Tuesday, June 30, 2009
First up is Holliday Grainger (Troika) who established herself as a successful child actress with a number of early television roles.
After some more recent TV roles, including ITV’s teen vampire drama Demons, Grainger’s career has finally shifted gear over the past 12 months. She made her feature debut in Pat Holden’s 1980s-set football drama Awaydays, which enjoyed a busy festival life prior to its recent UK release, and has just completed her stage debut in the Donmar Warehouse production of Dimetos in which she held her own with the likes of Jonathan Pryce and Anne Reid. Grainger will soon be seen in Tom Harper’s eagerly awaited British film The Scouting Book For Boys, written by Jack Thorne for Pathé and Film4, in which she stars alongside Thomas Turgoose (also represented by Troika) as a troubled 14-year-old with a terrible secret. Looking ahead, she is keen to combine theatre with film work, particularly within the low-budget sector. “There’s more passion in the indie scene,” she says.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Kate Winslet stunned pupils at her old stage school by turning up at a rehearsal session.
The Oscar-winning actress, patron of Berkshire-based amateur dramatic group Starmaker, answered questions from budding actors and actresses before participating in a drama workshop.
Students had no idea Kate was in the building until the curtains were drawn back on the stage at Blessed Hugh Faringdon School, Southcote, Reading, where the rehearsals were taking place.
Reading-born Kate waved and blew kisses at the audience before asking for questions, telling pupils: "Don't be shy, because I am very normal.
"Some of the people in this room can absolutely vouch for that. Ask me questions, anything you like."
She reminisced about her days treading the boards at the stage school during the half-hour chat.
The mother-of-two said: "One of the best things about Starmaker is that everybody looks after each other, they really, really do, and there's nothing more exciting than your first opportunity of getting backstage in the theatre."
Asked for tips on overcoming first night nerves, she replied: "The great thing is when the lights come on you, you as the performers on the stage, you're so blinded by the lights, you can't see the audience, so it's fantastic. You don't have to be all nervous at all."
Kate watched rehearsals for pupils' forthcoming productions of Boogie Nights and Wizard Of Oz.
About 75 students gathered in the main hall of Blessed Hugh Faringdon School in Southcote for their regular Wednesday night rehearsals for their next production, Boogie Nights, completely unaware the award-winning Hollywood actress was just a few feet away behind a curtain.
Michelle Palin, membership secretary of Starmaker told getreading: “We got them there under false pretences because they had no idea Kate was going to be arriving.
“They were all sat there impatiently as teenagers do and we held open rehearsals for parents so they could see what we were doing with Kate as well.”
The mum-of-two was revealed as the curtains were drawn and she was greeted by a huge round of applause and cheering from the starstruck students.
Ms Palin said: “The atmosphere was electric.”
Students asked questions ranging from whether she preferred stage to film work to who she would most like to work with.
“All you could see around the room was kids texting about Kate being there,” said Ms Palin.
During the rehearsals Kate joined in with a drama workshop run by Ben Ashton, when she starred opposite aspiring actor Jack Kowalik.
Willink School pupil Jack, 15, said: “I was so starstruck because she was acting right next to me and I was thinking what if I do something really bad.”
Kate, 33 and originally from West Reading, also took time out of her busy schedule to watch students rehearse for their latest production Boogie Nights, to be performed at Wilde Theatre in Bracknell from October 6 to 10.
Starmaker is an amateur dramatic group for anyone aged 10 to 18 and this summer the club is running a Dance, Movement, Drama, Singing & Combat workshop summer school at Southlake Primary School in Woodley from August 24 to 28.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
The Barton’s eldest daughter, free-spirited teenager Holly, will be played by Britannia High actress Sophie Powles (represented by Bloomfields Management). 17-year-old son Adam will be played by Waterloo Road actor Adam Thomas, following in the footsteps of his brother, Corrie actor Ryan Thomas.
The youngest, Hannah is played by former Grange Hill star 16 year old Grace Cassidy.
