Crichlow: Cool to be black female lead in Fast Girls

The star of Fast Girls has said it's "very cool" to play a black female lead in a British film.

Lenora Crichlow said the role was something "she looked for" as she was growing up.

The 27-year-old plays Shania Andrews in the movie about a group of female British sprinters.

"It's a huge thing for me to have such a strong female cast," she said. "For me as a black British woman it's so important."

The film's producer, Damian Jones, said the character was someone to be proud of.

"Once upon a time there were - to be frank - conversations that if it wasn't a white lead you wouldn't get financed," he said.

"That might have been the case two, three, four years ago but I'm glad to say that's no longer the case.

Lenora agreed: "It's just about time we had that. This film has a brilliantly fresh, vibrant, female, British cast."

Intense training

The film's plot involves the sprinters working towards a major championship.

All the main actresses took on a strict training regime and were coached by professional athletes.

Lily James, who plays Lisa Temple, said it was constant exercise.

"Two-and-a-half hours of training five times a week," she said.

"We did weights, training and circuits. It's been a complete lifestyle change and really hard. No sweets, no chocolates, no wine."

As well as starring in the film as the girls' coach, British actor Noel Clarke also co-wrote the screenplay.

The idea for the film was in progress before London was chosen to host the 2012 Olympics. Producer Damian Jones hopes people will be excited.

He said: "It's a bit Bend It Like Beckham, a bit Chariots of Fire and a bit Streetdance."