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Will Poulter: Changing of the Guard

Leonardo DiCaprio may be the one chomping on bison liver, but another actor steals the show in ‘The Revenant.’

What do you do after spending seven months in the Canadian wilderness watching Leonardo DiCaprio eat raw bison livers while Tom Hardy menaces you with a pre-Civil War musket? It’s a question that most of us aren’t pressed to answer. Of course, most of us also haven’t been tasked to portray a slice of the life of the 19th century frontiersman Jim Bridger, a pioneer and literal trailblazer of the American West. Most of us aren’t responsible for representing the fundamental characteristics of a man who once abandoned a fellow pioneer and left him to stave off gangrene by letting maggots eat away their dead, infected flesh.

Indeed, most of us are not like Will Poulter, the London-born actor who, at just 22 years old, has already managed to establish himself as an up-and-coming star in Hollywood. After his debut role in Son of Rambow at age 12 (while simultaneously working with the English comedy group School of Comedy), Poulter’s career quickly blossomed. Three years later he played Eustace Scrubb, the hard-to-love cousin of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and in 2012, he starred alongside Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis in We’re The Millers, a box office success that showcased Poulter’s comedic strengths.

Early success hasn’t caused the young Brit to slow down, though. After appearing in 2014’s adaptation of the YA sci-fi story, The Maze Runner, 2015 yielded an even bigger picture for Poulter: Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant.

The film has been billed as an Oscar-worthy performance for Leo, but Poulter (and Hardy too) is hardly a slouch in his own role. Playing real-life frontiersman Jim Bridger, Poulter turns in a performance laced with all the fear, confusion, adrenaline, and humanity that early American pioneers cycled through on a daily basis while they pushed themselves to the limits of human capability. If you think your nine-to-five is a drag, The Revenant will quickly remind you of how privileged you are to suffer from any sort of boredom.

Poulter knows how lucky he is to be on-the-rise at such a young age. Because while his peers are climbing the corporate ladder, Poulter is busy learning the tricks of his trade from Leo and Brad Pitt. We caught up with the budding star to talk about his role in The Revenant, his interests away from film, and what’s coming soon in 2016.