GRACE CASSIDY – Hannah Barton
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Nanny McPhee and The Big Bang is now filming on a farm near Bramley, Surrey. Here is one of the latest set pics of star Maggie Gyllenhaal and some of the new band of children...
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Currently filming with Charlie, and playing the younger version of Keira Knightley's character Ruth, is 12 year newcomer Ella Purnell (now represented by ARG) from London. Ella attends the City of London School for Girls and is a part-time pupil at Sylvia Young's Theatre School. She has recently appeared in the musical Oliver! at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane.
No news yet on who is to play the young version of one of Screenterrier's Faces to Watch in 2009 Carey Mulligan in the lead role of Kathy.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
VMAN recently interviewed Olly about his steady rise to fame:
It took Olly Alexander awhile to decide on being an actor. “First I wanted to be a gymnast,” he says. “Then a tennis player. Then a philosopher—I got really into Hermann Hesse and all these Beat poets. Then I wanted to write. Then I got really into music and wanted to be in a band. Then came acting.”
At 17, he landed a role on the U.K. children’s TV show Summerhill. Soon after that, he was cast in Gaspar Noé’s highly anticipated Enter the Void, which required him to drop out of school and travel to Tokyo, an experience he found surreal. “Going there, you feel like a child again because you can’t read anything or understand anything,” he says. “Everything is new. You break about a million traditions every time you walk inside a shop.”After his turn on Summerhill, Alexander could have been dismissed as kiddie bubblegum, but Enter the Void established him as a pedigreed dramatic talent. Still just 18, he has been enviably busy, most recently getting cast as an anarchic prince in a new adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels (which stars Jack Black as Gulliver). This year alone, he has four films slated for release, playing damaged characters in each. Enter the Void finds him double-crossing his best friend and getting the friend killed in the process. In Jane Campion’s John Keats biopic, Bright Star, he plays Keats’s tubercular younger brother, Tom. In Dust, a postapocalyptic film with a cast of three, he plays an incestuous twin who pursues his sister. And in Tormented, he plays an unlikable geek who, as in the Noé film, sells out his best friend, only this time he gets killed himself. “Nobody likes the guy,” says Alexander of the character. “He just smokes a lot of weed. And cries a lot. I do a lot of crying in my films.”
Alexander admits that he has already played quite a few “nasty betrayers,” as he puts it. “Maybe people see some sort of sneaky, evil presence inside me. I don’t know. But a character capable of betraying his best friend is more interesting to play.” Half seriously, he blames his hair. “At castings I always get the, like, ‘Wow, your hair.’ I always tell them they can straighten it.” He laughs. “But they always just fit it into the story. Actually, my hair is probably the only reason I’m working.”Olly also recently took 46th position in tMF's Top 50 Hottest Young Actors list. Screenterrier thinks he probably should have been higher...
Friday, June 5, 2009
Jo Woodcock, one of Screenterrier's Faces to Watch in 2009, recently on our screens in All the Small Things, has been cast in a brand new BBC 1 Daytime five-part period drama – Land Girls – part of a season of programmes marking the 70th anniversary of World War Two.
Starring alongside Summer Strallen of Hollyoaks and The Sound of Music fame, Jo Woodcock plays one of the land girl's little sister, Bea. Bea has lied about her age to sign up for the land girls and join her big sister on her adventure - unfortunately her innocence will land her in hot water.
The drama series is currently in production, filming in and around Birmingham, and will be screened in September this year on BBC One
Thursday, June 4, 2009
The internet is rife with speculation on the casting which is currently taking place for HBO's Game of Thrones, a new TV series based on George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books.
So Screenterrier thought it would join in the fun with suggestions for the younger cast members:
DAENERYS (age 18) - Rachel Hurd-Wood or Kaya Scodelario
JON SNOW (age 17) - Aaron Johnson or Augustus Prew
SANSA STARK (age 13) - Holly Bodimeade or Skye Bennett
ARYA STARK (age 11) - Lina Leandersson
JOFFREY (age 13) - Bill Milner or Charlie Rowe
ROBB STARK (age 17) - Olly Alexander
THEON GREYJOY (age 19) - Jack O'Connell
BRAN STARK (age 9) - Asa Butterfield
EDIT: Pick for Jon Snow updated.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
And six year-old newcomer Alex Ambrose (Yula drama school), from Merseyside, plays the young Lennon.
