11 June 2011 4:07 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

American TV made stars of Hugh Laurie and Dominic West, bypassing the traditional stage to screen route. Now two schemes hope to exploit this new path for emerging talent

A talented British actor may have to toil for a long time in the Us before hitting paydirt. But when that sought-after role in a primetime drama series comes along, it can fund a year of acting on the English stage, boost an established performer's profile and perhaps even provide a stepping stone to Hollywood.

It has worked for many British stars, from Dominic West, who starred in The Wire and is now wowing audiences in Simon Gray's Butley, to the comedian Hugh Laurie, whose role in House has made him an international celebrity. Ian McShane's delayed Us success in the western series Deadwood, meanwhile, has now seen him join an A-list cast in the summer blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. »

- Vanessa Thorpe

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