Kellan Lutz has just returned from a getaway to Saint-Tropez in the south of France. It was a trip with all the trappings of a stereotypical celebrity vacation: yachts, sunbathing and a beautiful female companion (his girlfriend, Australian actress Sharni Vinson). But the 27-year-old Twilight actor is far more excited about the next retreat on his itinerary—hanging out at the family farm in Iowa.
“I’m very blessed to have my grandparents’ farm,” he says. “I just decompress and put my phone away and ride the tractor. We have pigs—big ones. I water them, and they shake mud all over me! I love it.”
It’s refreshing that Lutz still finds enjoyment in the simple life, given his fabulous movie-star lifestyle. But the actor is quick to point out that he hasn’t let fame go to his head.
“I don’t go home and act like I’m God’s gift to the world or anything. I’m still Kellan,” he says. “And I’m so appreciative of every opportunity that I’ve had.”
Now, more than ever, seems like a fitting time for Lutz to reflect on those opportunities. In November, the final installment of the Twilight franchise hits theaters, ending the film series that launched his career and garnered him a loyal following of “Twihards.”
“It really is bittersweet,” he says. “It’s very much like high school, and I’m ready to graduate.”
Since the first film premiered in 2008, Lutz has primarily been known for playing the burly, golden-eyed vampire Emmett Cullen, brother of Robert Pattinson’s Edward. He’s had a few other roles—including a stint on the CW’s 90210 and the part of Poseidon in the 2011 fantasy film Immortals—but now that his Twilight duties are over, Lutz is eager to move past the “supporting actor” title. And he’s off to a good start.
The North Dakota native recently wrapped production on Tarzan, a motion-capture remake of the 1932 original, Tarzan the Ape Man. “It was amazing,” he says. “It’s a blessing to even be considered to play Tarzan. It’s an incredibly iconic role.” (Lutz’s Tarzan is set to hit theaters next year.)
In person, Lutz is ridiculously good-looking, with piercing blue eyes and a perfectly chiseled jaw; it’s easy to understand why teenage girls melt at the sight of him. At 6-foot-1, he’s muscular although not in an overly intimidating way. Lutz looks like he was born to be a model—which he was, at one time, for Calvin Klein and Abercrombie & Fitch—although he never thought his life would go in that direction.
Along with his six brothers and one sister, Lutz spent his childhood moving from one small town to the next: first in North Dakota (where he was born), then Iowa, followed by Denver. Eventually his family settled in Arizona, where his mom and several of his siblings still live. A self-proclaimed science nerd, Lutz went to college in Orange County, California, to be closer to his father, who lived in Los Angeles. He majored in chemical engineering at Chapman University and took acting classes on the side. When acting jobs started rolling in, Lutz dropped out of school, but he still maintains an ardent love of science. In fact, he calls chemistry “my biggest passion in life.”
When asked about the two patent-pending inventions he’s working on—about which he can’t say anything—he immediately morphs into a dorky, pocket-protector-wearing version of himself.
“I actually just flew back home to Arizona to build [my inventions] with this scientist who has a lab there. It was 120 degrees and the air-conditioning was broken and I was working with 400-degree ovens, but just being in the lab station is fun! Especially because you don’t have a teacher saying you can’t do something,” he says, all in one excited breath.
“I know a lot about chemical reactions, but it’s interesting to see how you mix two chemicals together and heat starts forming,” he continues. “I even made some polyurethane!”
“It’s what bouncy balls are made out of,” he explains, matter-of-factly.
“It’s great because acting has given me the resources and platform to help charities but also the money to create my inventions and pay for the patent process. Attorneys aren’t cheap!”
Between his enthusiasm for watering pigs on the farm and the ease with which he dispenses science terminology, Lutz is a Hollywood anomaly—and an ambitious one. Aside from his inventions, he has a few other goals on the horizon. Among them: Buying his mom the hot-pink convertible she’s always wanted, landing a role as a masked vigilante (or as MacGyver, his childhood hero), and winning an Academy Award.
“I want to act for the rest of my life,” he says. “I’ll win an Oscar one day, but I’m in no rush to get there. I don’t care if that takes me 50 years, and I’m old. I just love what I do.”
As for the impending Twilight finale, Lutz hopes that his entire family—his parents, his seven siblings and his grandparents—will be able to come to L.A. for the premiere. “To them, it’s huge. Even when I was on The Bold and the Beautiful—and I was awful—they were like ‘Oh my God! My grandson is on a TV show!’” he says, adding, “This is such a special moment in my life. I really just want to experience it with the people who mean the most to me.”