Wonderland.

KODI SMIT-MCPHEE

Kodi Smit-McPhee is an actor coming of age IRL, while navigating time and space on screen.

X-Men actor Kodi Smit-McPhee for Wonderland Summer 19 issue in leather jacket

Jumper DIOR

X-Men actor Kodi Smit-McPhee for Wonderland Summer 19 issue in leather jacket
Jumper DIOR

Taken from the Summer 2019 issue of Wonderland. Order your copy of the issue now.

“Our whole world itself in its technological advances is bringing the genre of sci-fi into reality. It’s a special time to be a part of it but sometimes also daunting in the many paths that film has presented to us in regards to where our future could be heading.”

As I talk to Kodi Smit-McPhee, the Australian actor set to star in Marvel’s latest X-Men film, Dark Phoenix, it becomes increasingly clear that this is someone who’s no stranger to a DMC. I should’ve guessed, the list of topics about which I was told he was happy to discuss in this interview ranging freemasonry and alchemy to neoplasticism and the Kabbalistic tree of life. It’s fair to say the young actor’s emotional literacy is striking, though. Having been diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis (Chronic Spinal Arthritis) when he was 16, the physical nature of the job might have prevented the young actor from progressing in his career. However, a determination to stay on his chosen path led him to seek less traditional forms of medicine, a decision which has allowed him to continue to flourish. “My journey taught me to not lose hope,” says the 22-year-old, “and to seek beyond what anyone tells you is or isn’t possible”. Smit-McPhee was born in Adelaide, but moved to Melbourne so that his father could pursue his career in acting. He came from a “lower class area” that was “so unsafe [his] dad had to bring his motorbikes inside the house so they wouldn’t be stolen”, though he extolls the optimism of youth in insisting that he and his sister were happy growing up. His father, whom he professes was a bigger inspiration to him than any film or actor, was instrumental in his entry into the industry, using any links he had to get his son in as many audition rooms as possible. His talent, of course, did the rest, and things quickly escalated as he was cast in Richard Roxburgh’s Romulus, My Father. From there, this star has risen perennially, with turns in major films such as Let Me In, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and what was to be the biggest break of all: 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse.

X-Men actor Kodi Smit-McPhee for Wonderland Summer 19 issue in scuba top

Shirt MISBHV, jacket and belt WANG HUNG, trousers DIOR

X-Men actor Kodi Smit-McPhee for Wonderland Summer 19 issue in scuba top
Shirt MISBHV, jacket and belt WANG HUNG, trousers DIOR

Now, he’s set to reprise his role as the mutant Nightcrawler in the much-anticipated sequel, Dark Phoenix, a film that — according to Smit-McPhee — is “very grounded, emotionally driven and cinematically stunning. It’s something one can really invest themselves in, as opposed to the usual bells and whistles of action-driven superhero movies.” Smit-McPhee’s elaboration is typical of an actor who’s a student of the human condition, and for whom the disposition and temperament of a role are key aspects of any project. “Nightcrawler [goes] from the vulnerable, innocent archetype into a more savage, rage-filled being that we see unleash at certain moments throughout,” he explains. “It was fun to show this other side to Nightcrawler, as the last time I portrayed him, he was still in the young, wide-eyed state.”

Nightcrawler’s journey towards maturity might be seen as a microcosm for Smit-McPhee’s own. He recently finished shooting 2067, a story about “a dystopian future on the brink of humankind’s collapse as the effects of global warming have taken effect”, in which he will play Ethan, the film’s protagonist and “a tunnel worker, who is summoned to the elite leaders’ office and told he is going to be the saviour of the world, and must proceed to go on a mission into the future to seek a cure”. It marks a new chapter in the actor’s career — settling into leading roles — one that Smit-McPhee has found to be “a fantastic experience”.

While we don’t quite make it to discussing the Kabbalistic tree of life this time around, I do get a profound portrait of Smit-McPhee’s mindset. Despite his swift rise, the actor isn’t looking too far forward. “I’m driven by the moment and where it leads me,” he says, satisfied. “In focusing on this, I’ve observed and have been intimately a part of a beautiful journey, which is my life… I want to continue to show the diversity I’m capable of, and to bring people on the journeys they love to go on.”

X-Men actor Kodi Smit-McPhee for Wonderland Summer 19 issue in net top

Rollneck MSGM, top STYLIST’S ARCHIVE, trousers MISBHV, trainers MSGM, earrings EMANUELE BICOCCHI

X-Men actor Kodi Smit-McPhee for Wonderland Summer 19 issue in net top
Rollneck MSGM, top STYLIST’S ARCHIVE, trousers MISBHV, trainers MSGM, earrings EMANUELE BICOCCHI
Photography
Lindsay Ellary
Fashion
Jake Sammis
Grooming
Sasha Borax using Tom Ford Beauty
Production
Federica Barletta.
Words
Francesco Loy Bell
KODI SMIT-MCPHEE