The Transformation Of Armie Hammer From Late Teens To 35 Years Old

The following article contains references to alleged sexual abuse

There once was a time when Armie Hammer was slated to become one of the biggest stars of his generation. In 2012, the then 25-year-old actor's erstwhile co-star Lily Collins told Vogue, "If you asked an artist to draw an all-American hero, he'd draw Armie." Little did we know, however, that he would turn out to be the portrait of a Hollywood villain.

It's been a hot minute since Hammer's face has graced our screens — and with good reason. Of all the sordid stories to have arisen from the post-MeToo climate, Hammer wanting to literally cook his partners is something that no one ever expected. And with the Discovery+ documentary "House of Hammer," which uncovers his dark family secrets and features testimonies from his alleged victims, we can expect even more scandalous revelations to become public knowledge.

With his old-school Hollywood good looks and towering stature, Hammer certainly had the physical attributes of an A-lister in the making, notwithstanding his acting talents. He earned praise for his carefully selected roles, particularly his turn as the Winklevoss brothers in "The Social Network," and as a charismatic grad student in "Call Me By Your Name," working with both veteran directors and auteurs. It's bewildering that such a promising career has ended so soon and for some of the most disturbing reasons imaginable.

From the privileged rich boy (by his own admission) to Hollywood hunk and then persona non grata, this is the transformation of Armie Hammer from childhood to 35 years old.

Armie Hammer was born into privilege

The son of businessman Michael Armand Hammer and the great-grandson of oil tycoon Armand Hammer, Armie Hammer was born on August 28, 1986, per New York Magazine. Although his birthplace was Los Angeles, he spent a large part of his childhood in the Cayman Islands. On the surface, it appeared that Armie, who was raised into monumental privilege, enjoyed an idyllic childhood. Family photos show the cherubic youngster with his flaxen Beatle 'do surrounded by wealth and material goods. 

But the Hammer clan hid dark secrets and have been compared to the Roys from "Succession." In the documentary "House of Hammer," which exposes the family's shady history, Armie's aunt, Casey, said, "On the outside, we were the perfect family, but magnify 'Succession' a million times and it was my family."

Indeed, the actor's upbringing was far from conventional. According to a Vanity Fair exposé, the Hammer family history is littered with tales of manslaughter, money laundering, art forgery, and infidelity. Armie himself was a rambunctious youngster. In a Roman Roy moment, he once set part of his school on fire. "I was a bad criminal, because I wrote my name with the fluid," he told New York Magazine. But the "Lone Ranger" star has been surprisingly frank when discussing his privilege. Describing his upbringing as "f***ing paradise," he told The Independent, "There are things all the time that I catch myself doing and I think, 'Wait a second, is this white privilege?' Yeah, I think it is."

Armie Hammer started acting as a teen

At the age of 12, Armie Hammer discovered his love of acting — thanks to his enthralment with "Home Alone." "It looked like the most fun thing in the world ... He had miniguns, he had flamethrowers, he had gadgets, he had booby traps," he recalled to Little White Lies. "In my child-like brain, that was acting. It never hit me how real it was until much later." But Hammer wouldn't quite go on to become Macaulay Culkin 2.0. In the sixth grade, he starred in a production of "Annie," but dropped out of school in the eleventh grade, per New York Magazine. It wasn't until he reached his late teens that he would secure acting roles.

At the age of 18, he made his first onscreen appearance with a blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance on the Season 2 "Arrested Development" episode "The Immaculate Election." The aspiring actor played a high school jock antagonizing George-Michael (Michael Cera) amid his run for class president. In the role, simply entitled "Student #2," Hammer is near unrecognizable from his incoming heartthrob days, sporting innocent boyish good looks and a foppish golden mane.

As an unknown actor, he also had a stint on "Gossip Girl," playing Blake Lively's love interest in a role that New York Magazine described as "entitled a-hole." During an appearance on "Watch What Happens Live," Hammer confessed that he was supposed to star in far more episodes, but was fired. He declined to elaborate on why he was axed.

David Fincher comes calling

In 2010, Armie Hammer scored his first major film role when David Fincher cast him in "The Social Network." Hammer depicted the mortal enemies of Mark Zuckerberg, twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, who claimed he stole their idea to create Facebook (Hammer's face was superimposed onto co-star Josh Pence's body, who played Tyler Winklevoss, meaning he was effectively Hammer's body double, per The Guardian). Details Magazine argued that Hammer embodied the twins' arrogance with aplomb (via BuzzFeed): "When Hammer-as-Winklevoss wears a robe, it's as if to say, 'This is how an a**hole wears a robe.'" Hammer reprised the roles in "The Simpsons" Season 23 episode "The D'oh-cial Network," which parodies the potentially pernicious nature of Facebook.

