It's not easy to be a Brit in Hollywood, particularly a Brit of the finely chiselled variety. You'll get the occasional period drama, perhaps a flukey hit murder mystery (as Jeremy Irons did with Reversal Of Fortune). But you're much more likely to be cast as a ruthless villain whose aristocratic sense of superiority has wiped out all trace of decency and mercy (as Jeremy Irons was in Die Hard 3). The only way out, it seems, is to take every chance you're given to escape Brit-ness, and Jude Law's career is proof positive of that. By challenging himself as a gay Georgian urchin, a Russian sniper, a cyborg gigolo, a mobster hitman and a crippled Confederate vet, he's utterly sidestepped the typecasters. And he's also made such high-profile buddies as Steven Spielberg. Not bad for a stage actor who once considered his first appearance at the National Theatre to be the pinnacle of success.

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