What a Girl Wants
“I've always had this fascination with the movie business. It's always been a passion for me. I decided that I wanted to come here because this is where most movies are made. This is the town for it, to play Americans. I feel like my accent is good enough.” Oliver James
British actor, singer and musician Oliver James is perhaps best known for portraying Amanda Bynes' love interest in the American remake “What a Girl Wants” (2003) and Hilary Duff's boyfriend in “Raise Your Voice” (2004). He also played guitar and performed two songs on “What a Girl Wants.” James also played Nick on the BBC short lived series “The Innocent Project” (2006-2009) and Ben in the direct-to-video spin off to the 2004 hit film “Without a Paddle,” “Without a Paddle: Nature's Calling” (2009).
“Music is something that is very personal to me and nobody can ever really take it away from me because I can still sing in the shower. I can still write songs for my friends and enjoy things that I like listening to.” Oliver James
Childhood and Family:
Oliver James Hutson was born on June 1, 1980, in Ottershaw, Surrey, England. He graduated from the Guilford School for Performing Arts in Surrey. Shortly thereafter, he landed an agent in London. He attended Woking College from 1998 to 2000. In 2003, he relocated to Los Angeles, California, to further pursue his acting career. He stated, “LA was a bit of a culture shock at first. I think it’s taken me a while, actually. My girlfriend is in England and my parents and family and everything, so that was a big adjustment to come over here and just sort of completely focus on work.”
Oliver James, who goes by the nickname Ollie, enjoys soccer and racing. He has been driving since age 5 and once considered a career as a professional race car driver. He loves Italian food. Coldplay, Oasis, David Grey and John Mayer.
Raise Your Voice
After studying acting, Oliver James, whose primary reason to become an acting major was so he could attend the same school as his then-girlfriend, landed work in stage productions and commercials. In 2002, he made his first screen appearance in the television short film “School's Out,” where he played the supporting role of Dean. It was followed by a guest stint as Dave in the BBC television series “The Afternoon Play” (2003).
James' breakout role arrived when he was cast as musician Ian Wallace in the American teen comedy “What a Girl Wants” (2003), opposite Amanda Bynes, Colin Firth and Kelly Preston. Directed by Denise Gordon and co-written by Jenny Bicks and Elizabeth Chandler, the film was released to mixed reviews from critics. It grossed over $50 million worldwide against its budget of $20 million. “What a Girl Wants” is a remake of the 1958 comedy film “The Reluctant Debutante,” which was directed by Vincente Minnelli and scripted by Julius J. Epstein and William Douglas-Home and based on Douglas-Home's play of the same name. James was the only actor to kiss Bynes in his screen test for his role in “What a Girl Wants.” A drummer in his school days, he did not learn to play the guitar until he landed a role in the film. He also sang “Long Time Coming” and “The Greatest Story Ever Told” for the film's soundtrack.
In 2004, James played Hilary Duff's boyfriend, Jay Corgan, in the musical drama film “Raise Your Voice,” which was directed by Sean McNamara and written by Sam Schreiber. About a teen girl from Flagstaff, Arizona, who spends the summer at a performing arts school in Los Angeles against her father's wishes, the film earned generally negative reviews from critics and was a minor success at the box office (grossing only about $15 million).
Back to the small screen, James landed a regular role on the BBC drama series “The Innocence Project,” alongside Lloyd Owen, Christine Bottomley, Ruth Bradley, Stephen Graham, Luke Treadaway and Shelley Conn. He played Nick Benitz throughout the show's run from November 9, 2006, to February 7, 2007.
In January 2009, James was cast as Ben in the direct-to-video adventure film “Without a Paddle: Nature's Calling,” a spin off of the 2004 commercially successful film “Without a Paddle,” which starred Matthew Lillard, Seth Green and Dax Shepard.
Prior to making his feature film debut in “What a Girl Wants,” James joined a boy band produced by Simon Fuller, but soon quit to act in the film. He also played guitar and performed two songs for the film. He played acoustic guitar on “Raise Your Voice.”
“I've got such a broad range of musical interests. I've been influenced, from my father's music and my mum's so that goes way back to like the '50s. Of course Elvis Presley because every piece of pop music has been influenced by him, but then you look at the Everly Brothers. Then you move into the '60s and look at the Beatles, The Kinks and American bands, rock bands. I've listened to Queen, The Corrs. I do follow the charts. I listen to pop music, of course, but also I like kind of alternative stuff.”