Despite sharing the brothers' height (he stands at 6'5") and deep voices, Hammer has insisted that he couldn't be more different from the Winklevosses. "They went to Harvard," he told Town and Country Mag. "And I'm a guy who dropped out of high school... My parents thought I was an idiot ... So, no offense to the Winklevoss brothers, but really we couldn't be more different."

At that awkward transition stage from teen to young adult, Hammer appeared unsure of himself when attending his first red carpet events in 2010, as he gawkily grinned, fresh-faced and clean shaven. It was also the year that he married longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Chambers. Hammer admitted to Little White Lies that he doesn't even believe in marriage, but he wanted to make a bold commitment to his lady love.

Entering the Hollywood big leagues

First David Fincher, then Clint Eastwood. The early 2010s saw Armie Hammer work with some of the most esteemed auteurs in the industry. Eastwood cast the budding young star in his 2011 biopic "J. Edgar," which focused on the tumultuous life of J. Edgar Hoover, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Hammer depicted Clyde Tolson, who was long rumored to be the titular FBI director's lover.

Regarding his kissing scene with DiCaprio, Hammer dismissed the media buzz it elicited as being symptomatic of homophobia. As he told New York Magazine, "It just felt like kissing. I also had to shoot a machine gun in the movie, but nobody asks about that." In an otherwise lackluster review, NPR pinpointed Hammer's performance as a highlight of the film: "Both as a smooth young blade on the make and as a gnarled old gent making his peace with the flawed man he has chosen to adore ... he redeems this lumbering quasi-history and brings it to life as a surprisingly tender love story."

Waltzing the red carpet at high profile events in 2011, he appeared markedly different to the uber-confident hunk that would go on to typify his persona. Looking otherwise dapper in his suit, he seemingly lacked confidence as he innocently smiled for the cameras. That year, he was also arrested for possession of pot brownies and cookies in Texas, per TMZ. Reflecting on the incident on Instagram (via E! News), he sinisterly remarked, "let's be honest, [it's] probably not the last mug shot."

Armie Hammer, Prince Charming

As Vanity Fair argued, "To the world Armie Hammer was simply a cartoon-prince-handsome scion." It comes as little surprise, then, that he was cast as Prince Alcott in the 2012 fairytale fantasy "Mirror Mirror," based on "Snow White." In an interview with Mom Trends, he championed the film's subversion of arguably sexist fairytale tropes. "I mean, anybody who questions how we did it in the movie, it's like, 'Come on, man, we made a fun kids' movie where the girls gets to save the day. That's a nice treat.' Why not? Who says that can't happen?"

Posing with IRL Snow White Lily Collins at the film's premiere, Hammer looked every bit the live action Prince Charming in his champagne-colored suit and floppy gold locks. In the flick, he wore a number of outlandish costumes, including bunny ears. Although initially hesitant to embrace his quirky side, he eventually relented. "I think honestly my initial reaction is, 'You really want me to wear that?'" he told Momtastic. "But, when you're standing on that set and you are looking at the extravagant nature of everything, the costumes fit in. They make sense."

Also that year, Hammer embarked on an unlikely side business when he and his wife, Elizabeth Chambers, opened their patisserie, Bird Bakery, in Texas. Chatting about the venture to San Antonio Magazine, Hammer joked about being Bird Bakery's cupcake taster, but lovingly declared that his wife's determination and culinary skills were solely responsible for the success of the patisserie.

Trying his hand at Westerns

In 2013, Armie Hammer landed his first ever starring role, as the eponymous masked hero in Disney's "The Lone Ranger." Starring alongside Johnny Depp, whose casting as the Native American Tonto was heavily criticized, the movie was an opportunity for Hammer to prove his worth at the box office. Discussing the role with New York Magazine, Hammer was surprisingly modest. "I've said before, I think I am piggybacking on people who are more talented than I," he said with regards to Depp

By now, Hammer had begun to present himself with a tad more swag, his imposing 6'5" build draped in fancy suits as he posed for the cameras. Indeed, word has it that Depp himself was so intimidated by Hammer's physique that he ensured he and his co-star didn't stand next to each other at a press event, per Deadline.

The film's director, Gore Verbinski, told Bring Me The News that Hammer's classic Hollywood looks were exactly what made him cast the newcomer. "By design, I couldn't get Jimmy Stewart for the role, so I wanted to find somebody for this movie who had classical bones and a little out of time, because I wanted to throw the character of John Reid against Tonto and against Johnny," he explained. Alas, Hammer's cheekbones couldn't save the flick from flopping. As Variety reports, the film cost $250 million to produce, while marketing cost an additional $150 million. Subsequently, it was a colossal box office bomb, taking in $260.5 million worldwide.

