Lovable Irish actor Chris O'Dowd unveils his latest big screen offering on Wednesday, this time playing a hapless talent scout, as Australian comedy drama 'The Sapphires' is released in UK cinemas. But his career didn't always look like it was going in the direction of Hollywood...

The 32-year-old first commanded our attention in 'The IT Crowd', playing the slacker technician Roy Trennemana, and now has a career that combines British sitcoms and American films and a huge fan base to boot.

The great comic actor went to University College, Dublin, to study politics, but joined the drama society and fell in love with performing. He dropped out to go to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art but left in the final term, by which time he was already starting to get work in theatre productions and commercials.

chris odowd

Chris O'Dowd and his wife Dawn Porter attend the premiere of 'The Sapphires' during the 56th BFI London Film Festival

It was his parts in two Mike Leigh films – 'Vera Drake' and 'Festival' – that first got him noticed, as well as a three-year stint in the Irish medical drama series 'The Clinic', before beginning 'The IT Crowd' in 2006.

As the series came to an end in 2009, O'Dowd jetted off to Los Angeles where he landed his first Hollywood film - a part in Jack Black comedy 'Gulliver’s Travels'.

Then came 'Bridesmaids', the smash hit rom-com in which O'Dowd played love interest officer Nathan Rhodes and swiftly earned heartthrob status.

Something the star is not entirely comfortable with: "I wear that status like a hair vest. It's very fleeting and it's been fun but I'm ensuring that all the characters I play from now on are pretty despicable. I can't be dealing with all that nonsense, because it's not real," he told the Press Association.

chris odowd

Chris O'Dowd with his 'Bridesmaids' crew

The film grossed $26 million in its opening weekend, eventually grossing over $288 million worldwide. It was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, and scooped two Oscar nominations, one for Best Supporting Actress for Melissa McCarthy and one for Best Original Screenplay.

The success of 'Bridesmaids' meant O'Dowd made it to mainstream consciousness, and he went on to create and star in his own six-part comedy for Sky, 'Mooneboy', set at the end of the Eighties and drawing on O’Dowd’s childhood in the west of Ireland.

He recently completed working with 'Bridesmaid's' producer Judd Apatow on 'This Is 40', a sequel to Aparow's 2007 hit 'Knocked Up' and has two more films, 'Cuban Fury' and 'Calvary', on the way.

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  • BFI London Film Festival - The Sapphires Screening

    Chris O'Dowd and wife Dawn Porter attend the premier of The Sapphires at the Odeon West End, London.

  • BFI London Film Festival - The Sapphires Screening

    Chris O'Dowd and wife Dawn Porter attend the premier of The Sapphires at the Odeon West End, London.

  • The Sapphires premiere - Dublin

    (left to right) Shari Sebbens, Miranda Tapsell, Director Wayne Blair,Jessica Mauboy, Deborah Mailman and Chris O'Dowd arriving for the premiere of The Sapphires at the Savoy Cinema in Dublin.

  • Clavary filming - Ireland

    Chris O'Dowdn the set of the new Irish movie Calvary in Rush Co.Dublin, as hundreds of local people turned out to watch filming as a mock church was burned down in the village.

  • Clavary filming - Ireland

    Chris O'Dowd on the set of the new Irish movie Calvary in Rush Co.Dublin, as hundreds of local people turned out to watch filming as a mock church was burned down in the village.

  • BFI London Film Festival - The Sapphires Screening

    (left - right) Deborah Mailman, Shari Sebbens, Chris O'Dowd, Miranda Tapsell and Jessica Mauboy arriving for the premier of The Sapphires at the Odeon West End, London.

  • Lingerie London fashion show - London

    Chris O'Dowd arriving at the Lingerie London fashion show and gala at the Old Billingsgate Market in London.

  • BFI London Film Festival - The Sapphires Screening

    Chris O'Dowd and wife Dawn Porter arriving for the premier of The Sapphires at the Odeon West End, London.

  • Chris O'Dowd

    Actor Chris O'Dowd poses for a photo as he promotes the movie "Sapphires" during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

  • Glamour Women of the Year Awards 2012 - London

    Chris O'Dowd and his fiancee Dawn Porter at the 2012 Glamour Women of the Year Awards in Berkeley Square, London.

  • Chris O'Dowd

    Actor Chris O'Dowd poses during a photo call for The Sapphires at the 65th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Sunday, May 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

  • Chris O'Dowd

    Actor Chris O'Dowd poses during a photo call for The Sapphires at the 65th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Sunday, May 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

  • Chris O'Dowd, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens, Deborah Mailman, Miranda Tapsell, Wayne Blair, Tory Kittles

    From right actors, Chris O'Dowd, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens, Deborah Mailman, Miranda Tapsell, director Wayne Blair and actor Tory Kittles pose during a photo call for The Sapphires at the 65th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Sunday, May 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan)

  • British Independent Film Awards - London

    Dawn Porter Chris O'Dowd arrives at the Moet British Independent Film Awards at Old Billingsgate Market in London.

  • Graham Norton Show - London

    Chris O'Dowd during the filming of the Graham Norton Show at The London Studios, south London, to be aired on BBC One on Friday evening.

  • Graham Norton Show - London

    Ewan McGregor (left) and Chris O'Dowd during the filming of the Graham Norton Show at The London Studios, south London, to be aired on BBC One on Friday evening.

  • Brian O'Driscoll wedding

    Actor Chris O'Dowd aves to the crowd as he arrives at St.Josephs Church, Aughavas, Co.Leitrim, for the wedding of Irish Rugby captain Brian O'Driscoll who is to wed actress Amy Huberman.

  • Paramount Comedy 10th Anniversary Party - London

    Chris O'Dowd attends the Paramount Comedy 10th Anniversary Party at the Truman Brewery, London on September 28, 2006. Gene Weatherley/EMPICS Entertainment

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