Based on the best-selling book by Pittacus Lore, “I Am Number Four” revolves about an extraordinary young man, John Smith (Alex Pettyfer), who is a fugitive on the run from ruthless enemies sent to destroy him. Changing his identity, moving from town to town with his guardian Henri (Olyphant), John is always the new kid with no ties to his past. In the small Ohio town he now calls home, John encounters unexpected, life-changing events—his first love (Dianna Agron), powerful new abilities and a connection to the others who share his incredible destiny.
Director D.J. Caruso handpicked Olyphant to play Henri. “Timothy is a really dynamic person and has amazing acting rhythms,” says Caruso. “It’s been wonderful to see what he has done with the role of Henri and seeing him work with Alex. It’s not like the standard father-son relationship. It’s more like an older brother or an uncle who doesn’t really know how to handle a kid.”
“My character changes throughout the movie,” Olyphant explains. “In the beginning Henri is a guardian from the planet Lorien. His role is to protect this special child as he grows on the planet Earth. As the story continues, John’s unique abilities begin to develop and grow stronger and stronger. Henri helps him understand what his destiny is.”
Reflecting on the relationship between Henri and John, Olyphant says, “I think it’s just this wonderful sort of tension, where Henri loves John, but sometimes he just wants to strangle him. If we’ve done it right, you should see that Henri’s both a bit of a hard-ass and dangerous character, but at the same time you see that he truly cares for him.”
In addition to enjoying the role of Henri, Olyphant also had a very positive experience with director D.J. Caruso. “D.J.’s just a classy guy and a great director,” he says. “Our conversations from the jump were really great and it felt like we were on the same page right from the beginning. I gave him my gut instinct about what I would like to do and he responded very positively.”
With an expansive list of diverse film and television credits, Olyphant is known for his poignant roles in both dramas and comedies. This past year, he starred as the town sheriff in Breck Eisner’s remake of the horror classic “The Crazies,” which revolves around a small town beset by death and insanity after a plane crash lets loose a secret biological weapon into the water supply. In 2007, Olyphant starred in 20th Century Fox’s “Hitman” and “Live Free: Die Hard.”
Opening across the Philippines on Feb. 23, “I Am Number Four” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.