By Tony Rizzo
HOLLYWOOD — What does it take to become a movie star today? Take Jeremy Irvine, who hails from the little town of Cambridgeshire, England. In 2008 he landed a role in the teen series “Life Bites” on the British Disney Channel. After two seasons, the show was put on hold and he took a role in the Royal Shakespeare production of “Dunsinane,” the sequel to “Macbeth,” as a spear carrier. A routine audition for the film “War Horse” turned into two months of call backs until he was asked to do a film test. When he was handed the script for the test, it told him that Steven Spielberg, who was directing the film, wanted him for the lead.
“War Horse,” a very successful play in London and on Broadway that utilizes puppets as the horses, takes place during World War I. There was just one problem, though — Jeremy had never been on a horse! He had to go through two months of extensive training to play a boy who searches war-torn Europe to find his horse. Eleven horses were used to portray his horse, Joey, at various stages of his life. In addition, Jeremy has been dealing with Type 1 diabetes since he was 6 years old, which you can be sure had to be dealt with for such a demanding physical role. “War Horse” is rated PG-13 and opens on Christmas Day.
Jeremy is currently playing Pip in the new film of Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations” with Helena Bonham Carter, and then goes right into “The Railway Man” with Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz. So far, he still prefers living in Bedfordshire, England, with his parents and two younger brothers rather than Hollywood, but when Hollywood calls, most young actors answer!
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If you haven’t seen “The Artist” yet, go see why it’s already getting Oscar buzz. French director Michael Hazanavicius cast French actors Jean Dujardin, who won the best actor award at The Cannes Film Festival this year for playing a rising actor who has to deal with the advent of talking pictures, and Berenice Bejo, as well as John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller and Malcolm McDowell. Shooting for seven weeks in and around noisy Los Angeles wasn’t a problem for “The Artist,” since it’s in black and white and is A SILENT FILM! The one and only silent film to win the best picture Oscar was l928’s epic “Wings.” If “The Artist” should win, the movie industry will have come full circle, and it will have taken 84 years to prove people who said “Talkies won’t last!” and “Silent films are all washed up!” wrong — twice!
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© 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.