Noel Clarke on the Bafta that changed his life
Actor, writer and director Noel Clarke has said he would not have the career he enjoys today if he had not won a Bafta honouring emerging talent.
Noel won the EE Rising Star Award in 2009, following the success of his movies Kidulthood and Adulthood.
He beat stars including Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Hall and Arrested Development actor Michael Cera, and credits the prize for giving him his long career.
Noel, who followed up Kidultood and Adulthood with Brotherhood in 2016, told the Press Association: “You never know the way it’s going to go.
“The year I did it it was Fassbender and Rebecca Hall, I wasn’t in a Marvel film or a Star Wars film, I wasn’t in anything big.
“I was in a little British film that seemed to capture a bunch of teenagers and so I don’t think anybody thought I was going to get that and so you never really know what is going to happen.
“Winning showed that what I was doing had captured an audience and had captured people and that is the only reason I’m standing here right now 10 years later.
“That is the only reason I was able to do the third film last year and have it absolutely destroy the box office and be a smash hit, it’s because of the public.”
Noel said he has not yet felt the pull to join other black British actors, including Idris Elba and David Oyelowo, in America, where they say there are more opportunities.
He said: “I go where the bills get paid, as long as my bills get paid here, I will stay.
“There is a bigger country there that has ten times the amount of people, is fifty times the size, there are more opportunities and people are always going to go where there are opportunities – but that doesn’t mean there isn’t opportunity here, I’ve done very well in this country.
“The BFI announced last year that I am the most prominent black movie star of the last ten years that hasn’t left the country. That is always something that I wanted to do in my home country and that is what I’ve done.
“It’s not that it’s impossible, it’s just things are tough but things are changing, the world is changing and I never look at it as the glass is half empty. The talent that leaves and does well there is able to come back and help over here as well.”
This year the actors on the shortlist for the Rising Star Award are Spider-Man actor Tom Holland, Loving actress Ruth Negga, Manchester By The Sea’s Lucas Hedges, Victoria actress Laia Costa and The Witch’s Anya Taylor-Joy.
The public can vote at ee.co.uk/bafta and the winner will be announced at the awards ceremony on February 12.