emily   –   January 09, 2015

Jack O’Connell has vowed to try to help underprivileged actors break into the movie industry.

The Derby-born actor used to sleep rough in parks so he could attend auditions in London.

He told Newsbeat: “I had no drama school training. I came up through a workshop in Nottingham and then the funding got cut.

“The only money I ever had to pay out was for train fare.”

Jack O’Connell got his big break landing the role as James Cook in Channel 4 teen drama Skins.

“I’m a product of that workshop, reflecting on 10 years of professional work now.

“They could never guarantee their survival for more than six months at a time,” he added.

He’s not the first actor to comment on the cost of pursuing a career in acting.

Last year Dame Helen Mirren told us that she feared the cost of trying to break into the industry might put off young people from poorer backgrounds.

A year of tuition at a private acting school can cost thousands of pounds.

After leaving Skins, O’Connell went on to star in films including Starred Up, Harry Brown and 300: Rise of an Empire.

His most recent role has seen him catapulted into the Hollywood mainstream.

O’Connell was handpicked by Angelina Jolie to star in Unbroken which was her debut film as a director.
“I’ve worked for a long time through very strenuous periods to someday receive a level of recognition,” O’Connell told us.

The actor says that once he’s cemented his stance as one of the industry’s leading actors he hopes to use his influence to help others from a similar background as him.

“Hopefully things will go full circle one day. Once I steady my own ship a little I am certainly going to direct my attention into creating these sort of opportunities for people like myself.”

Things continue to look up for the the actor after he was named as one of the nominees for the Bafta Rising Star award.

Jack O’Connell will be up against Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Miles Teller, Margot Robbie and Shailene Woodley for the prize.

He said: “This one here is official. I am quite flattered to be nominated, it’s a very competitive category.”

Previous winners of the award include James McAvoy, Kristen Stewart and Tom Hardy.

“It’s the only category that’s voted for by the public so all the more reason if it comes my way but you can’t let these things define you,” said O’Connell.


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