Matt Smith: 5 things to know about the star of Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut

Carly Maga

Everyone on Gosling watch knows that he’s currently in Detroit, working his directorial debut, “How to Catch a Monster.” That city has caught a bad case of Gos-it is (unsurprising), but the 32-year-old blond hunk from Cornwall, Ont. is not the only male specimen that has fans drooling.

Actor Matt Smith plays Bully in Gosling’s movie, and the 30-year-old actor was recently spotted filming an intense scene that had him pumping some iron and throwing a black and gold sequined bomber jacket around his head. And did we mention he was shirtless?

Yes, we wouldn’t mind being the companion to Matt Smith, who somehow steals the spotlight from Gosling, Internet’s favourite heartthrob. But while Smith is already pretty famous in his home country, he's only just preparing to blow up in popularity on this side of the pond. Check out five things you should know about Matt Smith:

He’s British
Smith was born and raised in Northampton, Northamptonshire (yes, really), located about 108 km northwest of London, England. His acting career took off in Britain’s successful theatre industry, appearing at the Royal National Theatre and London’s West End. Currently, he lives in the Tufnell Park neighbourhood of London.

He's insanely famous in the U.K.

Smith might be a new name for many moviegoers, but he already has an enormous following in the U.K. and among sci fi fans around the world. In 2010, Smith took on the role as the 11th incarnation of The Doctor on the long-running series "Doctor Who," and the actor almost immediately skyrocketed to fame. Though he was the youngest actor to play The Doctor in the history of the series (which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year) his performance has been critically praised, giving him an army of devoted Whovians to follow his every move. He even got to carry the Olympic torch in the lead-up to the 2012 London Olympics.

He used to date model Daisy Lowe

Smith had an on-off relationship with 24-year-old model Daisy Lowe for about three years. After dating for a year and a half, they ended their relationship in 2011, but have been rumoured to have reunited since. Lowe, daughter of fashion designer Pearl Lowe and Bush frontman and Gavin "Mr. Gwen Stefani" Rossdale, has also been romantically linked to music producer Mark Ronson and rapper Tinie Tempah. Smith is a full-fledged heartthrob among his English fans, though he apparently doesn’t like his ears or a scar on his forehead (on full view in “How to Catch a Monster,” for which he shaved off his signature thick brown locks).

His older sister was in the Eric Prydz video for “Call On Me”

Laura Jayne Smith, a.k.a. Princess Girly, is a cabaret dancer with her own group “The Girly Show.” But in 2004, her career got a boost with the infamous music video for Eric Prydz’s “Call On Me,” taking place in an '80s-era aerobics class (Laura’s the one in the blue leotard). She also had a bigger role in exposing her little brother to the arts: when they were kids, she brought him around the neighbourhood while she performed for their neighbours, and when she landed her first gig as a dancer in the stage production of “Saturday Night Fever” in London, Smith reportedly went to see the show 57 times. Since then, Princess Girly has toured the world as a backup dancer for Kylie Minogue and others.

He was almost a soccer star
In school, Smith was a dedicated soccer -- er, football -- player, but a back injury when he was 16 years old crushed his sports dreams. His drama teacher began signing him up for plays and theatre festivals without his approval, until he attended London’s National Youth Theatre, where his new career took off. Smith still a passionate football fan, following the Blackburn Rovers. He’d even like his obituary to read: “Loving father and die-hard Blackburn Rovers fan with sugar cravings, who had a passion for otters.” (The “father” part is yet to be fulfilled.)

With his starring role in Gosling's new movie, it's only a matter of time before Smith rivals the Canadian star for Ultimate Heartthrob status.

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