As Four in the Divergent Series, Theo James is the brooding hero who finds time to romance Tris (Shailene Woodley) as he saves the world with her. But beyond the chiseled cheekbones that the actor lends to his character, it turns out he doesn't see any striking similarities.
"I don't know if I’ve ever played a character that's similar to myself because in a way, I enjoy playing characters I don’t like,” James told InStyle when he posed as our March Man of Style. "I'm quite insular and private, so I shy away from the idea of bringing my true self to the screen,” he says.
Fitting, then, that the third installment of the saga, Allegiant (in theaters Friday, March 18), gave the actor many opportunities to step away from his norm. In the movie, Four and Tris escape Chicago for the first time to discover the heightened danger of dystopian life beyond the city’s walls. "The story really evolves,” says James of the film, which is based on the best-selling novel by Veronica Roth. "A whole new world is introduced that goes on outside the world that was set up in the other two. Visually and conceptually, it’s very different, which is fun.”
And because he has been fully immersed in the futuristic and war-torn setting since the first Divergent dropped in 2014, the films have also forced James to reflect on the changing state of our own society. "It does make you think every day about how the world is changing very quickly,” he says. "Things have changed dramatically since the '80s, when I was born, and not very much for the better. So I believe these dystopian science-fiction stories can help. In an uncertain world, even in a fantasy environment, people wonder what the future will be like.”
To read our full feature with James, where he chats about his personal style and how he almost missed his Divergent audition, pick up the March issue of InStyle, now available on newsstands and for digital download. Check out the Allegiant trailer below.