Jamie Bell literally twirled his way into our hearts as a 13-year-old "Billy Elliot," and now the 25-year-old English actor stars in the surefire holiday blockbuster "The Adventures of Tintin." The down-to-earth Brit took a bit of time to speak with HuffPost Celebrity about the global popularity of the Georges Remi character and what it's like to work with Steven Spielberg.
Did you read Tintin comics when you were little?
I did. I read them when I was eight, guilty as charged. There's something about the characters in the book that's so ingrained in the culture in Europe.
When you got offered the role were you like, "Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, not good enough"?
Yeah, basically I was like, "Can you employ some talented people?" I'd already worked with Peter on "King Kong," so we kind of had a bit of a relationship, and obviously I was a huge fan of Steven Spielberg, so just to be entrusted to do this by such talented people was a very humbling experience.
It is a really big deal.
Yeah, if you know what it is. In the States they have no idea who he is. It's a big deal for me because I happen to love this character and it's a big deal to be in a Spielberg film and it's a big deal to have the responsibility to play this globally-iconic character.
It makes sense to me that he's not big over here. The books were never really published here. He just never made that leap. He got to India but not quite to the U.S.
How do you describe him to Americans?
What I've been saying is he's intrepid, he's curious, he's innocent, he's a beacon of excellence to children, and his moral compass is pointing in the right direction. He is a true hero because he relies on nothing other than his natural heroic instinct.
You became an overnight star with "Billy Elliot."
I was very lucky to be surrounded by people who weren't necessarily trying to turn me into anything. I think the people around me wanted me to remain a child. I was very well taken care of.
Ever watch it now and think, "Oh my God, I was so cute!"
You know, I do that all the time. I watch that movie all the time and I say, "So cute!" In fact, I'm doing it right now.
Do you still dance?
Yeah, of course. Dancing is like riding a bike. I tap dance. I love the old Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly movies; they're so beautiful to look at. It's such a shame we don't make them anymore. Although, I don't know how you could make tap dancing current and topical.
How are Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson different?
I kind of think of Peter as a kind of mad professor, slightly anarchic and mischievous. Steven is kind of similar to Tintin in that he's fearless and innocent and a bit of a perfectionist.
Peter Jackson has lost stacks of weight since you last worked with him. Was it weird seeing him?
God I wouldn't even know how to begin talking about Peter Jackson's figure. "Hi Peter, you've lost weight," -- it's not how you start a conversation.