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Rupert Friend

Rupert Friend

The Young Victoria

Total Film

April 2009

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About to break out of the shadows…

Rupert Friend is best known for being the spitting image of Orlando Bloom and stepping out with Keira Knightley. Not that he’d admit to it, but persistently being linked to the Pirates pair has been a cross to bear for the 27-year-old, who’d much rather attract limelight on his own merits, thank you very much.

He’s about to get his chance, with two roles in quick succession that should shift him out of the blockbuster duo’s shadows. First, a debonair Prince Albert, charming the corset off Emily Blunt in The Young Victoria, secondly a seedy, turn-of-the-century courtesan bedding Michelle Pfeiffer in Chéri. “Emily’s stunning as Victoria,” enthuses Friend of his Young Vic co-star. As for Pfeiffer? “I wanted her to bathe me in the film, because the story’s all about that kind of sexual, mothering love.” His wish was granted.

Friend only got into thesping as a trade-off with dad, who caved in to his son’s global wanderlust if he agreed to apply to drama school. Graduating from Webber Douglas, he shared a bawdy snog with Johnny Depp in debut The Libertine, met Knightley on Pride & Prejudice and got stuck in a career rut until his monstrous Nazi in The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas made everyone sit up and take notice again.

The Young Victoria and Chéri cement it – the lad’s got talent. Maybe he’ll finally be able to scribble his own name for goggle-eyed fans. “I was chased through an airport in Thailand by these women who said, ‘Please, please, please can we have an autograph? Just write, To Kerry & Suzi, Love, Orlando.’ They would not leave it, so in the end, I had to do it. Sorry Orlando – I signed your name.”

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