FROM playing the cowardly lion in The Wizard Of Oz as a kid, to meeting The Coen Brothers backstage at his first professional acting gig in A Streetcar Named Desire, it might seem like Allen Leech has had a meteoric rise to fame but it has been a steady climb for the Downton Abbey star. 190187-f9cd631a-33d4-11e3-a1a6-ba26abfa5130 The 32-year old Irish gent has become a fan favourite on the period drama playing Tom Branson, yet like fellow thespian-turned-movie stars Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch he has done his hard time treading the boards of British stages. He's making a careful orchestrated transition from the small to big screen with parts in British actioner The Sweeney and Grand Piano with Elijah Wood, to playing In Fear's horror movie villain and making up The Imitation Game's ensemble cast with Keira Knightley and name. Down Under for Melbourne Cup Day celebrations, Leech shed some light on the the film that has influenced him the most as a performer and why it's his five star film.

1973_the_sting_002"The Sting. I watched it recently again and I just love that movie. It's so brilliantly put together. I've always been a huge fan of Paul Newman and obviously Robert Redford as well. You know a movie that can take you back to the first time you saw it and it gives you the same kind of fresh feeling? I really love that movie."

Maria Lewis - follow Maria on Twitter here: @moviemazz or on top-rating film podcast Pod Save Our Screen, available now on iTunes.

Sydney, Australia. Getting her start as a police reporter, her writing on pop culture has appeared in publications such as the New York Post, Guardian, Penthouse, The Daily Mail, Empire Magazine, Gizmodo, Huffington Post, The Daily and Sunday Telegraph, i09, Junkee and many more. Previously seen as a presenter on SBS Viceland’s nightly news program The Feed and as the host of Cleverfan on ABC, she has been a journalist for over 15 years.

Her best-selling debut novel Who's Afraid? was published in 2016, followed by its sequel Who’s Afraid Too? in 2017, which was nominated for Best Horror Novel at the Aurealis Awards in 2018. Who’s Afraid? is being developed for television by the Emmy and BAFTA award-winning Hoodlum Entertainment. Her Young Adult debut, It Came From The Deep, was released globally on October 31, Halloween, 2017 and is a twist on The Little Mermaid meets Creature From The Black Lagoon.

Her fourth book, The Witch Who Courted Death, was released on Halloween, 2018 and nominated for Best Fantasy Novel at the Aurealis Awards in 2019. Her fifth novel set within the share supernatural universe is due for release in October, 2019.