After a meteoric rise in Hollywood, Armie Hammer steps intoa leading-man role in The Lone Ranger
hances are that at some point this summer, you’ll find yourself in a darkened movie theater watching the much-anticipated blockbuster The Lone Ranger. And chances are that when said Lone Ranger rides off into the sunset alongside Johnny Depp’s Tonto, your seatmate will turn to you and ask, “Who was that masked man?” Allow us to introduce you to Armie Hammer—though you’ve probably already met.
Over the past three years, Armie Hammer has excelled in playing figures who, like the Lone Ranger, have made their mark on American culture. His characters have included Prince Alcott, a take on Prince Charming, in Mirror Mirror; J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI protégé (and reputed lover), Clyde Tolson, in J. Edgar; and the blue-blooded Winklevoss twins in The Social Network, his breakout role. It’s also worth noting that the dashingly handsome actor, who turns 27 in August 2013, boasts a personal pedigree to match that of some of the characters he’s played. The great-grandson of billionaire oil tycoon, art collector and philanthropist Armand Hammer, he dropped out of high school in 11th grade (against his parents’ wishes) to pursue acting. Now settled down in Los Angeles with his wife of three years, journalist Elizabeth Chambers, Hammer couldn’t be less affected by his impending worldwide fame. But we’re betting this is the last time anything other than a mask will prevent him from being recognized.
Armie Hammer and his wife, Elizabeth Chambers, take a turn on the red carpet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala, held in May 2013 in New York City
Ralph Lauren: You’ve had rather a meteoric rise to the top of Hollywood. Did you always know this—acting—was what you wanted to do?Armie Hammer: I always knew I wanted to be involved in film. I think it came from growing up in the Cayman Islands and really not having any escape other than movies.
Your family is involved in the arts and founded the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. Was following a creative path something your parents encouraged?Like all good parents, they realized acting is a very difficult choice to make. They wanted me to grow up as a normal kid, so they weren’t fully encouraging. They wanted me to go into business and do creative stuff on the side.
But you followed your dream, and here you are. How did it feel to step into the shoes—or should we say boots—of the iconic Lone Ranger?It was an honor and a privilege to be chosen. I realize the Lone Ranger is a big part of the American pop lexicon. My dad was a big fan, and I grew up watching the show. It’s a big responsibility. I think, “Oh man, there are so many people who watched this. Do not mess this up!”
The chemistry between your character and Depp’s Tonto is obviously very important. What was it like working with him?As much as you might suspect he does, he doesn’t live lost in his own universe. He’s very pragmatic. He’s very logical and just a really great guy. He’s a consummate professional. He’s also one of the most observant people that I’ve ever met in this business; he knows everything. He knows what lens size would look best for what shot and where the lights should be. He knows how to do everybody else’s job better than they do.
You had a long shooting schedule in remote locales. That must have led to some serious bonding time.Just imagine going to summer camp for nine months and how connected you’d feel to the other campers. There were tons of bonfires and karaoke parties. Every weekend, there was some kind of adventure, whether it was going cliff-jumping or four-wheeling through the desert.
You always look very dapper on the red carpet. Describe your personal style.Casual. The thing I wear more than anything else is one of my five identical pairs of RRL jeans. They’re the only jeans I’ll wear. Seriously.
Does your wife influence your wardrobe?She does. When I first started dating my wife, I was wearing my RRL jeans, but I was mixing and matching them with T-shirts and combat boots. Like all wives, she took the bachelor out of me.
How do you and your wife like to spend your downtime?When we’re home, we’re homebodies. We’ll work most of the day on stuff for our bakery [Bird Bakery in San Antonio]. It’s something we built together and we’re really proud of. Other than that, we like to cook dinner and hang out at the house and have some friends over and just chill.
Looking back, what has stood out as one of the most surreal moments for you?Meeting Trent Reznor and knowing that he did music to a movie I was in. [Reznor, along with composer Atticus Ross, created the soundtrack for The Social Network.] I’ve been a huge Nine Inch Nails fan since I was a teenager.
What are your plans for the summer?I’ll be spending my summer traveling around the world with Jerry [Bruckheimer] and Johnny [Depp], hanging out and having a great time promoting the movie. Fortunately, my summer has not been left up to me or I would waste it all away lying by the pool.
MICHELLE WARD is a New York City–based writer whose work has appeared in various publications, including People, InStyle and Los Angeles Confidential magazines.