Hero Fiennes Tiffin makes his leading man debut in After, a young adult story set to make girls all over the world fall in love with him
Get ready to meet Hollywood’s new heartthrob.
21-year-old British actor/model Hero Fiennes Tiffin is starring in After as Hardin Scott, a mysterious and sulking senior who catches the attention of innocent freshman Tessa Young, played by Josephine Langford. And his performance is bound to get some hearts beating when the movie opens in theaters on Friday.
Though some fans might recognize the movie due to its connection with One Direction and Harry Styles — the story was originally written as fan-fiction with Styles as the main character then later evolved into Hardin — After takes Hardin in a different direction with Fiennes Tiffin at the helm.
Read on for what to know about the British hunk who is set to have hearts swooning when the movie opens Friday.
He comes from an acting family
Yup, he’s part of that Fiennes family. His uncles are the actors Ralph Fiennes, known for playing Voldemort in the Harry Potter movies, and Joseph Fiennes, who plays Commander Fred Waterford in The Handmaid’s Tale. His parents, George Tiffin and Martha Fiennes, are also well known in the industry as directors.
While Fiennes Tiffin says his childhood was pretty normal and his family rarely talked about the movie industry, he says it’s been nice to have a built-in support system now that he’s setting out on his own career.
“My uncles are always busy away acting so I barely even see them much at all, but I always know that they are so supportive,” he says. “Anytime I do see them, they always check up on it and make sure everything’s okay and let me know that they’re there for me. But I don’t see them very much so when I do we tend to just talk about family stuff more than anything.”
This is his first leading role
Though Fiennes Tiffin has been modeling for a while and had featured in a few projects, this is his first leading role in a movie. The actor tells PEOPLE that he dove into the role and prepared as much as he could before filming.
“It’s the kind of thing that, as an actor, you look forward to eventually and you wait on it, then when it comes around, you question whether you’re ready or not,” he says of taking on the starring role. “It’s just one of those things you have to jump in the deep end and go ahead and do it. I just prepped as much as I possibly could.”
WATCH: Joseph Fiennes Reveals the Secret to Getting Through ‘Quite Tortuous’ Scenes on The Handmaid’s Tale
He has great chemistry with Josephine Langford, but he’s still single
Fiennes Tiffin and Langford have electric chemistry in the movie, which the actor says came naturally and developed before filming.
We had a week’s rehearsal beforehand to focus on just the scenes between our two characters,” he says. “And the more intimate scenes were scheduled towards the end, so we had even more time to get to know each other.”
And while Fiennes Tiffin says he knows fans will naturally want them to be together, he tells PEOPLE he’s single and hoping to keep his private life out of the spotlight.
“It’s funny that people think that if you act in a film in some ways, they try to pull that into real life,” he says. “Especially with [romance]. Like, if you see someone die in a film, you don’t wonder if they’re actually dead or still alive. But people do with relationships. It’s a bit strange, I feel like on Instagram we’ve seen people say stuff like that from a while ago. That’s definitely weird.”
He played young Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
One cool perk of his uncle Ralph playing Voldemort in four Harry Potter movies was the opportunity to play a small part in the hugely successful franchise. Fiennes Tiffin stepped in to play the young version of Tom Riddle, the boy who would eventually grow into Voldemort, in the sixth movie when Michael Gambon’s Albus Dumbledore goes to visit him at the orphanage in a revisited memory.
“It was cool, it felt more like a one-off fun experience than a potential career choice when I was doing it,” he says of his childhood part in Harry Potter. “I was sold by the days off school more than anything.”
But starring in the movie didn’t kick off Fiennes Tiffin’s dreams of acting.
“I remember it being really fun at the time, but wanting to have a normal childhood when I came back and had to catch up,” he says. “Wanting to act was a gradual thing for me after that.”
Hardin is based on Harry Styles, but he didn’t use him as inspiration
Though the original After book series, which spans 5 novels, is based on Harry Styles, the movie creates some distance between Hardin and his famous inspiration.
“I feel like the character is so separate from that now and is his own thing,” he says. “I don’t actually know anything about Harry Styles in terms of how he is, I felt no need to delve into those aspects. The original source of inspiration was drawn from him, but I don’t think we’re by any means trying to duplicate his life or anything. It’s very much a separate story with a separate character.”
His next role puts him opposite Nikolaj Coster-Waldau — aka Jamie Lannister!
He’s already in production on his next movie, an action thriller titled The Silencing also starring Annabella Wallis and Game of Throne‘s Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. The plot follows a retired hunter (Coster-Waldau) as he teams up with the local sheriff (Wallis) to catch a serial killer that may have kidnapped his daughter years ago. Fiennes Tiffin plays Wallis’ troubled younger brother.
“It’s the kind of film that I would really want to watch and therefore want to be a part of it. I can’t wait, I’m really excited,” he says.
But what about the chance of getting to work with Jamie Lannister?
“I do watch, I love Game of Thrones, I’m really excited,” he shyly admits, “but I promise that’s not the only selling point of me wanting to do this film!”
After is in theaters Friday.