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One of the strongest contenders for the Best Actress category at this year's Oscars was Gabourey Sidibe, who played the lead in the film Precious, and who had previously been working in a call centre with no ambition to pursue a career in acting. In this special edition of Front Row, Kirsty Lang explores the trend among film makers to look outside the world of professional actors when casting for the screen.

Dominic West, star of the award-winning American crime drama The Wire, which chronicled the drug trade in Baltimore, describes what it was like acting and directing with a cast which controversially included convicted criminals.

Kirsty meets Katie Jarvis, who was an unknown teenager from Essex with no acting experience before she was spotted by a casting director on a railway platform. She went on to star in Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank, which is up for a BAFTA, having won the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2009.

In her controversial film about British gang culture, director Penny Woolcock cast straight from the streets of Birmingham. She talks to Kirsty about the challenges of dealing with a cast who bring a unique authenticity to the screen.

Available now

30 minutes

Last on

Fri 5 Feb 2010 19:15

Front Row's Cultural Exchange

Cultural Exchange

Seventy-five leading creative minds choose a favourite cultural work.

BBC Arts - Get Creative


The best of British culture live and on-demand.

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