Actor Jake Abel blossomed quickly into a popular lead and supporting player, as well as a believable heel, on the strength of such teen-friendly genre films as "Percy Jackson & The Lightning T...
I Am Number Four a sci-fi action drama from D.J. Caruso (Disturbia Eagle Eye) about a teenage alien’s earthly travails has the look and feel of a CW series – i.e. lots of attractive young people some of whom possess supernatural abilities and superhuman amounts of angst and alienation. This is not a coincidence: Two of its screenwriters Alfred Gough and Miles Millar happen to be the creators and executive producers of Smallville a series chronicling Superman’s youthful pre-Metropolis years that’s now in its tenth and final season on the CW. (The script is adapted from a novel by Pittacus Lore.)
Unlike Smallville’s solitary Kryptonian I Am Number Four’s hero is not alone. Number Four (Alex Pettyfer) is one of nine gifted residents (each branded with a number for reasons not sufficiently explained in the film) from the planet Lorien who fled to Earth after their civilization was annihilated by the Mogadorians a race of mumbly trenchcoat-clad goons with tattooed scalps hell-bent on ridding the universe of its water polo players. (Indeed Pettyfer’s hair in the film perpetually bears that fresh-out-of-the-water look common also to surfers and lifeguards.) Together with his anointed guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant) he travels from small town to small town adopting assumed names and trying to keep a low profile so as to avoid detection by the Mogadorians who have followed the Loriens to earth to finish the job.
I Am Number Four skillfully mines much of the same emotional territory of the Twilight saga and its variants albeit from a slightly geekier less melodramatic more male-oriented angle. (Michael Bay produced the film.) Four’s itinerant lifestyle and otherworldly heritage make the adolescent struggle to fit in all the more difficult; he’s anti-social broods a lot and acts out toward Henri telekinetically. (Kudos to Caruso for the unorthodox but effective choice of Olyphant a guy who always looks to me as if he’s about to stab someone as the father-figure). This is likely because Four is in the middle of that awkward alien superhero stage: special powers like hands that glow brightly and emit beams of energy spontaneously reveal themselves at inopportune times causing him to flee from physics class mortified. Pettyfer's really got the tormented bit down; if he can master a few more expressions he's really gonna go places.
Despite these difficult public moments and despite Henri’s repeated warnings to avoid earthly relationships Four manages to strike up an inter-species romance with fellow attractive outcast Sarah (Glee's Dianna Agron) Bella Swan’s blonde equivalent a former cheerleader who has since disavowed her popular-girl past. This in turn invites the fury of Sarah’s former boyfriend and current stalker a bullying jock named Mark (Jake Abel).
Soon however Four’s rites of adolescence must take a backseat to the more pressing matter of defending his species – and his adopted planet – from the Mogadorians who’ve tracked him to his Paradise Ohio location via that advanced alien technology known as YouTube. An apocalyptic battle set at Four’s high school ensues during which he is joined by a fellow Lorien Number Six (Teresa Palmer) a hot-blooded Aussie biker chick whose powers include the ability to communicate exclusively in double entendres. Four is also aided by Sarah a UFO-obsessed sidekick (Callan McAuliffe) and a shape-shifting puppy.
I Am Number Four’s climax largely abandons its appealing Smallville ethos for something more suitable of a film bearing the name of Michael Bay but made with a fraction of the effects budget. The orgy of destruction involving CGI beasts and laser guns and explosions and tons of acrobatic stuntwork comes off a tad cheap if not a little tacky. Hopefully the filmmakers will get a bit more cash to make the sequel which I Am Number Four's ending rather blatantly labors to set up.
Taiwanese director Ang Lee was honoured with the coveted Golden Lion award for
his latest movie Brokeback Mountain at the climax of the 62nd Venice Film
Festival in Italy Sept. 10.
The Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon filmmaker's adaptation of an Annie
Proulx's novella, which tells the story of a gay love affair between two
cowboys, played by Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, was chosen by the jury as
Accepting the golden lion at the Veneto canal city, Lee enthused, "(My film
is) a great American love story. I'm so glad it's prevailed here and was
received so warmly here."
