Tuesday, November 2, 2010

First look at the teenage Eric and Ernie

Screenterrier reported on the BBC casting call back in July, to find young and teenage Eric and Ernies for Victoria Wood's BBC 2 film When Eric met Ernie.

19 year old Harry McEntire (represented by Curtis Brown) who starred in Spring Awakening at the Lyric Hammersmith, plays the teenage Ernie. He also played Davie in the BBC's successful drama adaption of David Almond's novel Clay.

14 year old Jonah Lees (Sylvia Young Theatre School) plays young Eric, Jonas has been steadily building up an impressive list of film and TV credits from a young age, as well as playing Michael Banks in the West End production of Mary Poppins. Jonah's twin Christian Lees is also an actor.

Victoria Wood herself plays Eric's pushy mother Sadie:

'We may think of Morecambe and Wise as that brilliant and much-loved double act but I've always thought that a film about their days as child performers in variety and their struggles to establish themselves would make a fantastic story.'

She added: 'The casting has been a marathon. Because our story spans 20 years we have had to find three actors for each part – to play the comedians as children, teenagers and men.
'We were looking for a specific Eric or Ernie quality at each age and, once we found it, the rest was up to the make-up department to match their hair and eye colour.'

She joked: 'We toyed with the idea of using puppets to play the young Eric and Ernie. But, in the end, sanity prevailed and we have our three Erics and three Ernies of different ages. We could only run to one Sadie, however, so I am hoping to show the passage of time by smiling a lot when Sadie is young, then wearing a different coat.'

12 year old Josh Benson (York Stage Musicals) from York, plays the even younger Ernie, in his first professional acting role. He attended the open auditions and said:
 "We couldn’t attend the Leeds auditions, but luckily I was given a slot for Manchester and a couple of weeks later I was offered the role of Ernie Wise.
  I was amazed to discover that it was the same casting team working with Victoria Wood who had seen me audition for the role of Michael in the West End's Billy Elliot, and though I’d been too old for Michael they thought I was perfect for Ernie.”

The cast list also includes Emer Kenny (Eastenders E20) as Eric's wife Joan, and Bryan Dick and Daniel Rigby play the adult Morecambe and Wise.

Shooting has been taking place over the last couple of months in various locations in the North West including  Stockport Plaza, Manchester Apollo, Bacup in Lancashire and New Mills in Derbyshire.

The drama is due to be aired this Christmas.

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