Elizabeth Ranzetti visited the set:
It's 1957 and 15-year-old Paul McCartney is in a cramped kitchen singing the first song he wrote, I Lost My Little Girl . Lounging in the doorway watching him is John Lennon, struggling to reconcile envy and awe.
Lennon's mother, Julia, listens intently and is moved to tears. “Oh, Paul, beautiful,” she says. “You wrote that for her, didn't you? Your mother.” Paul mumbles a response, an awkward teenage boy. Julia knows that McCartney has lost his mother to illness, how deeply it affected him. “It's awful,” she says. “Taken from you at such an early age.”
Lennon can't let this show of maternal tenderness pass by: He seizes the opportunity to wound the mother who abandoned him, and whom he only recently rediscovered. “She had cancer,” he snarls at Julia. “What's your excuse?”
His mother stiffens, gets up, brushes past him. Lennon blows out a stream of smoke, looking only slightly chastened. It is his birthday party, and in the background boys with towering greased hair and girls in circle skirts dance to Hound Dog , the ferocious, world-changing music from across the ocean. Julia, trying to compensate for the years she's lost with her son, has made John a birthday cake in the shape of a record.
“Cut” orders director Sam Taylor-Wood, and Aaron Johnson's shoulders sag a little. The actor, (who plays Lennon), is only 19, and mainly famous to legions of love-struck teenage girls for his role in last year's hit Irish comedy Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (the screaming girls are something he has in common with Lennon, at least.) The success or failure of this film, Nowhere Boy , is essentially his burden. When he took the part, he couldn't sing or play guitar; he is from a town near London called High Wycombe, which is a very long way, economically and by train, from Liverpool.
Johnson, with lanky body and angular face, has the look of a young Lennon.
The chip on the shoulder and ugly glasses from the National Health Service, both so central to the myth, are present but concealed (the teenaged Lennon loathed wearing his glasses). A makeup woman comes over to adjust his architecturally-impressive hair, known as a duck's ass to North American proto-rockers and a duck's arse to the skiffle-mad boys of Lennon's childhood who imported the rockabilly influenced sound.
“Aaron's going to be a star,” says Nowhere Boy 's producer, Kevin Loader, watching from the side of the set, echoing producers' pronouncements since the first clapboard clapped shut. It is, to say the least, a challenging role. Loader says, “He's playing someone we all think we know everything about. He's got to have a confidence and sense of destiny, but he's also a mixed-up teenager whose family is throwing him all over the place. Aaron's got an emotional understanding, for his age, that's just mind-blowing. And he does stillness very well.”
At first, the thing Johnson didn't do very well was sing. “We knew we had to get the best actor,” says Loader. “The rest could be learned.”
It helps that the film is set during Lennon's formative years, when he was learning to play guitar and sing. As well, it's less about music than about why he became a musician, the underpinnings of his genius and insecurity.
While Nowhere Boy ends with a romance of sorts – Lennon's budding friendship with McCartney (played by Thomas Sangster) – it's really about a triangle, although one with three fractured sides. The person who turned Lennon on to music, and taught him to play banjo, was his rebellious mother, Julia (Anne-Marie Duff), who'd left her five-year-old son to be raised by her sister, Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas). Julia died in a traffic accident not long after she and John were reunited, leaving a wound that could never be healed, much as he tried in music (witness the Beatles songs Julia and Mother .)
