The Fourth Brother
New York City – Garrett Hedlund has only three movies under his belt. And one of them hasn’t even opened in theaters yet. But at twenty years old, and six feet, three inches on either side of that belt, Hedlund’s blonde hair and blue-eyed charm is enough to make a name for this young, budding actor.
He played Patroclus, in his first film, "Troy", cousin to Brad Pitt’s Achilles character. There, he opened at number one in its first week of release. His second film, "Friday Night Lights," also opened at number one. However, have you even heard of the man?
"Four Brothers’" producer Lorezno di Boneventura is confident that the third time will be the charm. I spoke with both di Boneventura (who has a remarkable record – having produced among many films, "Constantine," the first "Matrix" and the upcoming "Doom") and Hedlund, separately, during a recent weekend in the Big Apple, after coming across his path both formally in a studio scheduled interview, and informally- as he walked un-noticed in the Essex House, where a weekend of the movie’s stars floating through the lobbies should have made him more noticeable as the star he just may become. Yet, he floated through - handsome, and at least twice on the big screen as a person to be remembered, and now it seems he’ll leave his mark.
"Just look at him," di Boneventura says, rhetorically, yet in awe, about the genetically gifted Hedlund. "He is beautiful. When you see him on screen, you can’t help but stare at him. And, he can act."
While the name Garrett Hedlund is not yet a household name, or rolling off the tongues of most straight teen age girls and gay boys and men – people whom will ultimately make a star of Hedlund, if he is to become one – after starring alongside three of Hollywood and music’s most recognizable names, things will undoubtedly change.
Along with Mark Wahlberg, who got his Hollywood start in the music industry, Hedlund is also the brother of Tyrese Gibson – a model, actor and aspiring singer – and Andre 3000, whose real name is Andre Benjamin and the person responsible for making Outkast one of the world’s most famous bands. How much more famous can Outkast get? During the most recent presidential campaign, the Bush twins sang Outkast’s praises for the world to hear, when they gave their speech at the Republican National Convention.
One of the curious things about the movie, "Four Brothers," aside that Mark Walhberg and Garrett Hedlund, two white boys and Andre 3000 and Tyrese, two black men, are labeled brothers in the literal sense – well, it’s pretty simple, they are adopted brothers – is that John Singleton, the film’s director, chose Hedlund, the one with no musical experience, to play the sole musician of the foursome.
"It is kind of funny," laughs Hedlund, outfitted in blue jeans and a grey pullover t-shirt, which accents the deep tan on his long, smooth arms. "I never played music for money, but I did do a lot of trombone playing in school, choir in church and karaoke for fun. So I am not incompetent when it comes to music."
The story that makes "Four Brothers" unique, in a summer of inane comedies, and insulting sci-fi action films, is that it is a film with heart, action, convincing storytelling, powerful acting and adept direction.
The "Brothers’" adopted mother is assassinated. While the boys have not been close with each other for many years, their mother’s violent murder brings them together – and they become convinced the police are incompetent and/or unwilling to find her murderers, so they vow to hunt down and kill her killers.
While cooped up, scheming to bring down the killers, the boys bond with each other again, after years of being estranged. Hedlund’s character, Jack, is the youngest and is the one picked on the most, called fag, and beat up, perhaps as many older, lower class siblings would do to their younger, artistically inclined brother.
I asked Hedlund if he though being teased, being called a homo and fag by his brothers in the movie, was meant to insult him or if it was done all in jest.
"I might have been teased about being gay," says Hedlund, "But you really don’t know if my character is gay or straight or asexual. He doesn’t have a boyfriend, nor a girlfriend, and talks about neither sex. He is more of a loner, happy to be with his guitar, alone in his room. But, nonetheless, I think he is the strongest of all the brothers. He might be teased a lot but he gets the job done, whatever the job may be."
Another exclusive that Hedlund is allowed in the movie is nudity. "Yeah, I am the only one who gets to show off his butt," grins Hedlund, when I ask about the shower scene. Wahlberg is sitting on the toilet tending to business, and Hedlund is in the shower, while another brother is standing in the doorway as they carry on a conversation, waiting to pee. "It’s realistic for them," he says, of the brothers, "to be sharing the bathroom, since there is only one in the house.
"As for showing off my butt, I couldn’t care less. I am sure I have done other things in my life that have been more shocking."
Hedlund, who grew up in Minnesota and moved to Scottsdale, Arizona while in high school, resides in Los Angeles, now, and is as busy as any aspiring twenty year old movie star could be.