James is the lead in Sally El Hosaini's debut feature film My Brother the Devil. His performance won him a BIFA for Best Newcomer at British Indipendent Film Awards and earned him Best Male Actor at the Milan International Film Festival. He portrayed Freddie Mercury in the BBC film The Best Possible Taste, a biopic film on Kenny Everett who was great friends with Mercury. He also appears in the film The Blind Man of Seville, directed by Pete Travis, and is the lead in Everywhere and Nowhere of Menhaj Huda.
He was also seen in the feature film Tormented, playing a morbidly obsessed emo-goth, and in The Infedel, playing a washed-up Mancunian 1980s pop star with a secret.