Who is Michael Ward? Actor who won Bafta’s Rising Star award

Since his breakout role in Netflix‘s 2019 reboot of Top Boy, actor Michael Ward has gone from strength to strength.

Not only has he scored himself some impressive acting gigs, he’s also been recognised by the EE Bafta Rising Star award.

But who is Michael and what has he been in?

Here’s the lowdown…

Who is Michael Ward?

Jamaica-born actor Michael Ward, who was raised in Romford, Essex, was initially a model before breaking into acting.

He first signed a deal with JD Sports aged 17.

Speaking to NME about his modelling days, Ward commented: “It was insane. I just felt proper young and I was there with all these guys around me who were like six foot plus, crazy tall,” before adding, “I literally felt like a kid.”

According to the rising star, he first engaged with acting when his school put on a modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, in which he played Macduff.

Of his role in the school play, Ward said: “It just really sparked something in me: I loved it!”

After a five-year hiatus, Top Boy finally returned in September 2019 – only instead of airing on Channel 4, the title shifted to the streaming platform, Netflix.

In the new series, Michael plays Jamie – an ambitious new rival who challenges Kano and Sully.

The same year, Michael was cast in London gang drama, Blue Story, as Marco.

While Michael has only just started his career in acting, he has featured in other titles such as The A-List and Brotherhood.

What was the controversy surrounding Blue Story and what has Michael said about Vue’s ban?

Rapman’s London gang drama Blue Story hit the headlines late last year after Vue cinemas banned the movie from their chain.

At the time, the decision was called “institutionally racist” and was widely criticised.

The cinema chain claimed the decision to pull the film was made to ensure customer safety after a fight broke out in one of their Birmingham cinemas.

Shortly after, following a campaign to reinstate the movie, Vue cinemas established plans to rescreen the banned film.

Talking about the controversy at the 2020 Baftas, Michael Ward told reporters: 

“I feel like our stories are so important as well because a lot of people don’t know them, so I will continue to do stories like [Blue Story], that resonate with people.

“I feel like now people are starting to understand a lot more about where people like me come from, so it’s really special to be a part of that, for sure.”

When did he win the Rising Star Bafta?

As well as brushing shoulders with the likes of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, Ward one his first-ever accolade in the form of the institute’s Rising Star award.

The prestigious award is the only gong to be voted for by the public and has previously been won by the likes of Juno Temple, Tom Hardy, James McAvoy and Daniel Kaluuya.

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