How the ''Billy Elliot'' actor felt about his role

By Nicholas Fonseca
Updated December 23, 2000 at 05:00 AM EST

Moment of Arrival His ferocious gotta-dance-if-it-kills-me tap dance as the star of the hit British indie Billy Elliot.
How He Got the Part Elliot director Stephen Daldry picked the Bellingham, England, native — who’s been hoofing it since he was 6 years old — after auditioning more than 2,000 boys. ”The character’s so much like me,” admits Bell. ”I got names like poof, ballerina boy, tutu girl. That just gave me the determination to (dance). I wanted to prove that it wasn’t just for girls.”
Previous Jobs Before this big-screen debut, Bell muddled through the British theater circuit in shows and various local stage productions.
What Fame Has Brought Oscar buzz, though Bell — already sounding like a Hollywood vet — is trying to resist the hype: ”I just don’t believe what they’re saying.”
What’s Next He’s currently appearing in the Brit television series Close & True. After that, his dance card is open. ”I’d like to make a movie (in the U.S.),” he says, ”but I don’t really have any interest in living here.”