Back on set, the cast begins rehearsing the party scene, where John's friends from his first band the Quarrymen, including McCartney and George Harrison, are dancing in Julia's living room. “Miming, everyone” calls the first assistant director, then, more fiercely, “Whispering is not miming”
Nowhere Boy comes with quite a musical pedigree: The scriptwriter is Matt Greenhalgh, who also wrote the award-winning biopic Control , about short-lived pop hero Ian Curtis of Joy Division. (This script is based on a memoir by Julia Baird, Lennon's half-sister. Recently, Geoffrey Giuliano, who co-wrote an earlier memoir with Baird, has been telling the press that he will launch a lawsuit to get a cut of the movie's profits. “It's nothing to do with us. I haven't heard from anyone's lawyers,” Loader says.) Director Sam Taylor-Wood is making her feature-film debut, although last year she made Love You More , about two teenagers who love the punk band the Buzzcocks. As a visual artist she's headline fodder in her native Britain, for video works like David Beckham Sleeping (the title of which is self-explanatory).
In order to keep costs down, Nowhere Boy was shot in consecutive 10-hour days, with the cast nipping out only for brief meal and cigarette breaks. The scenes inside Julia's house were shot at London's legendary Ealing studios, where Alec Guinness once ran around in a dress to great comic effect in Kind Hearts and Coronets . A couple of weeks before my set visit they were shooting in Liverpool and ten days later they were in a London graveyard. The budget is tight, only $13-million, the scheduler tighter.
Sangster, familiar from his role as the pining adolescent in Love Actually , sits strumming his guitar left-handed, a famous McCartneyism that he had to learn for the film. The real McCartney has read the script, and will see an early version of the finished film, but hasn't been in touch with the producers.
“It must be a very odd thing for him,” says Loader, who as a boy hung around the set where the Beatles were rehearsing Magical Mystery Tour , hoping in vain for a glimpse. “Imagine if someone were making a movie about your teenage years.”
Nowhere Boy begins with Lennon's birth in 1940 during a bombing raid on Liverpool and ends 20 years later, with the Beatles heading for Hamburg. The late 1950s was a seismic moment in Britain for music, when the arrival of American rock and blues records – brought to Liverpool by the “Cunard Yanks” who worked the ocean liners – set fire to young imaginations across the country. Getting those musical details right, from sourcing period guitars, to building a tea chest bass, to teaching the young actors how to play and sing, was the job of music consultant Ben Parker.
Lennon “would have been pretty terrible at this point in his life,” says Parker. “That was on my side. With Aaron, the challenge was not so much to get him to sound like John, but just to find the bit of singer in him. The show-off.” Did he find it? Parker raises his eyebrows, meaningfully. What 19-year-old actor doesn't have an inner Freddie Mercury?
“I know people will say, ‘Wouldn't John have been better?' But the truth was, at this point, he wouldn't. And that's one of the reasons he brought Paul into the band, because he was so much better. It was quite brave of John, to admit a potential rival.”
There's no doubt who is the leader of the band in the next scene. Johnson's all teenage bravado as he jumps on a table in Julia's living room to give a speech. First, an alpha-dog demonstration: He takes a washboard and smashes it over the head of his friend, Pete, who wants to drop out of the Quarrymen. “Apparently washboard players don't get enough chicks,” he says as Pete clutches his head. “And he feels like a pansy wearing his mum's thimbles.”
The traitor dispensed with, he turns to the rest of the band – the ones who will accompany him to Hamburg and beyond, and the ones who will be left behind. “Where we going to, boys?” And they shout back, joyfully, “to the toppity top, Johnny”
Screenterrier posted the details here on the CBBC open casting call to find British Chinese children to play 13 year old Bo and her younger brother Timothy.
It seems they had problems finding a suitable young British Chinese girl for Bo so have cast a 17 year old actress Jessica Henwick, an undergraduate at Redroofs Theatre School.
Jessica attended a string of auditions to gain the part of Bo -the leader of the Spirit Warriors and the role is described as "a bit like Tank Girl" - forceful, determined and tenacious.
