my health allows... I’m not sure. I haven’t thought that far ahead yet, to be honest with you.

You have received amazing reviews for your role as Peter III in the TV series The Great, in fact, many have been quite surprised by your comedic timing. Your reaction?
I don’t think that my close friends weren’t too shocked by me playing more comedic roles because I do enjoy trying to make people laugh. I grew up loving Jim Carrey and Robin Williams and their films. When I read Tony McNamara’s writing in terms of The Great it was just something that really resonated with me and I understood the voice that he writes, and that kind of clicked with the rhythm of it, and the dry wit and bluntness that he also creates. It just felt like a new challenge and unexpected and something different from what I’ve been reading. It felt kind of original and different in terms of what it was doing and saying with history, but also the character specifically.

Was it filmed during the pandemic? What were some of the challenges?
The second season was shot during the pandemic so we were fortunate because we’d already shot the first [series] and we already had an understanding of the characters and we already had a lot of those relationships develop from shooting the first series because obviously with the regulations of the masks and, what you need to do to keep us safe, it meant that there wasn’t a normal film set. It’s quite a social and personal place where
everyone and there’s a joint target or aim of what everyone’s trying to create. So with that, it kind of scuppered a little bit to keep everyone safe. I think. We were fortunate we already had those experiences together so that there was already cohesiveness on the set.

You started acting very young in the movie About A Boy. What advice would you tell that kid today?
I don’t know, I think after About A Boy I was very aware of things. A lot of child actors don’t get to act as an adult. I think that was something that I was quite fearful of, because I knew I really enjoyed acting, but was aware that I probably wouldn’t get to do it as an adult. It was quite a daunting prospect for a kid to think may not have peaked in terms of life, but you’ve achieved something that you might never be able to achieve again. I don’t know why I’d say that to him exactly. But I’d say enjoy it maybe a little bit more than I also think in the reality of the situation is the fact that I was aware and slightly fearful of that was probably what made me work harder and not take it for granted and has afforded me the ability to keep going at the moment. So it’s a balance, isn’t it?

You have done stage, TV and movies in various genres, if you had to choose which type you are most happy doing what would it be?
I love making films and TV just because I like the process. I like the environment of sets. I like that it’s different every day. And there’s new challenges. I really love that. Theatre I love but it is also terrifying. I love watching great theatre. I hope to do some again, at some point in the future, I’d love to do another play. But at the moment, I love all the different aspects of filmmaking as well, whether it’s the editing process, or the camera work, and the sound design or the score, all those sorts of things, there’s so many different departments and things to try and understand and get a good grasp of that. It’s an exciting world to be a part of.

What was your childhood like? How did it shape the person you are today?
I had a happy, good childhood. I’m very fortunate that I have a great family who encouraged me, but never forced me into anything. And were supportive of what I wanted to try and do. I feel very fortunate. My mum and dad would take us, me and my brothers and sisters to auditions four or five times a week, there’s always those things that we were talking about a turning point. Looking back, I can see the big turning points of the successes of luck I’ve had at times workwise but also, you know, behind the cameras, the time and effort and sacrifices of my family to afford the opportunities that didn’t work out as well as the ones that did. I feel very fortunate that my parents worked hard and got us into a position where they could give us those chances.

Moving forward, what is 2022 looking for you?
At the start of the year I will be shooting a movie called Renfield which is about the relationship between Dracula and his henchman who has been working with him for a long time and wants to escape his clutches. It’s kind of an action-comedy film. And then the film that I just finished will probably be coming out this year. It’s called The Menu, a dark comedy-thriller about a destination restaurant run by the greatest chef in the world and the guests that go there on a Sunday evening and what unfolds for them.

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