In January, the Doncaster born and bred 30-year-old found himself the talk of the Sundance Film Festival with his first leading man role in the wild Appalachian mountain dancer biopic cum revenge chiller White Lightnin’.

Hogg’s terrific and terrifying turn as the deranged hillbilly Jesco White subsequently left audiences stunned at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June, and it in no way prepared UK filmgoers for his swift follow-up role as anal retentive recluse Stephen Turnbull in Bunny And The Bull, a road movie/buddy comedy from the makers of television’s The Mighty Boosh that has been compared favourably to modern comic classic Withnail & I since its premiere at the London Film Festival last month.

That’s not bad going for an actor whose previous film credits comprise blink-and-you’ll-miss-them appearances in Nicholas Nickleby, Alfie and Brothers of the Head.

“It all happened quite quickly,” Hogg says in a thick South Yorkshire accent. “We made White Lightnin’ first, but the films were made within five months of each other. White Lightnin’ we shot around Christmas of 2007 and Bunny the following summer.

“I was cast in White Lightnin’ two years before we were able to start shooting it, whereas with Bunny I was cast and we were shooting eight weeks later. I’d not done anything before White Lightnin’ really. Just the odd thing with two or three lines of dialogue.”

Those days are over for Hogg. In the space of two films he’s gone from bit-part player to leading man. It’s a mercurial ascent for sure, but all it often takes is one great role to break a new

talent and get the ball rolling on a career.

In the case of White Lightnin’ Hogg’s agent had him submit an audition tape to director Dominic Murphy, who immediately liked what he saw. “Ed’s got quite a dramatic performing style”, Murphy says. “And there’s something innocent about him, childlike, a bit lost, and at other times pure evil.”

Even before the film’s premieres at Sundance and Edinburgh and well ahead of Hogg’s nomination as Most Promising Newcomer at the British Independent Film Awards to be held in London next month, that audition tape began to do the rounds with the casting agents and word swiftly got around that Hogg was a hot new acting talent.

“I came to Bunny And The Bull by a very traditional route”, Hogg says, “by reading the script via my agent. A lot of my friends were going up for it at the same time – it was the script everyone was talking about. I read and thought it was wonderful.

“Then I went through four rounds of auditions to get the part, so I don’t think Paul (King, writer and director of Bunny And The Bull) had heard of me at all at first. But he subsequently saw the audition tape I did for White Lightnin’ and I think that made his mind up. I think he was looking for an actor rather than a comedian to play Stephen. He was very interested in having someone who came from a theatrical background.”

Which Hogg very much does. He might have relatively little experience acting in films at the moment, but Hogg’s put in a lot of time performing on the stage. He first trod the boards as part of an amateur dramatics group at Scarborough University that he joined with his sister, with whom he had already performed on stage with as a musician in a band.

The band split, but Hogg stuck with the acting. Two years later, and under the advice of an inspiring drama teacher, Hogg applied for and got a place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, from which august institution he graduated in 2002.

“I was,” Hogg happily recalls, “well and truly bitten by the acting bug. And theatre is still what I love the most.”

Hogg’s first professional performance was in a production of Stephen Dexter’s My Father’s Son at the Sheffield Crucible. Subsequently he played The Fool in King Lear at the RSC Academy, Hal in Loot at the Bristol Old Vic and the title role in Woyzeck at The Gate in London and later on Broadway in New York.

Hogg’s also appeared in The Tempest and Measure for Measure at The Globe, Tom Stoppard’s Rock’n’Roll as directed by Trevor Nunn at The Royal Court, Noises Off and Cressida at The Young Vic, The Last Days of Judas Escariot (as Jesus, a role that in an odd way pre-empts his fallen angel Appalachian killer) at The Almeida and most recently in Our Class at the National Theatre.

That’s a lot of serious acting work. It was exactly the background King wanted for Bunny And The Bull. It did nothing, however, to prepare Hogg for a part in a film made by stand-up comedians. “I’ve never worked with stand-up comedians,” Hogg says. “They improvise a lot. I love to improvise, but improvising comedy is different. I’m not a comedian. So to improvise funny lines or to come up with one-liners, I found that quite difficult.”

The film pairs Hogg’s compulsive neurotic with his drunken womanising best friend Bunny (played by Mighty Boosh alumni Simon Farnaby).

Picking up their story a year after a disastrous road trip around Europe, the film finds Stephen Turnbull holed up in his grotty London flat recalling how his wild mate tried to shake him out of his miserable lovelorn state after failing to woo the girl of his dreams. It’s a classic straight man/funny man combo. Boosh stars Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding make cameo appearances as does regular supporting player Richard Ayoade, and the man calling the shots, King, earned his stripes directing them in 20 episodes of the TV show. Surrounded by that crowd of clowns it’s not surprising Hogg felt a little out of his depth. How did he cope? “To be honest,” Hogg says, “I kind of stood back and let them do their thing. They’re all professional stand-up comics. These guys are at the top of their game. It would have been ridiculous for me to have tried to compete with them in any way in terms of trying to be funny.

“But I think Stephen’s the dramatic heart of the story”, continues Hogg. “So I tried to anchor my performance in the drama of it. The whole thing is meant to be in his head. It’s a mish-mash of his memories. And because things do get distorted when you remember them I think it offered those guys (Farnaby, Barratt and Fielding) the opportunity to be bigger and wilder.

“And because Steven’s the one real thing in the film, it’s right that his energy should be normal. With Stephen being ordinary and normal, it made everything around him seem much more strange!”

Hogg has just completed his third leading man role, as another lovelorn sap in Ollie Kepler’s Expanding Purple World.

“A man loses his girlfriend and regresses inside himself as mental illness sets in,” Hogg says. “It’s a drama and kind of a meeting of two previous films, but with me it’s always a steep learning curve making films.”

Maybe so, but who knows, lightning may strike thrice.

Bunny and the Bull is released on November 27.