The first thing that grabs you about actor Sam Palladio is the accent. But instead of the cute southern drawl we hear him employ so believably as musician Gunnar Scott on the country music-soaked soapfest that is Nashville, Palladio’s is proper British. Born and raised in the seaside town of Penzance (yes, like the pirates), the rising star will finally play an Englishman on the big screen in Runner Runner, out September 25, alongside Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake. “I’m this high-flying, self-made rich kid from London connected to the online gambling world,” Palladio says. “People will probably think, ‘God, that American’s really going to do an English accent?’ But I’ve played so many characters from different parts of the globe that when I saw my scenes, I almost felt like I was just being myself.” When it comes to style, Palladio’s personal tastes tend to favor his countrymen (Paul Smith, Burberry—"I’m like Justin in his suit and tie.”). But that doesn’t mean he didn’t enjoy roughing it up for our September "Easy Rider" shoot with model Bree Smith. “I have a few biker jackets, and I’m actually wearing a Harley Davidson belt right now,” he says. And, like most guys, he’s hardly immune to the charms of a girl in leather. “I do like a bit of rock chick, “ he admits. “When a girl can mix up styles, like wearing a floral piece with a leather jacket on top, that’s pretty cool.”
Pick up our September issue to see more pictures of Sam hanging out in L.A. with Smith for our moto jacket-themed shoot, and read on for more about the swoon-worthy actor right here.
Lucky: What can you tell us about your character in Runner Runner?
Sam Palladio: He’s this kind of self-made man at a young age, about 25, and he’s in this kind of seedy underworld of online gambling. His connections to that world are very attractive to Ben Affleck’s character, who seeks to expand his empire and my character might be a way of affording that. It’s a very cool part for me to play. It’s very exciting because I haven’t actually played an Englishman in anything before. I always seem to play characters from different parts of the globe with varying accents and mannerisms.
What’s your character’s style like?
In the movie, he gets burned a little bit by Affleck’s corporation and empire so he ends up going to Costa Rica, where the movie is set, so actually he’s got that beachy, white shirt, European beach style to him. I’m sure in a different society he’d be a slick character, driving around in his Maserati or something.
Have you gambled before?
No, you know what? I’ve never been to Vegas. I believe the premiere is going to be there, so that excites me. I was always really bad at card games, I could never remember the rules. I used to play a bit of poker just for fun with my friends and I’d always lose because my memory is very short-term, so I’d just forget what I was supposed to do and lose my money. I downloaded a gambling app on my iPad about a month before doing the movie. And Ben Affleck knows how to play and nothing can put me on the same table as him. I’d definitely fail.
Did you enjoy working with Justin Timberlake?
Of course. He’s from Memphis and I’m based in Nashville right now, so we did have a lot to talk about. He’s someone to really admire. He’s managed to tackle pretty much every front of the entertainment industry and be a success. Be it comedy, or…I’m a huge Coen Brothers fan and he’s in their upcoming Inside Llewyn Davis. That gives him some great credibility and he’s just been building and building and I think he’s a very talented guy.
Justin is a styling guy.
Exactly. There’s nothing wrong with a good, crisp, well-cut suit. So that’s what I try and employ sometimes.
Has country music seeped into you since working on Nashville?
It has! It’s funny, I’m driving around L.A. now with country radio playing. It’s good. It’s something I’d never think I’d ever be doing. It’s something about the songwriting and energy of country music. I’ve really started to enjoy and embrace it now, actually. Our worlds have merged a little bit in the sense that I’m actually friends with some of these stars now and the show has been able to bridge that gap so well. So I’m listening to Hunter Hayes, who I’m a friend of, and Vince Gill.
Do you want to release an album? People have these expectations for you because of the show.
That’s true. Thankfully, my music is not dissimilar to the music that Gunnar’s been singing this season, so I think if I was to do something, I’d be fortunate that the fan base might be similar. I hope so. It’s certainly in the making. I feel like I’ve only been here a year or so and acting for me has always been my number one passion. I absolutely adore music and songwriting but it’s important to me to establish myself over here as an actor and try not to get too distracted by lovely offers of albums and record deals and working with producers. I’m not in too much of a rush to jump to that, but I think I’ll ease my way into it this year, yeah. Maybe not a full album but at least a little taste of me because there’s isn’t really anything out there. Music has always been this passion for me and now I’ve got this platform to record. Being in Nashville, at the heart of music city, is the best way to actually really make a crack at it.
When it comes to style, would you say yours is similar to Gunnar’s?
I suppose it’s not too far removed. I wasn’t always a fan of the southern cowboy western shirts but I do wear the occasional southern shirt. I think I like the kind of smart style as well so I do enjoy putting on a good blazer and little bow tie occasionally. Sort of indie, smart chic, whatever you call it; a bit of Mumford & Sons, rock suits and things. I do try and support my home country sometimes, so I’m a big fan of Burberry and Paul Smith and those sort of London designers. To be honest, I’m not too clued up on it all. I probably should be a little more as we go further down the line. Maybe you can help me out with it.
What kind of style do you like for girls?
I come from a bit of a rock background as a kid playing in rock bands and stuff. I like a kind of edgier kind of style. I love earrings on a girl. Some girlfriends I’ve had don’t really think about that. A great pair of earrings, for me, really sets off a look.
Is there a trend that just confuses you?
Well, I don’t know if it’s still going on but back in the U.K. there’s the jeggings thing. The leggings that look like jeans, which I’m like, “Oh God, please, please no!” You’re like, “Oh, those are an interesting pair of jeans,” and turns out they’re sweatpants that look like jeans. So back in the U.K. there’s a lot of girls that wear them out and about. Just choose one or the other. Don’t crossbreed jeans and leggings and make them something awful.
We hear you’re a superhero geek.
Yeah, it’s connected to my sort of childhood-by-the-sea. I love Aquaman. He’s the underrated superhero. We haven’t seen him yet and it’s my goal to play Aquaman at some point.
Maybe we can put that out there for you.
Yeah, I believe they’re making the Justice League in the next few years and Aquaman is a member of that and a strong, beefy character so here’s hoping. I jump around between DC and Marvel and I know you can’t crossbreed but, again, it’d be Aquaman and the Marvel version would be the Silver Surfer because he’s got a surfboard and he’s badass. It’s all connected to surfing and that kind of thing.
Nashville returns on Wednesday, September 25 on ABC. Tune in!