Jamie Bell grabbed attention and won over a big chunk of the moviegoing audience in 2000's Billy Elliot, but he hasn't truly had that breakout role as an adult actor. After a decade or so ambling around the indie scene, Bell may well get that breakout opportunity on TV, specifically AMC's colonial spy drama Turn, where plays Abe Woodhull, a farmer and father on Long Island, who is recruited to begin spying on the British militia.
It's probably not too hyperbolic to say that Billy Elliot is, and probably will be, the defining role of Bell's career. As recently as September, he was talking about the part in an interview with The Independent. Back then, the story went like this: Bell—who, like Billy, loved ballet but hid it from his friends—won the role out of a field of 2,000 young men. Bell's performance as Billy was ferociously intense, especially in the dance scenes (just watch below), but he was also incredibly naturalistic, something that Bell now discusses. "That wasn't really acting to me. That was my life. I'd put ballet shoes down my pants to hide them from my friends," he told The Guardian in 2011.
Of course, many actors who got their start as children have trouble re-establishing themselves as adults, but there's also something curious about the fact that Bell has worked as often as he has in the years since Billy and yet hasn't landed on a role that can serve as a shorthand for his adult career in the same way Billy has for his child-acting. Billy Elliot is a sentimental favorite for many, but it is not Harry Potter, and perhaps shouldn't have become the overwhelming force in Bell's life that it has.