London-born Poulter, 29, got his first big break as Lee Carter in 2007 comedy Son of Rambow, which follows two schoolboys as they set about making an amateur film based on First Blood.
Lee, known for his bad behaviour at school, befriends the shy Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner) and manipulates him into helping with the movie project - their slightly forced alliance eventually blossoming into an unlikely friendship.
Speaking to The One Show about Anti-Bullying Pro, a new anti-bullying campaign he is part of, Poulter revealed he ‘experienced a fair amount of bullying’ when he was younger.
He added that he was ‘relatively lucky’ in the context of ‘how prevalent bullying is’, saying he also witnessed a ‘good amount’ of such behaviour.
Presenter Alex Jones noted how, ‘ironically’, he had played a ‘bully character’ in his first-ever film at the age of just 12.
Poulter replied: “It was kind of ironic because I sort of wasn’t a particularly happy kid at school, and I think, to be honest – less so because I was experiencing bullying, I think that was part of it – but just because I hadn’t really found my way, you know? And I didn’t really feel like I was good at anything.
“And then I got really, really lucky with this opportunity to be in a film. The only caveat was that I play a bully and I felt a bit conflicted about that.
“But it did help me empathise with how even kids who engage in bullying behaviour are often going through something, and it’s important to understand that as well.”
Speaking about Anti-Bullying Pro Poulter explained how he has been involved in the campaign since 2010.
“October 3rd is the Anti Bullying Assembly," he said.
"It’s the third of its kind… and kids are going back to school, so it’s kind of about setting the tone around anti-bullying and putting people at ease around the subject matter."
Later in the interview, Poulter even had a surprise video call from his old maths teacher, who told her emotional former student: "I just want you to know how unbelievably proud I was of you then and continue to be today. You are a true inspiration and you will always have my ample support."
Featured Image Credit: BBC/Paramount Pictures
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