Looking at Huisman's first leading man role in a Hollywood movie, in the romantic fantasy "The Age of Adaline,” it's easy to see why.
He may be tall and handsome, but he's also disarmingly humble and likable. On a recent visit to The City to talk about the film, he begins by praising co-star Blake Lively, who plays the plays the title role: Adaline, a woman who, due to a freak accident, has stopped aging. Now 100, but still in the body of a young woman, she changes her identity and moves every 10 years – except when she meets Ellis Jones (Huisman) and is tempted to stay.
"She realized her character had come to age in the 1920s, so that was the period that she focused on in terms of mannerisms," he says. "She would hold on to as much of that as possible, and travel through all these decades, and add on, but at the core would be the 1920s."
He says that he wasn't fully aware of exactly what she was doing in her role until just recently, when he started selling the movie.
"When you're doing promotion, you explain your characters or your methods way more than you do when you're working," he says. "The process of working is so much more organic, we don't really analyze what each of us is doing -- unless it's not working. But if it feels right, you don't ask, 'What's your method?'"
Harrison Ford co-stars as Ellis' father, who loved Adaline years earlier when he was a younger man.
At first, Huisman was nervous about working with a living legend. "But after awhile, that goes, and you're landing on earth again," he says. "He was inspiring. He was very passionate about this story, questioning every move. He wanted to make it right. It really puts the movie into the next gear."
How did Huisman – who had a key role in Paul Verhoeven's acclaimed "Black Book," as well as parts "World War Z" and "Wild" – address his own character, a handsome, bachelor philanthropist millionaire?
"For me, the challenge was to make sure that we would like my character," he says. "He's mister perfect, so I wanted make sure he doesn't take himself too seriously. Otherwise, the audience would just go, 'Do you believe this guy?'"
IF YOU GO
The Age of Adaline
Starring: Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn
Written by: J. Mills Goodloe, Salvador Paskowitz
Directed by: Lee Toland Krieger
Running time: 1 hour, 50 minutes