Charles Mnene is no stranger to controversy. His first screen experience was in Thomas Clay's uncompromisingly bleak The Great Ecstasy Of Robert Carmichael which caused a stir at Cannes in 2005, and he has since appeared in a number of tough films that tackle big issues. The most recent is Fallout, alongside another Star of Tomorrow, Gugu Mbatha-Raw (see right), in which he plays a gang member who murders one of his classmates. 'Like the best actors, he's got a very vivid sense of the inner life of the character,' says Fallout's director Ian Rickson. 'He beckons you in. I wanted a film where you understood those boys and that's what he managed.' It is no wonder Mnene is drawing so much attention. He recently finished shooting Richard Jobson's New Town Killers, and is starring in writer-director Paul Wilkins' 7 Lives, which is shooting. Next up are Irish director Johnny Gogan's The Straits and John Akomfrah's Games Men Play.

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