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Tribeca: How an Unknown Irish Actor Became the New 'Transformers' Star

Jack Reynor Headshot - P 2013

The 21-year old actor Jack Reynor is in the US to promote his award-winning film, the first step in what will be a crazy ride.

"I tend to stay away from media as much as I possibly can," Jack Reynor says, sunk into a chair in a hotel in New York's Fashion District. "I like my work to speak for itself."

Good luck, kid.

The 21-year old Irish actor is in New York for the Tribeca Film Festival, promoting What Richard Did, the acclaimed drama in which he stars under the direction of fellow Irishman Lenny Abrahamson. The movie, in which he features as an upper middle class golden boy who commits a heinous crime in the heat of a fight outside a Dublin bar, won the prize for Irish film of the year at the Irish Film & TV Awards. It's a nice chit on his resume, but it's his next project that could launch him to superstardom.

What Richard Did: Film Review

Reynor in January was named the new star of the fourth Transformers film, filling in the shoes of the youngster in Michael Bay's CGI-based robot franchise left by the departed Shia LaBeouf. Bay wrote on his website at the time of the announcement that he had spotted Reynor in What Richard Did, and, ironically, it was a natural disaster that helped him get the part.

In New York to film the Vince Vaughn-led comedy Delivery Man, Reynor returned to LA when Hurricane Sandy hit the city and temporarily shut down the film's production. "That just lent me enough time to get into the Transformers race," he says.

Asked why he thought Bay was making a fourth film in a franchise that was thought to be done at number three, Reynor shrugged his shoulders.

"All I knew was basically, Michael was going to make Transformers 4 and we were going to chat about me being in it," he says of the meeting. "We didn’t chat about making a fourth or any of the motives behind it. But personally, I think there’s a lot more to be done with it. There’s a whole new direction to take it in, and a lot more to explore in that universe, and I think we’re going to make a definitive step away from the previous movies, and this is going to be a lot of fun and I’m incredibly excited."

Reynor expressed a ton of enthusiasm for working with the franchise's other big new star, Mark Wahlberg, whom he praised for making every actor around him better. He name checks Charlie Chaplin and Jimmy Stewart as his favorite actors, professing a seriousness for his craft that goes beyond alien robot invaders.

"The reason I got into acting is, it’s just about character, there’s a love of creating characters," Reynor professed. "I love portraying them on screen. Fame never was a feature in it, I don’t really care about making a whole lot of money, just I’d like to be comfortable, and that’s all I care about."

Whether he likes it or not, fame -- in the form of magazine covers and worldwide tours -- is on its way.

Email: Jordan.Zakarin@THR.com; Twitter: @JordanZakarin