Completely unknown before being cast as Heathcliff in Andrea Arnold's controversial 2011 screen adaptation of Emily Brontë's "Wuthering Heights," James Howson had his life turned upside down by that fateful event. The product of a broken marriage, Howson was raised by a single working mother in the West Yorkshire city of Leeds, living in government housing and constantly in trouble at St Mary's Catholic Comprehensive. At age 14, after Howson was expelled from school and kicked out by his mother, he spent several years drifting, dwelling in hostels, and turning to petty crime. It wasn't long before the teenager was in trouble with the law; on his first drug-running offense he was sent to a juvenile detention center, but his second offense earned him 22 months of incarceration. Upon his release, the unemployed Howson attended a casting call for "Wuthering Heights" and, though he had never acted before, ended up winning the starring role over hundreds of contenders. Creating a sensation as the first black Heathcliff, Howson received positive notices for his fiery performance, but just months after the film's release was arrested for racially aggravated harassment against his former girlfriend. Hoping to put his checkered past behind him, Howson is currently searching for his next acting role.