Award-winning actor James McAvoy talks to ELOISE PARKER.

ON A rare break from his hectic schedule, James McAvoy relaxes in the pub with a pint. The 27-year-old Glaswegian actor is in good spirits - and so he should be.

Having picked up a BAFTA Rising Star award earlier this year, James has enjoyed a variety of roles - as a faun in The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, dictator Idi Amin's doctor in The Last King Of Scotland, and as a naive student in his new Brit comedy, Starter For 10.

Now he is having a six-month break to enjoy his favourite pastimes of hiking, camping and cooking and to spend some quality time with his fiancee, Shameless co-star Anne-Marie Duff.

"I'm proud of Starter for 10," he says. "Apart from the opportunity to do a romantic comedy for British people by British people, I felt it had a truthful voice."

As Brian Jackson, a working-class student starting at Bristol University circa 1985, James perfectly captures the self-conscious awkwardness of his character's transition into a new life.

"We've all been there. Becoming an adult and trying to take control of your life is a terrifying thing. I think we can all relate to that,"

reflects James, who attended Glasgow's Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

The college party circuit, for example, was far less exciting than he'd anticipated.

"You go thinking you're going to get high on drugs and you get there and there's a couple of lesbians and a whippet in the corner and that's it," he laughs.

"There's two really hardcore interesting people in the room and they don't want to talk to you because you're not very cool."

It's a scene which is replicated to great comic effect in the film when Brian nervously attends his first university party, finding only awkward conversation and warm beer.

The film also features comedienne Catherine Tate.

"I'm a huge fan of Catherine," he says. "When I found out she was playing my mum, I was so excited. "She managed to make it really funny at the same time as being truthful and heartfelt."

James has recently completed three further films - Penelope, co-starring Christina Ricci and Reese Witherspoon, Jane Austen biopic Becoming Jane with Anne Hathaway and the film adaptation of Ian McEwan's Atonement, alongside Keira Knightley.

Clearly not letting his current success go to his head, and denying any grand plans for his career, he concludes: "You get asked, How do you choose roles?' "You think, Well I don't, I just take what I'm offered'."