Bo and Timothy are transported into the ’spirit world’ where, as in all good children’s series, they embark on a martial arts filled quest to save their grandma and the universe from a supervillain called Li and his ’shadow ninjas’.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Most recognised for his role in the first two series of Skins as the wannabe gangsta, Posh Kenneth, Daniel has been on the writing team for the BAFTA-winning drama since it first hit our screens.
Only eighteen when he wrote his very first full episode, Daniel is the show’s youngest writer.
“My sister’s telling everyone that I’m the world record holder for the youngest writer of a prime-time television drama,” shares the 19-year-old from Camden. “I don’t actually know if I am! It’s a bit weird, init?” he says. “It’s a bit of an ego trip finding out for yourself if you’re a Guinness Book world record holder.”
Now that’s a phrase you definitely don’t hear everyday. So, how was it this time around, writing for the new series – with a whole new line-up of characters?
“I think it was harder this year because there was an expectation,” he shares. “Last year no-one expected diddly squat but it’s all come out alright. I learnt a lot.
“When we went off to write the new characters, it was us making a new show,” he explains. “You know it will be commissioned and it’s going to get made and then actors come in and you think, ‘I made that thing, I gave you that name’. It’s weird, but I just feel very blessed well and truly, it’s very nice to feel like you really, really are a part of it.
“A lot of people like it and some don’t, I think it’s got a lot of new viewers - they were watching cartoons when the first series was on and now they’re watching teen drama,” he jokes.
“The thing is with Skins every week it is a different show. I find it very exciting in that respect. It’s a fresh show.”
At the same time as writing for the show’s third series, Daniel was well into a four-week run at the Royal Court Theatre in Levi David Addai’s acclaimed play, Oxford Street. Following its success, it then transferred to an actual disused shop in Elephant and Castle shopping centre, South London. So, just a bit different from Sloane Square, then?
“It got the play to a different audience that wouldn’t know it had existed,” he shares.“The play related so much to them but it was weird, performing with people pushing their faces against the glass and jumping, waving, knocking to put you off, but it was a wicked experience.”
Oxford Street has now been nominated for Best Ensemble Cast at this year’s Laurence Olivier Awards, one of the most glam and prestigious awards in London theatre.
Daniel’s certainly been busy juggling both his roles as writer and actor.
We can currently see him appearing alongside The IT Crowd’s Chris O’Dowd in ITV2’s brand new comedy sitcom FM, in which Daniel plays, Ade, a runner at the radio station. “He has to be one of the funniest actors I’ve ever worked with,” he says of O’Dowd. “It would go like this: “Action!”, and as soon I am walking on, he’d say “You look gay”, or “Action”, then he slaps my bum! I’ve never really worked on a show like that where improvisation was allowed, we’d stop rolling and it would still carry on. It was amazing just being told I could do my own thing, do what I want.”
Daniel’s knack for comedy has also been spotted by other TV comedians including David Mitchell and Robert Webb (Daniel was a guest star in the second series of That Mitchell and Webb Look, in the You Tube favourite, "Dancing Speedo" sketch) and most recently The League Of Gentlemen's Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton, casting him in their brand-new comedy mystery for BBC, Psychoville.
“I’d never really seen The League of Gentlemen,” says Daniel.
“What!?” I squawk in surprise, thinking back to the many evenings my brother and I sat glued to the TV, watching the show - truly absurd humour but laugh-out-loud funny.
“I haven’t watched a lot of things,” he admits. “It was probably good I hadn’t watched it. I wasn’t nervous at the audition. It was one of the best I’d ever done, then they called me, with the director, and I got the part.”
“It was not until after that I saw a list of the top underrated TV shows ever, shows like Arrested Development, and then I saw The League of Gentleman and thought “Whoa, this must be a big deal.”
And who does he play in the series?
“Michael Fry. Am I actually called Michael Fry?” he asks aloud. “Sounds like that guy from Futurama doesn’t it? I watched it this morning. This is the first time I realised.
“I am on community service for doing certain things in Yorkshire and I have to read to this blind guy [played by The League of Gentlemen writer and actor Steve Pemberton]. The show it so crazy, but that’s what they do best,” he shares.
