He’s been working for almost two decades, which is pretty remarkable given that Logan Lerman is only 21. But, as the ambitious actor tells Susan Griffin, it’s just the beginning
He might play a demigod in his latest movie, but Logan Lerman proves he’s very much human when he rolls up for our interview with his arm in a cast.
“I was skateboarding to the liquor store,” the 21-year-old explains, a little sheepishly.
He hadn’t skateboarded in years but had taken it up in preparation for a role. That;s the story he’s sticking to, anyway.
That said, Lerman doesn’t strike you as the type of bloke who spends his spare time on a board. He may have only just reached the legal drinking age in America but he’s something of an old soul, or at least a little world-weary – as only you can when you’ve spent the majority of your young life in the ‘biz’.
Born in Beverley Hills, Lerman was apparently two years old when he declared to his mum (who’s also his manager) that he wanted to be an actor.
By the age of four he had an agent, and four years after that he was cast in first big screen role, as the youngest son of Mel Gibson’s character in The Patriot. He must have made an impression as, that very same year, he played the young version of Gibson’s character in What Women Want. A small part in Riding In Cars With Boys followed, as did a couple of TV movies and then, in 2004, he was cast in the TV series Jack & Bobby.
“I liked the process and enjoyed the experience, but I hated the repetition. It was so annoying to do the same shtick every episode,” says Lerman, wearing jeans and a plaid shirt. “I don’t want to ever do one thing forever. I want to switch up the genres, different tones and ratings.”
He’s not all talk. In recent years, he’s starred in movies as diverse as western 3:10 To Yuma, period romp The Three Musketeers and indie coming-of-age drama The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, while a World War Two drama with Brad Pitt is in the pipeline.
First though, is Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters, the sequel to 2010’s Percy Jackson & The Lightening Thief, in which Lerman returns as the titular hero and demigod son of Poseidon (the Greek god of the sea).
He may have saved the world in the first film but poor Percy’s now suffering a crisis of confidence.
“He’s very insecure and self-conscious. He has a lot of doubt in himself, and has decided he’s just going to be a regular old demigod,” explains Lerman.
The movies are based on the popular series of novels by Rick Riordan, who taught Greek Mythology and came up with the idea for the first book after creating bedtime stories for his son. “Harry Potter is an obvious comparison,” says Lerman. “They have similar, specific themes that are universal for the age group that reads these books, and readers respond to that.”
Lerman credits J.K. Rowlin’s books about a young wizard for “inspiring me to be part of something like these huge fantasies”.
The young actor values the close group of people he has around him, “who I can trust and confide in, and who will be there for me”, he says.
He recently reunited with his Perks co-star Emma Watson on Darren Aronofsky biblical epic Noah.“I’d worked with most of the cast before, but the only real friend I had was Emma,” reveals Lerman.
“I think she was really comfortable that we were working together too, because it was such an intimidating set to work on with all those guys [Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins] and the material. She was the area of comfort.”
Unlike Crowe, who plays Noah, and with whom Lerman worked on 2007’s 3:10 To Yuma, perhaps?
“It had been six years since I’d seen him. I was 14, and he’s not going to be keeping in touch with a 14-year-old, but now we’re all very close and he’s a friend of mine,” says Lerman. “If we were to do something in the future, then he’d be a source of comfort.”
Lerman makes no secret of the fact he’d like to become a film-maker in his own right one day.
“Like George Clooney, there’s a small handful of guys who’ve managed to jump from acting to directing,” he says. “I’d love to learn how to tell a story, rather than aid someone else’s storytelling".
Right now, though, he’s content to focus on acting.
He adds with a smile: “It’s treating me really well.”