Nicholas Hoult on British Cars and the Fiat He Left Behind

We talk to former boy, famous ex, and polite-as-pie actor Nicholas Hoult about the hardships of driving.

Nicholas Hoult has been spending a lot of time in cars lately. The new Jaguar pitch man just wrapped filming on “Mad Max: Fury Road,” the next installment in the post-apocalyptic, post-body shop epic. It was the perfect job for Hoult, who has loved cars since he was young enough to play the boy in “About a Boy” and tell Osha from “Game of Thrones” to both shake her ass and watch herself. No, he didn’t always have impressive wheels, but he does now and it looks like that’s pretty much how it’s going to be from here on out.

Hoult talked to Maxim about his personal automotive history and the crazy stuff he’s allowed to do in sports cars now that he’s a movie star.

Have you always been a car guy?

I’ve loved cars since I was a kid. That was all I’d play with. Then, the moment I could, I got my driving license and then motorbike license. I just love the feeling of it. It’s kicky when you’re driving a powerful car.

What was your first car?

A Fiat Punto. Three door, red. Nicknamed ‘Monty.’ It was a manual.

Was it your partner in crime? Or was it a total piece of junk and you couldn’t wait to move on from it?

It was my first car: I loved it. It was one of the best summers in my life, suddenly having freedom. I grew up right in the countryside of England, so I got to rove around quite a bit.

Were you able to get up hills under your own power or did you have enlist passersby?

It was just powerful enough to do that. But before that I rode a scooter and that was 50cc and literally, if you were going up a hill, you had to pull over to let all the motorists behind you pass.

Did you find that your early cars, your Fiat, helped or hurt your romantic endeavors?

I don’t think anyone lines up when they see a Fiat, but you gotta have confidence in whatever you’re driving.

Do you have a national loyalty to British cars?

I certainly want the British brands to do well, but we’re slightly different about our patriotism in the UK than the States. It is nice to have something to be proud of. 

Favorite that you’ve ever had a chance to drive?

A Lamborghini Murcielago – and The F-Type is certainly up there. I went to Finland and drove it on a frozen lake and did donuts. It’s so much fun when you hear the crack of the ice underneath but you figure that everyone’s doing it and they’re fine and you’re trying to get the throttle just right to keep the car spinning.

The comedian Eddie Izzard has a theory that British actors are always forced to play villains because of residual poor feelings on the American side about the Revolutionary War.

It does seem like a trend for quite awhile. There is an enjoyment and a charm that comes with it. Guys like Ben Kingsley and Tom Hiddleston make you like villains. That’s important in a film, you’ve got to kind of want the villain to win.

Photos by Danny Martindale / WireImage