Callum Turner was the name on everybody’s lips last year. And with good reason. The devastatingly handsome model-turned-actor made a splash with his starring role in The Boys in the Boat, a Christmas Day release directed by George Clooney and based on Daniel James Brown’s #1 New York Times bestselling non-fiction novel. The true story’s retelling of the Great Depression and an American rowing team partaking in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, just as Adolf Hitler’s nazi reign of terror was beginning, capturing the hearts of audiences across the globe.

Coincidentally, Turner’s role as Major John Egan in Apple TV’s Masters of the Air plays out just a few years later, with the film depicting the true story of the bomber squadron who—amongst other achievements— successfully bombed Berlin and gave Hitler a taste of his own medicine. However, despite two recent projects that just so happen to serve as bookends to World War II, Turner is very much a man of modern times.

Callum wears all clothing and shoes VALENTINO (throughout)

VMAN spoke with the British star and Hollywood hunk about teaching himself how to act, working at Dover Street Market, and how he was inspired by his characters’ true life stories.

VMAN: You didn’t follow a traditional academic path in order to become an actor. Can you tell us a bit about how your acting career came to be?

CALLUM TURNER: Someone in Paris, a friend of my mother’s, asked me if I wanted to go and meet these agents who had seen my photo. So I jumped at the opportunity and I loved (modeling). I did so many wonderful things through (doing that)—I lived in Japan for six months and I got to work with cool people, you know, Comme des Garçons, Louis Vuitton, things like that…It was like my gap year, I guess. I stopped modeling really when I was about 19, and I worked at Dover Street Market.

A guy I knew was a manager there, and he asked, “Do you need a job?” I said, “I do.” I really wanted a job. I didn’t want to model anymore. I had to make money. So I went and worked there for a couple of years and after probably about a year of working there, I just thought I should really try to do this acting thing. So I worked at Dover Street Market for four days a week, and then the other three days I’d watch films and play, you know, three films a day, just trying to engross myself as much as possible into the world of acting and theater and film. I remember I auditioned for drama school and I was crawling around on the floor in this room with 20 other people in the audition, and I said, “I don’t think this is what I want to be doing.” Eventually, I got an agent because I’d done a short film with a student, and the rest is history.

VMAN: Having wanted to be a professional athlete, was the sports aspect of The Boys in the Boat what drew you in?

CT: Absolutely. I mean, sports and film are two of my favorite things. But, you know, I’m director-driven; it’s all about the director, ‘ cause they’re the boss. They choose the cinematographer, the costume designer, the spec designer…they choose everything. And George (Clooney) was someone I always wanted to work with, of course, because he’s George. You know, if he wanted to do a movie about going to the moon, I’d have jumped on that too. So the fact that it was a rowing movie or a sports movie, was a happy coincidence.

VMAN: What was it like working with Austin Butler for Masters of the Air, who was also just recently on the cover of VMAN?

CT: Austin is one of my favorite actors and one of my favorite people. Every day we went in together I was inspired by him. He brings such wonderful gravitas to Cleven, and humor. I think he nails this part.

VMAN: Both Masters of the Air and The Boys in the Boat are tied somewhat to WWII. What has it been like giving that time period so much attention in your life lately?

CT: Haha, well even weirder, Joe Rantz went on to work for Boeing who made the B-17’s that John Egan flew in World War Two. They’re connected! I grew up on those stories and grateful for the sacrifices those people made for future generations.

VMAN: Can you tell us what drew you to this particular role, as well as what you learned about your character while researching the bomber squadron? 

CT: You know, Egan signed up before Pearl Harbor happened. He wanted to fly. He wanted to fight. He wanted to protect our freedom. He’s a hero. But he’s also someone who loves to have a good time. I was so inspired by his tenacity and his determination. I fell in love with him immediately. Egan’s someone you’d want with you on a night out.

This story appears in the pages of VMAN 52: now available for purchase!

Photography Jason Kibbler

Fashion Direction Gro Curtis

Fashion Editor Xander Ang

Hair Jenni Wimmerstedt (Paradis)

Makeup Frankie Boyd (Streeters)

Casting Greg Krelenstein (GK-ID)

Photo Assistants Justin Mulroy, Mike Skigen, Iain Gomez

Digital Technician Kylie Coutts

Styling Assistants Liv Vitale, Natalie Cohen

Hair Assistants Vanessa Verea, Summer Key

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