Actor Christian Cooke is rubbing shoulders with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars after scooping the main role in a new film written by British funnyman Ricky Gervais.

Christian, 21, has just finished filming Cemetery Junction, a coming-of-age comedy/drama charting the lives of three blue-collar friends.

The lads spend their days joking, drinking, fighting and chasing girls, but although two of them are happy with their lives, Freddie, played by Christian, longs to get out of their working class world.

The film, made by Sony Pictures, is due to be released next April. The cast features a talented team of actors including Ralph Fiennes, Gervais and Emily Watson.

It was written and directed by Gervais and Stephen Merchant – the award-winning team behind hit TV comedy series The Office.

This will be Christian’s first big-screen role and follows his starring role in the ITV supernatural thriller Demons earlier this year.

He said: “It was a great experience working with Ricky, Stephen and all of the other cast.

“Although I have the leading role in the film, it was very much an ensemble piece with lots of colourful characters and, yes, it’s very funny.

“The humour is often used to counter the drama in the film and I was really delighted to work on such a fantastic script.

“It is very poignant and well written and I really enjoyed working on it.”

Christian started his acting career at Stage 84 in Bradford at the age of nine.

His boyish good looks and on-stage charisma sent him on the road to becoming one of the country’s most promising young actors, appearing in some of television’s prime time shows, including Where the Heart Is, Doctor Who and ITV soap opera spoof Echo Beach.

Born at Otley Hospital, Christian spent his early years in Yeadon, where he attended SS Peter and Paul’s Primary School. He later moved to Menston with his mum, Dianne, 52, and brother, Alex, 24, where he was educated at St Mary’s RC Comprehensive School.

He got his acting break on a Bird’s Eye beef burger commercial at the age of 12. Now he is hoping to continue working in film but says he has no immediate plans at the moment.

He said: “Working alongside Ricky and Stephen was a great experience. They are both very funny by nature but so professional and very focused in their work. After my initial audition I had several others and really built up a rapport and friendship with the other cast members. I think that’s what got me the part – they wanted the three main characters to appear as good friends and we were.

“They had been looking for someone to play the role of Freddie since November and I didn’t audition until February. I was delighted to get the part.”

He paid tribute to co-stars Emily Watson and Ralph Fiennes and said: “It was great to work with them – a real privilege. I think the script was so well written and we had lots of fun.

“There are a lot of good British films out there and as far as the future goes I will be keeping an eye out for parts that really interest me. I do have an agent in Los Angeles but am not particularly interested in living out there. I will just wait and see what happens.”

Cemetery Junction is produced by Sue Baden Powell and Charlie Hanson. Executive producers are Gervais and Merchant.

Christian is the third actor from the area to hit the big screen. Matthew Lewis – who played Neville Longbottom in Harry Potter films – attended St Mary’s RC Comprehensive School and Sam Riley hit the headlines last year after securing a leading role in the cult film Control.

Christian said: “I don’t know Sam personally but he is doing really well. He hit the ground running with his first film and has worked with some fantastic people.”

British indie favourite Sam is now rumoured to be set to star in a remake of Graham Greene’s classic novel Brighton Rock.

The novel tells the story of a young gangster who marries the waitress who witnessed a murder he has committed in order to keep her quiet.

It was previously made into a film back in 1947 but the new version will follow the book more closely, shifting the setting to 1964, according to the Variety showbiz website.