For a man who specialises in playing bad boys – tracker vampire James in Twilight, a pugnacious Ryan in Never Back Down and the murdering Volcheck in The O.C. – Cam Gigandet is surprisingly approachable. When he meets Wonderland in L’Ermitage Hotel, Beverly Hills, he’s falling over himself to apologise for being 15 minutes late – mere seconds in celeb-time.
Clearly not the piece of work he’s been projecting on screen, Gigandet (pronounced jig-AN-day, preferably with a French accent) has been balanced his badass-ness by playing Christina Aguilera’s shy confidante in Burlesque as well as Minka Kelly’s protective boyfriend in upcoming dorm thriller The Roommate.
Not that he’s leaving his signature style behind: this year we’ll see him opposite Nic Cage and Nicole Kidman as a vicious kidnapper in Trespass, and once again sinking his teeth into a vampire role in Priest.
For today, however, Wonderland finds him reflective and refreshingly honest about the brutal here today/unemployed tomorrow nature of his business. Settling down with a light beer (abs like his don’t just happen), the 28-year-old father of one talks nude scenes, nerves and domestic bliss.
So why are we meeting here?
I thought you chose it! I’ve been here a few times but it would not have been my first choice.
You don’t go out much?
At night, no. During the day … no [he grins]. I live in my car, but that’s not really going out – that’s going out to try and find another job. Actually, lately I’ve had to drive around everywhere trying to find suits – we had two weeks of Burlesque premieres coming up and I had no suits.
Are you a clothes guy?
Well … casual clothes. Good jeans I love – my favourite brands are Simon Miller and RRL.
How much is too much to spend on a pair of jeans?
If I see a three at the front, that’s getting there, but $200 I can fork over.
Do you miss partying?
How long can a person do that? I moved out here to LA when I was 19 – I’m 28 now, and was 23 when I met my fiancée … As soon as I met Dominique that’s all I wanted, and having a child puts everything into perspective. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. It’s exciting and fun every single day. We’ve been together for six years – that’s a long time.
Especially in Hollywood.
Right, Hollywood is like dog years. People always say, “Oh, you have to work at your relationship.” That sounds exhausting to me.
Has the job search got any easier for you?
It kind of goes up and down. Yesterday I had an audition and I got out of the room and realised I’ve been auditioning for seven or eight years, and I still have no fucking clue how to do it. I know all of my problems now, but I just can’t change them.
What’s your biggest problem?
Probably insecurities and nerves. Trying to do it right. It’s just exhausting.
What’s been the best day at the office so far?
So many. One of the coolest things for me was my first day of work on Trespass, that I finished a few weeks ago. We were rehearsing a long scene and it’s with Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman. I had such a surreal moment where I was like, “Oh my God.”
How was the whole Twilight experience for you?
That was another one – the premiere for Twilight just blew me away, it was so exciting. There were thousands of people there.
Were you sad not to be able to carry on though the franchise?
No … I would have gotten bored. I had to go with my gut on that.
Now, to Burlesque – is it a Chicago or a Showgirls?
It should be a Chicago – it’s a very fun and entertaining movie. People have said there are clichés – fine. There are clichés in every movie. You take it for what it is – fun entertainment.
How was it filming your nude scene?
You see my butt for three seconds, if that.
Yeah, but with freeze frame and YouTube, that’s a lifetime of viewing.
I know! It’ll turn into a 40-minute video of my ass. But it was OK. It ended up feeling so normal when we were doing it. Just part of the job.
Plenty of butt push-ups leading up to it?
No! I guess I didn’t realise it was just going to be my ass right there. When I watched the playback I realised I should have done something about it. Hopefully people don’t zoom in.
Would you be happy to chubby up for a role?
Are you kidding me? I’d love it. I’d be living at McDonald’s, eating candy. That’s very appealing to me.
Photography: Doug Inglish
Fashion: Martina Nilsson
Words: Tony Horkins
This article first appeared in Wonderland Issue 26, April/May 2011