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Entertainment: Who is Jude Hill - the leading actor in Kenneth Branagh film Belfast?

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Belfast is set to hit our screens on January 21, so we've been taking a deeper look at some of the actors who have made the film what it is.

The film follows 9 year old character Buddy, as he adjusts to life at the onset of the troubles in 1969.

Here's everything you need to know about Jude Hill, the actor who plays Buddy:

Who is Jude Hill?

Jude Hill is an 11-year-old actor based in Armagh, where he grew up with his mother Shauneen, father Darryl, and his siblings.

He plays the leading role of 'Buddy' in Kenneth Branagh's award-winning Belfast film, where he was picked out of over 300 applicants.

How did the actor get the role in Belfast?

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Shauneen's mother spoke to Belfast Live recently about how Jude landed his role in the film.

She explained: "It all started off with Jude whenever he was four. I used to bring him to all these Speech and Drama festivals and he cleaned up in every festival every year. I could see when he was in nursery, and even when he was in primary school, that when he'd be asked to read a poem in public or something - I could see how talented he was.

"Belfast was his first film, and we were shocked when we told that out of 300 kids, he'd gotten the part of Buddy. At the time we didn't realise how big a role it was."

Jude was helped to find his place in Belfast thanks to Shelley Lowry, a talent manager for young actors in Northern Ireland, who has helped the actor in his career.

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What have Kenneth Branagh and Jude's co-stars said about him?

At the Irish premiere of Belfast at the Waterfront Hall in November, Kenneth Branagh told us that it was a great feeling to have discovered a talent in 11 year old actor Jude Hill.

He said: "We kind of realised as we went along that we had someone special. Casting is always an act of faith, so you can see potential but you can't see the full thing. Not in a 10 year old kid you can't, at least I can't anyway. So you see something . What I saw with him was his capacity to listen, his presence, his playfulness, a twinkle in his eye and someone who wouldn't be thrown by the nerves of it all.

"But basically that capacity of him to listen was based on knowing that half the performance would be him reacting to things, so if he could listen and be present in the moment, and not get nervous and not stop listening so his eyes wouldn't go dead, then we knew we'd have something special. His great gift was also, like a sponge, he'd be listening to people like Caitriona and Ciaran and learning from them."

Actress Caitriona Balfe also told us that she had developed a close relationship with Jude during film.

Speaking about her relationship with Jude in the film, Caitriona said: "He's such a great kid, he was brilliant.

"From day one he came to set, super prepared, he never complained."

She added: "He's one of the funniest kids – just super, super sweet. I think Jamie and I used to torture him but now it's reversed, he tortures us all the time."

What awards has Jude won for his role?

Jude won the Hollwyood Critics Association's award for 'Best Newcomer', and the San Diego Film Critics Society's award for 'Best Youth Performance.' He has also been nominated for multiple other awards.

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