Wales

The 11-year-old film star with autism Charlie Lock

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Media captionSince filming Showdown, Charlie's confidence has soared

Charlie Lock is gearing up for the premiere of his new film.

But the 11-year-old has not always dreamed of being an actor - in fact, he hated performing in school plays.

The loud music and bright lights of musicals and nativities were too much for Charlie, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of four.

Autism is a spectrum condition, which means that it affects people in different ways.

Most people with autism see, hear and feel the world differently to others.

"I don't like being overwhelmed, the lights, people, other people, more people, and then some more people. It was just too much for me," he said.

Charlie has always struggled to find his niche.

He does not like any of the sports they play at school, and unfortunately, the hills of his hometown Quakers Yard in Merthyr Tydfil aren't exactly the Austrian Alps, where he loves to ski.

Image copyright Fine Rolling Media
Image caption Charlie's character Sam doesn't speak in the movie

It was by chance that his mother Cerys Lock was sent an advert, a casting call for a child with blonde curly hair to be a TV extra; what followed for Charlie was a magical relationship with drama.

Charlie fell in love with monologues, scripts and using his emotions.

"I know exactly what is happening, that is my favourite thing," he said.

For Charlie, there is no better way to educate people about the condition than to show them through acting.

"I just want people to understand more about autistic children since they think wrong things about them, like you're autistic, you're disabled, it's over, and it's not."

Image copyright Fine Rolling Media
Image caption Charlie Lock's character is obsessed with western movies

Charlie's big break came last year when he landed his dream role in a modern western film called Showdown. The tagline of the movie: "All the best cowboys have autism."

For directors Kristian Kane and Lewis Carter, casting an actor with autism to play the role was high on their agenda; they only had to see one clip of Charlie to know they had the right boy.

He plays Sam, a boy who is obsessed with western movies and has autism. Sam is a little bit misunderstood, and has a difficult relationship with his dad.

"With autism, I know how it all feels and I realised now that some people don't understand how it feels so I have got to tell them," he said.

"The part I play is very good for that."

Image copyright Fine Rolling Media
Image caption Showdown is an independent film made by Welsh film makers Fine Rolling Media

Charlie has become a role model for other children with autism, advising them to work hard to break any barriers in their way.

"I just want to tell people that autistic children can succeed, like I have, and I want them to follow in my steps and do great things," said Charlie.

Charlie cannot wait to attend the premiere in Cinema & Co, Swansea, on 24 May, where he is expecting "champagne and a red carpet."

Image copyright Fine Rolling Media
Image caption Charlie has been playing in TV roles as an extra since he was nine

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