INTERVIEW: Theo James Tells Us How You Can Seduce Him
We’re just going to say it: Theo James is not hard to look at (those lips!), or listen to (that accent!), or watch on screen (those shirtless scenes in Insurgent!). Thank God the powers that be over at Hugo Boss recognized that, signing on the British actor to be the face of their new fragrance, Hugo Boss The Scent. The campaign, shot by photographers Mert Alan and Marcus Piggott, and filmed by Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky, does not disappoint. And since the fragrance is centered around the “lost art of seduction” (the dating apocalypse is real, people), we called up James, 30, to find his thoughts on wearing fragrance to bed, what he thinks Four smells like and exactly how he likes to be seduced.
We do Dos & Don’ts around here, so first things first: Is wearing fragrance to bed a Do or a Don’t?
Depends what you’re doing in bed. Don’t, I’d say. If you’re with someone, and you’re getting up to stuff, then you don’t want to be distracted by cologne. You want to be distracted by the person.
The theme of The Scent is the lost art of seduction—can you talk a little bit about that? Where did the art of seduction actually go?
For better or worse we live in a very exposing [time] where, if you choose to, everyone can see everyone’s business. You see what they’re having for breakfast, where they are, what they’re doing. Whereas I think that classic idea of mystery is very seductive. Not knowing every single thing about a person, what they’re thinking, that’s very powerful. And it would be a shame if we lost that totally.
Aside from mystery, what do you think is the most seductive quality a person can have?
I find confidence seductive. Confidence, to me, is being happy in your own identity and not being influenced by others. I find that quite seductive because I’m a 50-50 person: in some ways I’m confident, and in some ways I’m quiet, reclusive. [I] like someone who can shake me out of that and approach me.
What type of scent do you prefer on women?
I’m not a huge floral or citrus guy. I like something a bit girlier, if that makes sense, a bit more mysterious, muskier, a little bit richer.
What originally drew you to the scent? Is it a fragrance that you yourself would wear?
Yeah. I’ve grown up seeing kind of the Boss franchises—not franchises! Campaigns! [LAUGHS] And I liked them, that kind of old school sense of cool and sense of style. And then on top of that, this is a new fragrance and a little bit of a departure for them. They’re very good at style, very good at success, and ambition, but this one has this element of darkness, seduction, mystery. I kind of liked the idea of being the face of something new for them, new territory that they haven’t traveled before.
Where on your body do you normally wear scent? Are you somebody who does it on the neck?
On both my knees! [LAUGHS] I’m kidding. Where do I like to spray? I’m classic. A bit on the wrist, both sides of the neck, and the back of the neck as well, actually.
The spraying behind the knee thing is real! It makes your fragrance last longer. So you’re kind of on the nose.
Oh, really? Oh, that’s hilarious.
Our readers are big Divergent fans, so we have to ask—what do you think Four smells like?
Gunpowder and sweat. I don’t think he’s got loads of time to spray fragrance on himself.
Which of the characters that you’ve played would wear the Hugo Boss scent?
I played a very dapper, cool villain in a Martin McDonagh film [War on Everyone], and I think he would wear Hugo Boss, definitely.
What about when you did the campaign, did you treat that as a character? Or is that Theo James out there?
That’s an interesting question. I think it’s a bit of 50-50. It is me—that’s why I chose to collaborate with Hugo Boss. It’s classic, masculine, stylish, all those elements I like to think that I prescribe to. But at the same time, when you’re doing the campaign stuff, you do have to become a bit of a character. Because otherwise it’s very abstract and it’s just kind of wandering around in a suit.