Box office bombs plagued Armie Hammer

To paraphrase "Seinfeld's" George Costanza, it was supposed to be the summer of Armie. But one too many box office flops meant that Armie Hammer headed into the mid 2010s with his leading man aspirations seemingly dashed. British gangster flick director Guy Ritchie recruited Hammer and fellow Ken Doll doppelgänger Henry Cavill for his 2015 big-screen remake of '60s spy series "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." Except, it would prove to be yet another blot on Hammer's résumé. In a scathing review, The Guardian described Hammer and Cavill as "fantastically dull and uncharismatic, with all the sexy danger of a pair of M&S men's underwear models." Ouch.

At press events, Hammer appeared somewhat jaded — and with reviews like that we're not too surprised. Now donning a lustrous bushy beard and a pristine coif, he embraced a more mature look in a shirt and blazer combos (still in his signature muted tones), appearing a tad older than his 29 years.

In a 2017 Vanity Fair interview, he divulged that he'd grown somewhat disillusioned with the industry, confessing that his youthful thespian dreams hadn't come to fruition following the aforementioned flops. "When you're young ... and you're an idealistic actor, and they're telling you about what making film can actually be," he said. "They tell you about the projects that you do that challenge you, and push you, and force you to grow ... And then you get into the business and you realize that it's very much like a business."

Armie Hammer the Hollywood heartthrob

By 2016, Armie Hammer tried a different career approach. Instead of big-budget productions, he began working with independent filmmakers. Subsequently, he teamed up with Nate Parker for his low-budget directorial debut "The Birth of a Nation." Hammer plays the duplicitous slave-owner Samuel, with Variety writing, "Hammer convincingly embodies [Samuel] as a man whose decency turns out to be strictly conditional."

It was an apt collab for Hammer, who is known for his support of Black Lives Matter. However, in an interview with GQ, he bizarrely compared his experiences of being one of the only white kids at school with anti-Black racism. "I think that is very important, for me, in terms of shaping how I view racism and prejudice, because, you know, I was called "White Boy" ... I know this is nothing compared to what black people go through in America today but it's a taste of something."

This period marked a change in Hammer's red carpet persona. Looking every inch the old school Hollywood hunk with his steely blue eyes and slick 'do, he evoked the classic good looks of the likes of Paul Newman and Burt Lancaster. Regarding his ascension to stylish heartthrob, he later told GQ that he began schooling himself on all matters sartorial. "[Fashion is] something I learned at first because it was sort of part of the job," he said. "But if I'm going to have to wear all of these clothes ... I might as well get to know something about it."

A breakthrough with Call Me by Your Name

For Armie Hammer, it took a low-budget coming of age romance to turn him into a star. In Luca Guadagnino's 2017 film "Call Me by Your Name," Hammer plays Oliver, a grad student who falls for Elio (Timothée Chalamet), the teenage son of his academic associate. The film, which was a box office hit, spawned hordes of Armie and Timothée stans (or "Charmies") and, inevitably, thirsty fan fiction. Hammer even had to remind one overzealous fan that "Call Me by Your Name" is, after all, a work of fiction, per Gay Times.

Perhaps in an attempt to rival his decade-younger co-star, Hammer began a marked shift to a trendier aesthetic, looking straight out of an early 2010s indie band with his tousled chestnut mane and on-point stubble.

Despite the success of the film, which was nominated for multiple Academy Awards, Hammer dealt with his newfound fame with unease. In a rather prophetic admission, he confessed that he was fully prepared for his luck to run out. "Given my history," he told The Hollywood Reporter, "I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop." Regarding the controversy surrounding straight actors playing gay characters, he told the Independent that he simply enjoyed tackling roles that are disparate from his IRL persona: "I was just happy to have an opportunity to try to bring truth ... I think that's what acting is. I would hate to only be able to do roles that fit perfectly with who I am."

Armie Hammer the indie darling

In 2018, Armie Hammer featured in Boots Riley's irreverent black comedy "Sorry to Bother You." The film stars LaKeith Stanfield as Cash, a telemarketer who adopts his inner "white voice" to climb the corporate ladder. Meanwhile, Hammer plays Steve Lift, an evil businessman with an unhealthy obsession with, ahem, equine private parts, who draws Cash into his sordid world. As The Atlantic highlights, Steve Lift is an extreme parody of unscrupulous billionaire CEOs: "He draws in both employees and detractors as though they are longtime friends, then quickly reasserts his own power whenever necessary ... It's hard to watch him and not think of any number of Silicon Valley's mononymous technocrats."