“He (Steve) has this room and he collects beanie babies and there’s only one that he’s missing, I have to help him find that one. We go on travels trying to find it, but there’s all different stories happening with other characters [played by the likes of Dawn French and Dame Eileen Atkinson].
“I didn’t know who she was,” he admits “not being bad or nothing, I knew she was a Dame so she had to be someone, it was one of those weird moments she was talking about Judi Dench and I was thinking, ‘her and Judi Dench are tight? – that’s crazy’. Dawn (French) was wicked, there is a wicked cast.”
Others characters include a dwarf who is in love with Snow White and a one-handed clown who makes balloon animals with his hook. Brilliant. Scheduled to appear on our screens late April, there’s little doubt that the show will do well, following the success of The League of Gentlemen, and Daniel agrees.
“I went to the ADR (Additional Dialogue Recording) and stayed back even after my bits were finished just to see more of the show and I got that feeling, there really is nothing like it on TV. You either love it or hate it and that kind of thing is really missing on television, there’s all this mediocre stuff.
“Watching Steve was amazing,” says Daniel. “His character is a sixty, seventy-year-old blind guy. You can’t see him, for me that’s the best type of acting.”
As well as attending Sylvia Young Theatre School on the weekends (“I was more into football at the time”), Daniel went on to train at Anna Scher’s community theatre at the age of 13 and at 16 got his first acting job. What made him finally choose acting over his sporting endeavours?
“Why, why?” he says in a dramatic voice, then just as quickly returns to normal, continuing, “I wasn’t a bad child, just mischievous. “I talked a lot, I still do, but because of that someone said to my mum that I should think about acting.
“At Anna Scher, I was just in awe at how talented all these young actors were. I never had an experience like that before, those classes were amazing. It’s a shame how it all went in the end.”
Despite a public campaign led by her and her supporters, Scher was never reinstated as head of the theatre after temporarily stepping down, due to health-related issues. The theatre school she founded continues on, now known as the Young Actors Theatre Islington.
“My mum’s a normal African mum; when I told her I seriously wanted to pursue acting she was like (he puts on an accent): ‘Oh My God! No way. Do you not want to be a lawyer or something else?’”
Taking the creative route seems to have worked out for Daniel. As well as FM and Psychoville, Daniel has a new role, in BBC’s Doctor Who, currently filming upcoming episodes in Dubai! Not bad at all.
I bombard him with questions: Doctor Who!? Do they do that regularly, film on location, abroad? How come they’re going all the way to Dubai?
“I can’t say that! I am actually not allowed to say.”
Speaking of enjoying success, his mate Dev Patel (former Skins actor and lead in the multi- award winning film Slumdog Millionaire) hasn’t done to badly either.
“Dev’s like the biggest kid in the world, he is, he is though!” says Daniel. “He hasn’t changed for nothing. Everyone’s so proud of Dev, the film’s brilliant. It’s just so mad how quick it’s happened. It was like three months ago me and Dev were walking around Leicester Square bussing joke, obviously you get the Skins thing but it’s just a different level now.”
And what’s next for Daniel?
“I’m looking forward to not working.”
“That has to be the most arrogant sentence I’ve ever said!” he laughs. “And that’s probably gonna be the headline now, ‘Daniel is looking forward to not working’, and that would be me, no more [jobs].
“It will be good to have time for the writing, get down to the library and work on my own stuff,” he continues. “I’m just happy to be working in this credit crunching time! I used to pay to do it!! I’m talking to David Tenant in the scene thinking ‘Ha! I am getting paid!’.
“I don’t think you really understand this I really and truly am lucky I am only 19 and I’ve done a lot. I am very lucky,” says Daniel.
And a lot more, I’m sure, is yet to come.
“I push myself,” he says, “if I do something that’s not very good, I think ‘Why did I do that!?’. And then I push myself to go deeper, act better, just do your best. If you’ve done that and you don’t get it – then at least you can say you’ve done your very best - that’s all I can do.”
He is represented by Troika.