Page last updated at 15:56 GMT, Wednesday, 12 January 2011
Sundance showcase for actor Craig Roberts
Craig Roberts as Oliver in Submarine
Craig Roberts has been compared to the young Dustin Hoffman, whose films he was given to study for his critically acclaimed debut in Submarine

A teenage actor from Caerphilly is winning rave reviews for his big screen debut in an acclaimed British film.

Craig Roberts, 19, from Maesycwmmer, plays the central role of a deadpan schoolboy in Submarine.

It is the directorial debut of comedy actor and writer Richard Ayoade, star of Channel 4's The IT Crowd.

Submarine has been premiered in Toronto and London and will be shown at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in Utah later this month.

The film is based on a darkly comic coming-of-age novel by Swansea-born author Joe Dunthorne.

Craig plays Oliver Tate, a precocious, self-centred schoolboy who tries to keep his parents together and find himself a girlfriend.

Cast of Tracey Beaker
Craig made a name for himself as Rio in The Story of Tracey Beaker

He says he turned to acting as a young child when he realised he wasn't built to be a rugby player.

Craig was spotted in drama workshops in south Wales and chosen for parts in TV programmes such as The Story of Tracey Beaker and Casualty.

But he was surprised when his agent said he'd been asked to send an audition tape for the Submarine part.

"I don't know - they probably just picked my name out of a hat," he told BBC Radio Wales.

Shot in Swansea and Gower, the film features many of the UK's leading stars who Craig had admired from afar.

"I was very nervous … I'm a huge fan of Paddy Considine, also Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor," he said.

"They really helped me loads - they were so chilled out and that was the way to be.

Craig Roberts and Yasmin Paige in Submarine
Oliver finds his love interest in Jordana, played by Yasmin Paige

"So that's what I learnt from them - not to worry about it too much and just have a good time."

Craig added that playing the lead helped take some of the tedium out of the filming process.

"There's (usually) a lot of waiting around, drinking coffee … but the character I was playing was in every shot so there was none of that for this, which was great."

Craig is pleased with the reviews of Submarine, including one in the Daily Telegraph which likened his deadpan appearance to that of Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate.

Since then he's filmed a cameo in a big screen version of Jane Eyre and a guest spot as a young vampire on the BBC Wales-produced TV series Being Human.

In February he is due to audition for something so special he can't talk about it yet.

Craig Roberts
Black ties and red carpets come with the territory for a rising film star

Craig is unable to attend the Sundance Film Festival in Utah due to other commitments, but he is getting adept at handling the promotional round of festivals, premieres and interviews.

"You have to promote yourself, you have to have this smile on your face all the time and be this nice guy - which I am!"

Submarine is set for a UK release on 19 March with the possibility of a Welsh premiere.

Craig now has an agent in Los Angeles.

"I never wanted to be an actor until about three years ago when I realised it was what I liked doing.

"I want to do comedy films, serious films - I admire the actors who fly under the radar but get loads done, pop up in a lot of good films."

Despite his rise to stardom Craig still lives with his parents and enjoys great support from family and friends.

"I'm staying in the same bedroom I've had for the last 19 years and I love it."



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