"(It's true that) most British movies are emotional and I agree that most American actors look manufactured. It's a shame." Jamie Bell.
English actor Jamie Bell garnered critical praise for his debut performance as the title role of a miner's son who decides to become a ballet dancer in the delightful Billy Elliot (2000). Following his stunning debut, he was handed lead roles in such films as Nicholas Nickleby (2002), Peter Jackson’s blockbuster remake King Kong (2005), the indie film The Chumscrubber (2005) and Clint Eastwood-directed Flags of Our Fathers (2006). As for his upcoming film projects, Bell will star in Jumper, Doug Liman's adaptation of Steven Gould's popular novel; and Hallam Foe, David Mackenzie's take on Peter Jinks' novel.
The fresh-faced young British actor with phenomenal talent, who also acted as Honorary Jury President of the 2001 Giffoni Film Festival, was one of Fade In Magazine's "100 People in Hollywood You Need to Know" in 2005. On a more personal note, Bell had dated teen actress Evan Rachel Wood (born on September 7, 1987), whom he met while filming Green Day's music video for "Wake Me Up When September Ends." Their romance apparently over as Wood has been romantically linked to the recently divorced alternative metal rocker Marilyn Manson.
"I go because that's where the work is, but I like, use and abuse. I fly in for the meetings, then fly out. That community is really small, so everybody knows each other. I kind of don't like that. It's not really a community I feel very welcome in." Jamie Bell (on Hollywood).
Childhood and Family:
"I think I became my own person dealing with my mother and sister. I never had a father figure so I never missed it. In fact, I thought it would be just another person to discipline me." Jamie Bell.
In Billingham, County Durham, England, Jamie Bell was born on March 14, 1986. He was raised by his mother, Eileen Bell, and has no contact with his father John whom his mother divorced before Jamie was born.
Young Jamie grew up watching his mother and older sister Kathryn doing dance recitals. At age three, began to take dance lessons. As a boy, he attended the Stagecoach Theatre School and was also a member of the National Youth Music Theatre group. He later studied dance at London’s Royal School of Ballet. Jamie prefers tap dancing over ballet. He has been in many tap-dancing competitions and won many awards.
Jamie continued pursuing ballet despite the mockery from his classmates. He said: "The other boys called me 'poof', 'ballerina boy', "Get on your tutu, Jamie." It gave me more determination to prove it wasn't just for girls. It was for boys as well."
"Ballet is very hard. It takes a lot of practice to get to a certain standard. You have to know a lot about the steps because when you take examinations they'll ask you all about it." Jamie Bell.
Coming from a family of dancers, Jamie Bell began to take dance lessons at age three and decided to act when he was nine. His first acting performance is reported to be part in a London stage (Queens Theatre) production of the musical “Bugsy Malone” in Christmas 1998, , alongside other future stars Hannah Spearritt and Sheridan Smith.
"I can understand why everyone sees me as Billy Elliot; it was the first thing I did, so I was determined to take the most diverse route possible. It wasn't to annoy people, but it seems to have upset so many people." Jamie Bell.
Bell made his professional debut in 2000 in the leading role of Billy Elliot in Stephen Daldry's drama comedy film with the same name. He beat out over 2,000 other young actors to play the title role of a talented 11-year-old boy who becomes torn between his unexpected love of dance and the disintegration of his family. His delightful performance later garnered critical acclaim, winning him a number of awards, including Britain’s coveted BAFTA Award for Best Performance By an Actor in a Leading Role (beat out fellow nominees Russell Crowe and Tom Hanks) and the British Independent Film Award for Best Newcomer, as well as being nominated by the Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance By a Male Actor in a Leading Role. He also walked off with Young Artist Award for Best Young Actor in an International Film.
"It's just an award although it is a big one. It is no good getting too big-headed. I've been very busy and I'm very tired. I've been given advice, you know on speech-making and things like that. It's kind of weird that the other guys didn't win because they're such big guys." Jamie Bell (on winning awards, after he won the British Academy award).
Following his stunning debut, Bell went to star as a young soldier in writer-director Michael J. Bassett's war drama Deathwatch (alongside Laurence Fox and Kris Marshall) and co-star as Smike, a pathetic figure and a cripple who is perpetually ill and lives under Squeers’ (played by Jim Broadbent) “care,” in Douglas McGrath's film adaptation of Charles Dickens' comic novel, Nicholas Nickleby (opposite Charlie Hunnam, Anne Hathaway and Alan Cumming; both in 2002). He also teamed up with Devon Alan playing two brothers forced to go on the run in order to guard a secret following the death of their father in David Gordon Green's drama-thriller Undertow (2004; also featuring Josh Lucas and Dermot Mulroney).
2005 saw Bell starred as Dean Stiffle, the teen forced by local drug dealers to get his dead friend's stash in The Chumscrubber, Arie Posin's dark comedy about the lives of people who live in upper-class suburbia, and as Dick Dandelion, a young loner recently lost his father and lives in the poor mining town in Dear Wendy, a Thomas Vinterberg's drama film which also stars Bill Pullman and Mark Webber. He also supported Naomi Watts and Jack Black in Peter Jackson's remake of the original 1933 film, King Kong, in which he played Jimmy, a kleptomaniac boy found on the SS Venture, wild and abandoned. He later provided voice for the character in its video game version.
Recently, Bell co-starred with Ryan Phillippe, Adam Beach and Jesse Bradford in Clint Eastwood's war drama Flags of Our Fathers (2006), based on the book of the same name written by James Bradley and Ron Powers. In the film about the Battle of Iwo Jima and Raising the flag on Iwo Jima, he portrayed Ralph "Iggy" Ignatowski, Phillippe's John "Doc" Bradley's U.S. Marine best friend who was tortured and killed by Japanese troops.
Next, Bell will portray the title role of Hallam Foe, a teen voyeur who fancies his step-mother until he is convinced that she murdered his mother. The drama film, based on a novel written by Peter Jinks, is being directed by David Mackenzie and is set to be released in the UK on February 9, 2007. He will also so-star with Samuel L. Jackson and Hayden Christensen in Doug Liman's sci-fi film adapted from Steven Gould's popular novel, Jumper, playing the role of Griffin.
"I love looking down my résumé and seeing all those great people on it like David Gordon Green, and of course Peter Jackson and Stephen Daldry. When I look at it, I feel very proud for myself and the people around me who have managed to get me these roles." Jamie Bell (on why he picks roles based on directors).