YOUNG actor Ian Virgo yesterday exclusively told the Argus about his part in Ridley Scott's latest $100m Hollywood blockbuster Black Hawk Down. Today, PETER SHUTTLEWORTH speaks to his proud parents.

It's every actor's dream to go to Hollywood - but Gwent's rising star Ian Virgo has already been there and done that.

For the actor from Caldicot was born within a few miles of the famous Hollywood sign which is perched overlooking 'Tinsel Town'.

His parents, Sue and Stan, lived in Los Angeles during the early 1980s and that is when Ian was born.

"We lived about six miles away from Hollywood for about ten years," said mum Sue. "And Ian was born at Madison Hospital in Los Angeles." Now, he looks destined to go back there as the 20-year-old has just returned to Morocco to work alongside Trainspotting and Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor and fellow Welshman Ioan Gruffydd in Ridley Scott's latest project Black Hawk Down. The young actor plays American soldier John Waddell in the $100m film, which is one of most talked about in recent American movie history. It is directed by Hannibal and Alien director Ridley Scott and produced by Pearl Harbour producer Jerry Bruckheimer. "We are both so proud of him," Sue told the Argus. "Ian has worked really hard over the past three years and he deserves everything he gets.

"Ever since he first took to the stage aged 11 with the New Venture Players in Newport his ambition was to be an actor. And now it seems his dream is coming true." Ian began his performing life playing 'Tinker' in the New Venture Theatre's production of Dodger.

"He never knew what he wanted to do in life until he performed in that play," said Sue. "But once he heard people laughing at his character up on stage, he was hooked and he has not looked back."

Ian played lead roles in school productions. In 1995, he played Joseph in Caldicot comprehensive school's performance of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. A year later at Caldicot school, he played Action in West Side Story.

He left school after his GCSEs and did a B-TEC National Diploma in Performing Arts at Coleg Gwent's Cross Key's campus.

And then, aged just 18, he was awarded a scholarship to study an intensive 12-month postgraduate course at the prestigious Royal Academy of Music in London.

"Ian was one of youngest students the academy had ever taken on,' said Sue. "And we were told that if he didn't cut the mustard he would be out. But he really applied himself and worked hard.

"He would work long days, often more than 14 hours. Now all that hard work seems to be paying off."

Dad Stan said: "The academy was a real, hard graft and a career in acting is a long, hard road. But if anyone can make it, Ian can.

"And getting a part in a Ridley Scott film is something else." War epic Black Hawk Down is a true-life story about the events of two days in October 1993 when the American army invaded Somalia. Black Hawk Down is due for release in Britain early next year.