First Car Bought
Speaking of exclusivity, Dodge Rams aren't usually seen on U.K. streets. "In America, you see a Dodge Ram every five seconds," he says. "But in the U.K. people looked at me like I was crazy because it's far too big for the roads and people were like, 'Why are you driving that monster?' But I drive it because no one else is. I just like driving strange cars."
When Whittle was a working actor and but he couldn't yet afford the Lamborghini, he bought his second dream car, a 2006 Dodge Ram, also inspired by his youth.
"My youth was dominated by 'Knight Rider' and 'The Fall Guy,'" he says. "I always wanted a pickup truck. Maybe I was watching the 'Fall Guy' and he was doing all these stunts and jumping over things in a pickup truck. There's pickup trucks in the U.K. but if you're going to go for one, then you want to go for one of the best ones. And what better than the monster that is the Dodge Ram? It's pure American beef."
"It really did look fantastic," he continues. "I fell in love the first time I saw it. I was looking on the Internet and this one came up and when I saw it I fell in love. I didn't care what it cost or any problems with the car. I just wanted it."
Whittle says when he first saw the Ram, it was almost like a scene in a movie. "It was a sunny day, which is very rare in England," he says. "The sun was shining; he just had it washed. It was sparkling; the alloys were glistening. It was like 'Wayne's World.' It was slow motion. I could hear music. It was a beautiful moment."
But in England, even the Dodge Ram was expensive. "But I always believe in buying what you want. Why keep upgrading?" he says. "Everything is expensive in the U.K. We pay $10 dollars for the gallon and that's just for gasoline. We probably pay a good few extra grand over there on cars. It's actually cheaper to buy them in America then ship them over to the U.K. than to buy it in the U.K."
Car he learned to drive in
Whittle learned to drive just outside of London in his mom's late 1980s model Peugeot 205.
"My dad took me out into this long stretch of farmland and it was a straight road and I could not stay straight," he says. "He said, 'Just stay straight and drive to the end.' He was trying to teach me gears. The majority of the U.K. is manual, so everyone has to drive stick, and he was trying to teach me clutch control and how to go through the gears and because I was concentrating so much on trying to get my gears and clutch, I kept swerving all over the place."
After a couple lessons with his dad and eight lessons from a driving school, he passed his driving test.
"I'm now an official American because I'm far too lazy to change gears," he says. "I love the automatic. I'm such a lazy driver. It's nice to have hands free and foot free, it's like a go kart, you've got 'stop' and you've got 'go.' I can eat a hamburger while I'm driving and I don't even have to worry about the gears. It's perfect."
Favorite road trip
"My favorite road trip is a 2:30 a.m. trip to the drive-thru when you've got the munchies after a night out," he says. "I don't know why, but food tastes so good at the end of the night when you know you shouldn't be eating. Just go home and sleep, but no, you have to go and have that dodgy burger, kabob or a pizza, or something that's not good for your insides."
But aside from fast food runs, a favorite road trip is the drive in his old Lamborghini on the M6 up to Scotland.
"It was a three-hour drive from England to Scotland. It starts off on some big long motorways, so when there's no one around you can really open it up," he describes. "You get a lot of speed and try and keep it safe, but you're having fun. Once you get more towards Scotland, it turns into windy roads."
He enjoys the drive because it's about feeling the power and yet control of the Lamborghini. "Obviously when you're driving a performance sports car, it's nice to feel that grip on the road and, then you're weaving through these countryside roads. It's the reason you buy a car like that," he says. "Every now and then you might get scared by a tractor that comes out from the field from nowhere. Scotland is a large area and a lot of it is farmland. It's a beautiful country with beautiful people -- it's just too cold."
"Austenland" and VH1's "Single Ladies"
Whittle worked on a soap called "Hollyoaks" as well as "Strictly Come Dancing," which is the U.K. version of "Dancing with the Stars." He came to America with no guarantee of work.
"People said I was crazy to move -- I've got a good life, good money, prospects, everything going for me. And I said, 'It's not enough. Satisfaction is the death of desire.' That's a saying I use today. Be grateful for what you've got."
While grateful, as an actor he felt he reached a plateau. "I was being offered jobs every day by my agent in the U.K. for roles that were very profitable," he says. "I've been financially very well-off or I could have done so many different shows where I could have been an even bigger name. But that wasn't what I was after. I think if you ask anyone what their favorite TV shows in the U.K. are, they'll say 'Entourage,' 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Breaking Bad.'"
He likes the American attitude towards making TV and movies. "You give 100 percent into the industry out here, whereas in the U.K. they're scared to lose money, especially when the recession hit a few years ago. Productions are unwilling to put a large amount of money into projects, whereas in America, it's, 'Ah, hell with it! Let's make it the biggest and the best we can and if it works, it works.'"
Whittle has become a convert of his new adopted home. "I love that inspiring attitude that America has. It's very positive and it really is apparent if you've been to both countries. America really does have this fantastic attitude, this positivity that exudes from all of you guys, whether it's waiters, garage attendants, not just actors, producers," he says. "The country as a whole is a very positive place. There's another reason why I love it. My only problem in the morning is, 'What color shorts do I wear?' It's sunny everyday and everyone is smiley and happy. So why would I not want to live here? I'm just annoyed that I didn't move here sooner."
Right after he moved to America, Whittle booked his first movie, "Austenland," produced by the writer of "Napoleon Dynamite" and "Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer.
"And what did they do? They sent me back to the U.K. to shoot this," he says. "I just moved to L.A., I got all excited, I booked this film, it's the producers of 'Twilight' and 'Napoleon Dynamite' and they said, 'Your part is going to be filmed just outside of London.'" I was literally 40 minutes from my two best friends. They were like, 'So, you're back then.'" I was like, 'Yup.' It's all good."
"Austenland," featured at Sundance last month, is a romantic comedy featuring Kerri Russell, Jennifer Coolidge, Oscar winner Bret McKenzie, Georgia King, and Jane Seymour. "It's a great cast; it's very funny," he says.
Whittle also booked what was supposed to be just two episodes on VH1's "Single Ladies," which was picked up for Season 3 and airs later this year. Producers liked Whittle and his chemistry with Denise Vasi so much that he ended up staying for all 10 episodes, leaving audiences with a cliffhanger at the end of Season 2.
"I guess people will want to know what happens to Raquel and Charles, because we left the end of Season 2 where I was about to leave the city with my new girlfriend and Raquel confesses her love to me, so I'm stuck between two women and who do I go with?" he says. "So Season 3 is obviously going to hold the answers to my final decision."
Whittle also has a large following on Twitter, with more than 130,000 followers.
"I'm having a great time and I've been very blessed, so just keep positive, keep smiling," he says. "You reap what you sow and if you give out all this good energy, it eventually comes back to you and I'm going to keep on smiling, keep positive and just enjoy the ride. You don't regret things you don't do. As long as I keep having fun, it could all end tomorrow, but at least I had fun doing it today."