Including that time he was discovered by Steven Spielberg at a bat mitzvah.
Alden Ehrenreich in Hail, Caesar!
Alison Rosa / Universal Pictures
The Coen brothers’ new movie Hail, Caesar! features Old Hollywood luminaries played by a cavalcade of modern movie stars, including George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, and Jonah Hill. But in an irony befitting a movie made by the mordantly funny Joel and Ethan Coen, the actor who outright steals the movie is the one most audiences won’t recognize: Alden Ehrenreich.
Working side-by-side with such famous colleagues has been an adjustment for the 26-year-old, too. “I’ve have this experience — I had it today with George Clooney — where they say your name, and you go, ‘Pfft. Come on. How do you know my name?'” Ehrenreich told BuzzFeed News last month. He laughed. “Like, Woody Allen said my name once, and I was like, ‘You’re kidding. You don’t know my name!'”
Ehrenreich is not a cinematic rookie: In 2013, he played Cate Blanchett’s son in Allen’s film Blue Jasmine, and he starred as one half of the star-crossed couple at the center of the YA adaptation Beautiful Creatures. But suffice it to say, after Hail, Caesar!, a lot more people are going to know his name. Here is everything you need to know about him.
1. He really did learn how to perform rodeo roping tricks for Hail, Caesar!.
Ehrenreich in Hail, Caesar!.
In order to play his character Hobie Doyle — a Western star plucked by the studio to headline one of its stately drawing room dramas — Ehrenreich had to learn how to be a convincing cowboy. In one sequence, he practices roping technique as he waits for a studio-arranged date with Carlotta Valdez (Veronica Osorio), a Carmen Miranda-like movie star. The real challenge, however, came when Hobie impresses Carlotta on their date by doing those same roping tricks with a strand of pasta.
“That’s the hardest one,” said Ehrenreich. “Because there’s no precedent for that. We didn’t have anybody to teach me that. We had the choreographer come in and the trick-roping guy, and we all talked about how it would really work. They made sure it was being done in the right sequence, and the right logic, and how the rope would actually fall and everything like that — or the spaghetti, in that case.”
The spaghetti was actually a string of rubber — the trick was complicated enough without having to deal with breaking pasta. “It’s very specific, and you have to move your hands in a very specific way,” he said. He started to rub his stomach with one hand and pat his head with another. “It’s a little like one of those things, you know?”