Egan smoothly steps into leading man role 

After moving to Los Angeles from his native Australia in 2003, following a three-year engagement on the Sydney-based soap opera “Home and Away,” Christopher Egan is finally getting his shot as a Hollywood leading man in the fantastical romantic comedy “Letters to Juliet,” which opens Friday.

For that, he credits his parents.

“They encouraged me to learn all the big performing arts — singing, dancing and acting,” says Egan, 25, who began his stage career in Down Under productions of “Les Misérables” and “West Side Story,” and recently enjoyed a starring run in the short-lived NBC drama “Kings.”

“They sent me to a ­performing-­­arts­ school, so when it came to auditioning for musical theater, I loved it. I was 12 years old, traveling and acting in my first musical. It was incredible.”

Later, Egan says, daytime TV proved an invaluable training ground for an up-and-coming actor unaccustomed to working such a rigorous schedule with veteran performers.

It helped instill the tireless work ethic he would need in Los Angeles, where he moved, without a concrete job prospect, after six months of perfecting his American accent.

At the time, he didn’t have the money to last long without work, but fate interceded on his behalf: He nailed his first audition, earning a supporting role as Roman statesman Marcus Agrippa in the ABC miniseries “Empire.”

From there, he parlayed small parts in movies like 2007’s “Resident Evil: Extinction” and his turn as a heroic soldier in “Kings” into a role with real breakthrough potential: Charlie, a laughably stuffy Brit with a well-concealed soft side in “Juliet.”

“I don’t know if I would have been ready for a lead role back when I first got here,” he says. “Working with all sorts of stories and characters, it’s helped me learn what I can do, and what I’m most comfortable doing. In this case, I loved Charlie, this arrogant, overprotective prig. I knew I could do some quirky, weird stuff and have a lot of fun with him.”

Describing co-star Amanda Seyfried, the “Mamma Mia” star who plays Charlie’s unlikely flame, Egan is effusive.

“She’s crazy like me,” he says, noting that his favorite romances are those, as in “Juliet,” where lovers start out as fierce rivals. “We hit it off immediately, and that shows up on the screen. We got to improv together a lot — [director] Gary Winick let us go off in some very strange directions — and having that freedom was so liberating. Plus, she’s not bad to look at.”


Letters to Juliet

Amanda Seyfried, Christopher Egan, Vanessa Redgrave
Written by
Jose Rivera, Tim Sullivan
Directed by Gary Winick
Rated PG
Running time
1 hour 45 minutes

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Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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