Billy Elliot comes of age.
The boy who won hearts worldwide as Billy Elliot is almost anonymous in his most high- profile role to date, writes JAMIE Bell could well be the first person in cinematic history to play a starring role in a Steven Spielberg film but still walk the streets unrecognised.
Sipping coffee in London’s Soho, Bell is savouring his lack of superstardom.
He got swept up in the emotionally manipulative roller- coaster of fame when, at the age of 14, he became a worldwide phenomenon as the ballet- dancing boy from
Now 25, and with feet firmly on the ground, Bell stars as possibly the most famous cartoon reporter – Tintin – in a film created by two of the world’s biggest directors, Spielberg and Peter Jackson.
Thanks to performance- capture technology, which takes live movement and renders it into animation, Bell was able to travel the world in
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
without ever leaving a Hollywood studio.
‘‘ I didn’t even have to dye my hair,’’ he says. ‘‘ I am the first ginger hero. It’s pretty amazing.’’
He corrects himself when reminded the Australian Prime Minister is another notable flame- haired figure.
‘‘ What’s his name? Her name? Right, me and Julia, representing the gingers of the world united,’’ Bell shouts.
It’s hard not to get swept up with Bell in the adrenalin ride of
With his fluffy white dog Snowy at his heels, and swashbuckling drunk Captain Haddock by his side, Tintin delighted
Tintin. generations of cartoon readers as he travelled to the Congo, Egypt, South America, oppressive Eastern European nations and even the moon, battling spies, pirates and opera stars.
Georges Remi – aka Herge – created the character Tintin, an earnest boy reporter, while working at a Belgian newspaper.
More than 80 years later, Tintin’s adventures have resulted in 350 million comics sold in his native Belgium to Australia, India and beyond. But he is virtually unknown in the US.
Bell is convinced once it becomes clear Tintin is a family- friendly Indiana Jones with a dog, America will buy it.
‘‘ The US has no idea. All they will know is that it’s a Spielberg film. That’s worked in the past,’’ Bell says.
It also worked for him – Spielberg’s ground- breaking CGI masterpiece
was the first film Bell saw in a movie theatre when he was eight. ‘‘ It blew my mind,’’ he says. Now he’s the lead in Spielberg’s latest technologically impressive project.
The use of performance capture, the filmmaking technology most recently seen powering the stars of and
has split Hollywood. One side of the debate embraces it as a revolution in film- making. Others argue it takes away from the craft of acting.
Planet of the Apes,
Rise of the
NEW ADVENTURE: Jamie Bell plays boy reporter Tintin with ( below) sidekick Captain Haddock ( Andy Serkis).