Mike Davies gets the weather forecast with Nicholas Hoult...
Although his dad's a pilot and his mother a piano and voice teacher, like his older brother and two younger sisters, Wokingham-born teenager Nicholas Hoult seems to have taken to acting like the proverbial duck to water.
"I started when I was three," he recalls. "I was watching a play with my mum and the director saw me. He needed a kid for his next play and he said that if I could concentrate enough to watch a play I could be in one."
Bitten by the bug, Hoult got a place on the books of a noted London casting agency and proceeded not to work for the next 18 months. Then, just as he was beginning to give up hope, he was called to audition for Intimate Relations, the film about the 1954 New Forest murders.
"I remember they asked me to sit underneath a table and mime stuffing my face with food. For a five-year-old it wasn't too difficult. We went off to Wales to film and my scenes were basically just eating and blowing raspberries."
But from such small beginnings are careers carved. Over the next few years Hoult would crop up in such television shows as Holby City, Casualty, Doctors, Waking the Dead and, almost inevitably, The Bill.
However, although he now admits he didn't want to go to the audition because it was on a Saturday, it was his winning turn opposite Hugh Grant in About A Boy that caught everyone's attention with a performance that demonstrated an impressive sense of comic timing and had critics predicting a stellar future.
That was four years ago. Since which time, he's only been seen on the small screen with an appearance in Judge John Deed and, in some-one's sense of dramatic irony, starring in the 13 episode kids' series Star playing a movie star who still attends school.
This year all that changes as those predictions begin to finally fall into place with three high profile films.
As coincidence would have it, two of them open this week. Although his role as the "the geeky kid who tries to fit in" in social realism hoodie drama Kidulthood seemingly doesn't even warrant his name appearing on the film's production notes, he's got a much meatier part opposite Nicholas Cage in Gore Verbinski's dark comedy The Weather Man.
Now 16 and a strapping slimline 6ft 2in, while the "vulcan" eyebrows remain constant, Hoult's almost unrecognisable from the slightly chubby youngster of About A Boy.
He is though still very English, which prompts the question of how he came to play a Chicago teenager.
"That's a very good question," he laughs. "I didn't expect to get it at all. I was sent the script and really liked it, and decided to put myself on tape. I did a couple of scenes and sent that to them. They phoned me back to say they liked the scenes, but wanted to check that I could do the American accent okay.
"So I went for voice lessons with Joan Washington, Richard E Grant's wife, sent off the tape and they flew me out to Chicago. They said I was the only actor they saw who didn't seem like they were acting doing the part.
"The studio wasn't sure about an English kid doing it, but once I got the accent sorted out they were fine. I was a bit worried, but at the New York premiere people were going 'oh my God, you're English!', so it couldn't have been that bad."
It certainly isn't, and Hoult turns in a particularly strong performance as the troubled youngster, more than holding his own in scenes with both Cage and Michael Caine. But one suspects that his female fans are more likely to be interested in the fact that he bares his chest and abs. Mention it and he turns slightly red.
"Looking back at it now I kind of regret that I didn't get more buffed up," he laughs.
"I was only 14 at the time and I didn't really think about it. Then I realised I'd have to take my shirt off and I was worried about all the girls at school seeing me with my top off.
"So two days before we filmed I was in my hotel room doing press ups and sit ups; and it made no difference whatsoever. Luckily the character wasn't meant to be too buff because he'd just begun the training regime. At least that's my excuse."
After three months of freezing Chicago weather, Hoult's third film of the year proved a decided climatic shift, flying out to spend seven weeks in Swaziland to shoot Wah-Wah, Richard E Grant's autobiographical directorial debut.
Playing the 14-year-old version of Grant's screen character, aside from having to master yet another distinctive accent, Hoult says it was a decidedly more intense working experience than The Weather Man with six day weeks of 12 hours a day with a director he affectionately describes as "very neurotic" and constantly running on nervous energy.
"You'd see him moving these big lights on his own just trying to get it done, you don't see a director doing that very often.
"But he'd been trying to get it made for five years and he did the Argos adverts to fund it. And because he wrote it and it's about his childhood out there, he knew exactly how it was, so if you needed any questions answered you could just go and ask him."
Wah Wah's due out later this year, and would seem to be presently the last thing on Hoult's cinematic horizon, a hiatus about which he's fairly matter-of-fact.
"There's not too much out there for 16-year-olds," he admits.
"I'm kind of in the middle bit, before reaching young man roles. Out of what you get sent some is quite good and some of it is so completely off you don't have a clue what they're talking about because they've got the characters completely wrong."
In the meantime, it's back to his local comprehensive and GCSEs. He's taking nine and you'll not be surprised to learn that one of them is drama. Failing is not an option.
"They say that I'm guaranteed an A, but if I fail it'll be a bit embarrassing, won't it? I'll probably just blame it on them and say they don't know what they're talking about."
* The Weather Man and Kidulthood open today