In fact, Hardwicke followed a variation on her own Twilight blueprint in casting two relatively untested actors as Amanda Seyfried's rival beaus in Red Riding Hood, a lusty take on the Brothers Grimm tale that opened last weekend.
As Henry, the good-boy blacksmith, she hired fair-haired dreamboat Max Irons, 25, the London-born son of Oscar winner Jeremy Irons.
"He is sensitive and heartfelt, the one your mother wants you to marry," the director says. "More the emo type."
Meanwhile, Shiloh Fernandez, 26, is outsider Peter, a dark-locked woodsman who exudes a dangerous vibe. "He is alienated and isolated."
If there is any advice that aspiring leading men should heed, it is this: Get thee to a gym. You ain't got a thing if you ain't got those abs.
Blame the barely clad warriors in 2006's Spartan epic 300 or those shirtless dudes in Twilight's Wolf Pack, but rippling tummies are the new cleavage.
Consider that Hardwicke asked Irons and Fernandez to work out so they would be physically believable in their roles. "Their characters make a living using their arms," she says. "I told Shiloh, 'This guy is a woodcutter. He has to lift heavy logs. I want you in the gym every day.' "