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Claflin's mother suggested he tried his hand at acting instead and he won roles in several minor British TV shows - and less than two years later he's been plucked from obscurity to star as Johnny Depp's new sidekick in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

Claflin tells Empire magazine, "I realized I was too weak to play football at an adult level. As I was a drama queen on the pitch, my mom said, 'You should try acting on stage.'... The biggest challenge (on the Pirates of the Caribbean set) has been staying focused. You have to pinch yourself, say, 'I am working... but look at that cave!'"

Bloom quit the swashbuckling franchise after 2007's Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End to concentrate on more theater work.