Jamie Bell (born Andrew James Matfin Bell; 14 March 1986) is an English actor. He is best known for playing the title character in the film Billy Elliot (2000), for which he won the 2001 BAFTA Award for Best Actor. Since then he has played a mix of leading roles in small independent films and supporting roles in big budget films such as Peter Jackson's version of King Kong.
Bell was born in Billingham, in the Borough of Stockton on Tees, England, where he grew up with his mother, Eileen (née Matfin), and older sister, Kathryn. His father, John Bell, a toolmaker, left before Bell was born. Bell began his involvement with dance after he accompanied his sister to her ballet lessons. He was a pupil at Northfield School, then the Stagecoach Theatre Arts school. He was a member of the National Youth Music Theatre. In 1999, he was chosen from a field of over 2000 boys for the role of Billy Elliot, an 11-year-old boy who dismays his working-class widowed father and older brother by taking up ballet.
Bell served as Honorary Jury President of the 2001 Giffoni Film Festival. Since his film debut in Billy Elliot, he has appeared as the crippled servant Smike in an adaptation of Nicholas Nickleby, a young soldier in Deathwatch, a teenager on the run in Undertow, a gun-toting pacifist in Dear Wendy, a disaffected Southern California teenager in The Chumscrubber, and the young Jimmy in the 2005 film version of King Kong. He also appeared in Close and True, an ITV legal drama shown in 2000, which starred Robson Green, James Bolam and Susan Jameson. In 2007, he played the title character in Hallam Foe – for which he was nominated for the best actor award at the British Independent Film Awards – and appeared as himself in lonelygirl15 spin-off KateModern.