This year's festival was triumphant for the French, with Paris-born
director Philippe Garrel picking up the Silver Lion prize for directing Les Amants Reguliers (The Regular Lovers), which also won in the Outstanding
Technical Contribution category. Isabelle Huppert was given a Special Lion for
her career, which has spanned four decades.
Meanwhile, George Clooney's second outing as a director--Good Night, and Good Luck, was named best screenplay and best actor for leading man David Strathairn.
The partial list of winners are:
Golden Lion for Best Film: Brokeback Mountain by Ang Lee
Silver Lion for Best Director: Les Amants Reguliers by Philippe Garrel
Jury Special Prize: Mary by Abel Ferrara
Coppa Volpi for Best Actor: David Strathairn in Good Night, and Good Luck
Coppa Volpi for Best Actress: Giovanna Mezzogiorno in La Bestia Nel Cuore
Osella for an Outstanding Technical Contribution: William Lubtchansky for the
photography in Les Amants Reguliers
Osella for Best Screenplay: George Clooney and Grant Heslov for Good Night, and Good Luck
Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor or Actress: Menothy Cesar in
Vers Le Sud
Special Lion for her work as a whole: Isabelle Huppert
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First feature film appearance in "Strange Wilderness"
Screen debut in the Disney Channel TV-movie "Go Figure"
Recurring role on "Supernatural" (CW, 2005-)
Co-starring role on the Crackle web series "Angel of Death"
Co-starring role in "Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief"
Actor Jake Abel blossomed quickly into a popular lead and supporting player, as well as a believable heel, on the strength of such teen-friendly genre films as "Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief" (2010) and "The Host" (2013). Like many young talent, he made his debut in a Disney Channel feature, "Go Figure" (2005), but quickly graduated to more mature fare with supporting roles in "Flash of Genius" (2008) and "The Lovely Bones" (2009). A turn as a violent criminal in the web series "Angel of Death" (Crackle, 2009) presaged his most widely seen turn as a vengeful demigod in "Lightning Thief," which secured his status as a bona fide teen heartthrob. Abel was soon a go-to young star for genre efforts like "I Am Number Four" (2011) and "The Host," director Andrew Niccol's adaptation of the science fiction novel by <i>Twilight</i> author Stephenie Meyer. Though neither were major hits, Abel's ascent continued unabated with "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" (2013). Abel's knack for landing roles in major young audience features underscored his place on the fast track to movie stardom. <p> Born Jacob Allen Abel on November 18, 1987 in Canton, Ohio, he began his screen-acting career at the age of 18 in the Disney Channel original movie "Go Figure," which was soon followed by his first feature film appearance in the comedy "Strange Wilderness" (2008). Abel soon graduated to substantive supporting roles like the romantic interest in the independent drama "Tru Loved" (2008) and as Greg Kinnear's son in "Flash of Genius," which earned him a Rising Star award from the Hamptons International Film Festival, as well as a minor role in Peter Jackson's "The Lovely Bones." He also appeared as the half-brother of the monster-hunting siblings on "Supernatural" (The CW, 2005- ) while also playing the malevolent scion of a crime family in the web series "Angel of Death." During this period, he also auditioned for the role of Edward Cullen in Catherine Hardwicke's feature version of "Twilight" (2008). </p><p>The following year, Abel co-starred in "Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief," director Chris Columbus's adaptation of the first entry in author Rick Riordan's popular series of fantasy novels. Abel played the son of the Greek god Hermes, who sought to destroy Mount Olympus in order to become the rightful ruler of the universe. His climactic fight with Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) earned MTV Movie Award and Teen Choice Award nominations in 2010, but more significantly, earned him a devoted fan base among young, mostly female moviegoers. He was soon featured in movie projects targeting that group, including "I Am Number Four," as a school bully targeting alien-in-teen guise Alex Pettyfer, and as the romantic interest for Saoirse Ronan in "The Host" (2013). That same year, he reprised his role in the "Percy Jackson" series for the "Lightning Thief" sequel, "Sea of Monsters," while also releasing a five-song EP by his band, the Mumblers, which featured his fiancée, fashion blogger Allie Wood. </p><p> </p>
Engaged Jan. 1, 2013
Auditioned for the role of Edward Cullen in "Twilight"
Formed first band, The Third Kind, with fellow actor Kyle Gallner
Co-founded the musical group, The Mumblers, with fiancee and blogger Allie Wood