By Christopher Lisotta
After seeing Jim Sturgess in Julie Taymor�s musical Across the Universe, Robert Luketic (pictured right) had to have him for the lead in 21, the Kevin Spacey�produced nail-biter movie based on the true story of a group of MIT students who gamed the blackjack tables in Las Vegas. A native Londoner, Sturgess was awed by shooting on location in Sin City, �but to spend a month there, we slowly started to lose our minds,� he admits. �We were living in the casino we were filming in. One day I realized I hadn�t left the building four days straight.�
Best known for directing what he calls �wedding dress movies� Legally Blonde and Monster-in-Law, gay director Luketic was ready for a departure. �I felt a lot more creatively free because the romantic comedies operate under such strict genre code,� he says. Taking on the gritty and sometimes violent 21 was made that much easier by having Sturgess along for the ride. �He had that movie star thing going on,� Luketic says of his lead, before ribbing the unshaven and casually dressed Sturgess. �You wouldn�t believe it looking at him now. When the camera rolls, it�s something else. He is spot-on and flawless.�
For Sturgess, there are many parallels between gambling and his chosen career. �Challenging yourself,� he explains, �and doing things you�re not necessarily comfortable doing is a big part of what acting is about."
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