Belfast Telegraph

O'Connell: I would have joined Army

Jack O'Connell has revealed being a soldier was his back-up plan, if he wasn't successful at acting.

The former Skins star, who appears in fantasy sequel 300: Rise Of An Empire and prison drama Starred Up, admitted joining the army was "totally against" his mum's wishes, so she was relieved when his acting career took off.

"I'd made the decision to join the army by the time I was 16, if acting didn't happen," he said.

Jack, who made his screen debut in the soap Doctors in 2005, had a short recurring role in The Bill and appearances in Waterloo Road and Holby City in between roles in films This Is England and horror Eden Lake. But it was his portrayal of cheeky Cook on Channel 4's teen series Skins which turned him into a household name.

Aside from the 300 sequel and Starred Up, he is starring in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken and is being tipped to be the next big British name.

"I'm just thankful this has happened at a time when I'm mature enough to handle it wisely and with sensibility," he continued.

"To me, the only obvious route, or only plausible one, was to work hard enough over here.

"I knew I wasn't going to get there [Hollywood] by signing myself into a soap for a certain amount of years and prioritising finance. I thought, as long as I keep the roles genuine, then something's going to give."

:: 300: Rise Of An Empire is in cinemas now, while Starred Up opens in cinemas on March 21.

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