Many awards at last night’s BAFTAs were perceived as a surprise. And among them, the one for Rising Star, which ended up in the hands of Will Poulter.
“So, the cliché: this is a bit of a surprise,” were the words that he first uttered when he took the stage to give his acceptance speech. Poulter showed that he was just as shocked as everybody else, considering that Lupita Nyong’o and Léa Seydoux were contenders in the same category.
Voted by the public, this BAFTA recognises the 21-year-old as a promising actor in the future film panorama, after a six-year career where his most known role has been in a Chronicles of Narnia sequel. But does the broader public really know who he is?
An alumnus of the Harrodian School, which fellow thespians like Robert Pattinson, Tom Sturridge and George MacKay (who was also nominated last night) attended, Poulter strikes as the typical Londoner, well educated and with aspiring dreams as an actor.
Raised in Hammersmith, Poulter landed his big breakout role at the age of 15, in the comedy-drama Son of Rambow, which earned him a nomination as Most Promising Newcomer at the British Independent Film Awards in 2008. He also created the sketch show School of Comedy with his schoolmate Jack Harries (now a well-known YouTube personality), which would eventually become a television show in 2009.
In 2010, a 17-year-old Poulter appeared in the third film of the Chronicles of Narnia saga, The Voyage of the Dawn Trader, as Eustace Scrubb, cousin of the main characters of the previous films. His role was supposed to continue as the main lead in the following sequels, but the poor box office results prevented them from happening.
The following year, he co-starred in Wild Bill, a low-budget film that premiered at the London Film Festival and received critical acclaim.
But 2013 was when Poulter would find his way into better future prospects in the acting world. He starred in the forgettable US film We’re the Millers with Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis, and which would lead to his BAFTA nomination.
More interesting is what he has been filming throughout the year. The 6′ 2″ tall actor will release three movies in 2014: Kids in Love, Plastic and The Maze Runner, all of them likely to boost a career that is already lifted with the BAFTA award.
Poulter finished his acceptance speech almost crying, and he was so nervous that he forgot the names of his fellow nominees. Things completely normal in a newcomer whose biggest wish last night was to meet Leonardo DiCaprio.
“If I meet him, there’s a chance I’ll melt.” Now is the time for Poulter to start a career that makes an upcoming actor say that about him, 20 years from now.
Originally published on WNOL.