Attending classes at Horizon High School in northeast Phoenix one month, acting alongside Brad Pitt in "Troy" the next month.
Such overnight success sounds like the implausible fiction of . . . well, a summer blockbuster. But it’s real life for Garrett Hedlund.
Hedlund, 20, who played the part of Achilles’ (Pitt’s) cousin Patroclus in last year’s "Troy," is one of the titular siblings in "Four Brothers," which opens Friday.
Despite his jarring transition from yearbook photographer to matinee idol, Hedlund plays it cool.
"I wasn’t necessarily a typical high school student," Hedlund says. "When I was there, I was trying to focus on anything that diversified my whole knowledge of creativity, be it art, be it photography, be it literature . . . artistic expression. That’s all I was interested in."
So Hedlund, who also starred in last fall’s ‘‘Friday Night Lights,’’ is far from a starstruck kid. But don’t think he’s gotten complacent at his young age — he recognizes the rarity of the opportunities he’s had.
Of the $175 million epic "Troy," Hedlund says, "I felt so fortunate that I was able to have that chance, and that experience. Looking back at it now, it was a blessing."
There’s no doubt that Hedlund was determined as a student at Horizon.
"While I was here, going to school, I sort of locked myself in the room and studied on my own," he says. "Reading books — just studying my own way."
Hedlund, who moved to the Valley from a small town in Minnesota when he was 15, took twice the normal class load the fall semester of his senior year to graduate a few months early and move to Los Angeles.
"If I waited to go out there until after graduation, I wouldn’t have had the chance to audition for ‘Troy,’ so it was fortunate timing," he says.
The life of an actor was Hedlund’s sole aspiration growing up.
"It was what I wanted to do," he says.
In "Four Brothers," his largest role yet, Hedlund plays effete wannabe rock star Jack Mercer, the youngest of the four adopted boys.
"The character was a younger character who took a lot of banter from the older siblings," he says, "I wanted to pursue his route of being a sort of rock star who had a rough childhood, went foster house to foster house."
Hedlund notes his experience working with Academy Award-nominated director John Singleton as a benchmark of his nascent career.
"Working with John Singleton, I’m very fortunate to be in this position," Hedlund says.
Although his burgeoning film career keeps him busy, Hedlund still has a lot of family and friends in the Valley.
"I try to get back when I can," he says.
Traveling to Arizona is now even more difficult — Hedlund is currently filming a movie version of the fantasy novel "Eragon" in Budapest.
But don’t expect him to stay away for too long.
"I got a lot of friends still that I keep in touch with, and my mother and my sister," he says. "I love being back here, I love the Valley of the Sun."