Stylist’s own vintage Hawaiian shirt.
The practice has inspired at least one of Levine’s tattoos, the Sanskrit word tapas inked above his heart. “The meaning is a little bit loose and can get misinterpreted, but when applied to talking about yoga, it has to do with my fire or determination for the practice,” he says. “It’s a personal thing. That’s kind of why I put it in a place that’s a bit more hidden.” Not all his tattoos are quite as meaningful. Some are just there to look good, like his most recent piece, a string of beads around his neck. “I was in Japan and I got this necklace. I’m not sure why I got it—I think I was bored. But I like it.”
A lot of his other black-and-gray work was done by Bryan Randolph, who works out of Spider Murphy’s Tattoo in San Francisco. He also has a heart with a scroll that says Mom from Amsterdam’s Hanky Panky (Henk Schiffmacher) and a dove by Baby Ray of Spotlight Tattoo in Los Angeles. He got the dove at 21; it was his first piece, and Baby Ray treated him accordingly. “After he did the tattoo he made me go across the street and get him a pack of cigarettes,” Levine says. “You have to give those guys credit, they’re probably sick and tired of people screwing around and coming into the shop and not getting anything, so I totally understand the attitude of, ‘Are you wasting my time or are we really going to do this?’”
He’s not planning any new work at the moment, and that might be because he’s in the process of filming his first movie, John Carney’s Can a Love Song Save Your Life?, which is being coproduced by Judd Apatow. Tattoos wouldn’t be out of place on his character, a musician who moves to New York City with his girlfriend (played by Keira Knightley), but who’s to say his next role will be the same? Every additional tattoo is more time in the makeup chair for cover-ups.
For now, it may be too soon to contemplate his future in movies. Acting is still new to him and it’s something he’s uncharacteristically humble about. “It’s challenging,” he says. “The first thing I did when I got the job was ask friends who are actors what the fuck I was supposed to do.” This admission proves he’s not divine, but human after all—and with the year he’s been having, we were starting to wonder.