While the indie flick was praised for its satirical and unique take on the grind, Hammer was a tad peeved that he didn't pocket a wad of cash from it. "I only got paid about $900 for that film," he told GQ. "At the moment, it's hard to get a job, period. Sometimes you're not maverick enough for the grittier roles and then you don't make enough money for the big studio parts."

Now adapting to playing fiendish characters, Hammer's look transformed to match his newfound career trajectory. Looking like a 1970s movie villain, or maybe Ron Burgundy, he looked equal parts dapper and menacing in a white turtleneck and black blazer ensemble at a press event. Eschewing smiles, he instead stared intently as he posed on the red carpet, an omen, perhaps, of things to come.

The sordid rumors began

Armie Hammer could have been a woke bae. At least, he made strides to present himself as such. Speaking to the Independent in 2019, he criticized toxic masculinity, claiming that he and Elizabeth Chambers had an egalitarian relationship. "I recognize that there is toxic masculinity all around us, but that's not the world that I perpetuate," he said. "That's not the household that I live in with my wife and children."

But he would soon eat his words when he was accused of cheating on Chambers with his "Rebecca" co-star Lily James. According to Daily Mail, Chambers was incensed after discovering sexts on her husband's phone from a woman named Adeline, which was James' on-set name when filming "Rebecca." Insiders close to Chambers told the outlet that the couple's marriage began to fall apart in 2019, when he had finished filming the adaptation of the Daphne du Maurier novel. "While he was filming, he chose to have weeks away in the English countryside instead of returning to see his family who were also in the UK. This is all very typical of him," an insider alleged, adding that "Elizabeth was devastated, heartbroken."

Appearing at an event with Chambers around the time of the split, there was a palpable decline in Hammer's A-list chic; fully embracing the dad wardrobe in a casual sweater, his mane consisted of messy spikes, while his face was heavy on the stubble. Truly, he began looking like a star who knew his days were numbered.

Armie Hammer's day of reckoning

After spending years floundering in small roles and flops, it seemed things were finally going Armie Hammer's way. But in a twist that no one was prepared for, the actor was canceled for, of all things, allegations of cannibalism. In screenshots shared by his ex-flames, Hammer exhibited fantasies of extreme sexual violence, as chronicled by Insider. Subsequently, he was dropped from numerous high-profile projects, per Vanity Fair.

But there was still the matter of his film "Death on the Nile," which was released shortly after he was canceled, per The Guardian. In the flick, Hammer looked considerably different from his heartthrob heyday, appearing older than his years as he donned an old-timey mustache and a 1930s Facon cut. The film was notable for featuring a number of problematic stars: his co-star Letitia Wright spread vaccine misinformation, while Russell Brand has come under heavy scrutiny for re-Branding himself as the British Joe Rogan.

Shortly before being canceled, Hammer was interviewed by GQ and alluded to the personal issues he was having. "I felt like a wolf who got caught in a snare. A wolf who wanted to chew his own foot off. I was just like, 'I can't do this,'" he said in an admission that appears sinister considering what we know now. He also discussed his newfound love of mustaches, having sported a handlebar in addition to the Chevron-esque one in "Death on the Nile," describing the former as "Part 1970s pervert." Again, ominous choice of words from Hammer.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Selling timeshares in the Cayman Islands

Following the initial cannibalism allegations, more women came forward with accusations of abuse against Armie Hammer. Throughout it all, Hammer kept a low profile, effectively becoming persona non grata in the industry. The LAPD launched an investigation after one of the actor's exes claimed he raped her, but in December 2021 it was confirmed that police were unlikely to charge Hammer, per TMZ.

The following year, Hammer emerged from obscurity in a pal's Instagram post, per The Sun. The disgraced former A-lister looked near unrecognizable with a completely shaved head and casual hoodie, as he flipped the bird. And that wasn't the only change 2022 would bring.

Hammer once told Seventeen that his dream job was "Running a jet ski rental operation on a tiny island." Well, his current job hasn't quite lived up to that dream, but it's not too far off either. Yep, Hammer is now telling timeshares in the Cayman Islands. TMZ published snaps of a conservative-looking Hammer in his office job, pitching timeshares to clients. In July, Variety confirmed reports of Hammer's new profession. "He is working at the resort and selling timeshares. He is working at a cubicle," an insider revealed. "The reality is he's totally broke, and is trying to fill the days and earn money to support his family." In addition to being a timeshare salesman, he also tried his hand at managing an apartment complex. From "The Social Network" to the Shopping Network, how far the Hammer has fallen.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).