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Lowestoft's Lovely Bones
With roles in what could be two of 2008's biggest films, Lowestoft actor Reece Ritchie is on an understandable high.
The 21-year-old actor started 2007 making his first film, 10,000 BC, before landing a role in the adaptation of Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones.
The best selling novel is being brought to the big screen by director Peter Jackson, whose previous credits include the Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong and Heavenly Creatures - which has some similarities with Sebold's novel.
The Lovely Bones presents the afterlife observations of Susie Salmon, a teenager who watches life carry on for her grieving family, her serial killer murderer and her mortal love interest Ray Singh.
"Ray Singh is the character I'm playing," Reece Ritchie told BBC Suffolk's Luke Deal. "He's the best friend of Susie Salmon, played by Saoirse Ronan, and love interest.
"Obviously he feels it when she dies. The weight of the impact of her death falls on his shoulders quite heavily and he's actually the first suspect of her murder."
Reece is looking forward to starring alongside the likes of Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz and Susan Sarandon when his part in the filming commences in Pennsylvania.
"It's an amazing cast. It was quite a rare audition process for the The Lovely Bones. I went in on the Tuesday, did the audition, they sent off the tape to Peter Jackson in New Zealand and they called me on the Friday and said I've got it.
"He's an amazing guy. He's such a visionary. With Lord of the Rings he put all his lifesavings in to making all three films at once, not knowing that the first one would be such a success.
"If it hadn't of taken off as it did he'd be broke. You have to admire someone who's willing to take risks like that. He's definitely changing direction with The Lovely Bones, it's nothing like King Kong or the Lord of the Rings."
A well read assistant
So had Reece read The Lovely Bones before being contacted about the role?
"No, but luckily my agent's assistant had read it and she loved the book. So when they called me about the audition we sat on the phone for a while and she talked me through the book.
"And then I wandered into my mum's room and she actually had it on the shelf! It was handy that I didn't have to go out and buy it.
"I'm honoured to be given the opportunity. This is a chance that's come upon me and I'm going to embrace it, make the most of it.
"I've got a lot of friends who have just left drama school who are still struggling. That's the reality of acting - when you do get a break like this you have to embrace it and go for it."
Reece's first appearance on the cinema screen will come in 2008 courtesy of 10,000 BC, which focuses on the battle between man and mammoth.
"I got spotted in London at the Soho Theatre," Reece says. "I wrote a monologue and there just so happened to be a casting director in the audience.
"I came back to Lowestoft the following week and she called me and said "do you know who Roland Emmerich is?"
"I kind of said "no" and she said "well he directed Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow and he wants to meet you - the day after tomorrow. And that was it.
"It was for his new film, 10,000 BC, and I ended up playing Moha for six months in New Zealand and Africa.
"The cast were all very likeable people and that was the most enjoyable thing for me. We were lucky enough to have Omar Sharif on set with us as well. He had a cameo in it.
"It was an amazing experience and Roland is just a very funny guy to work with as well.
"I remember my first day when I arrived on set. We were on this mountain in New Zealand. I went up to Roland and asked "where are the mammoths?".
"He's a German director, and in half jest he turned to me and said "you see these white poles sticking from the ground? Those are the mamothses."
"I had a spear in my hand and dreadlocks, and three quarters of the way up there was this orange card. He said "just look at that when you wave your spear because that's the eye of the mammoth." You had to use a bit of imagination.
"The trailer's now online and you can see they've put the mammoths in and they look amazing."
Reece in Mother Courage at The Seagull
Reece attended Benjamin Britten High School in Lowestoft before spending time with the National Youth Theatre. His involvement with the Seagull Theatre gave him experience of the stage, but he's always planned to move into television and film.
"If you want to get involved with acting you either have to be 110 per cent or not at all. From a very young age it's what I've always wanted to do and I've always said this is where I want to get to.
"It's a passion - acting is what I've always loved to do. People fascinate me - the way people are, the way they behave and why they behave like that fascinates me. So you get to explore that.
"To be a successful actor you have to learn how not to act. The biggest thing is not being an exhibitionist and not going for attention.
"The biggest thing in acting is actually reducing that and producing truth on stage - something that's believable and people can access.
"I wasn't necessarily an exhibitionist but I did used to dance on the windowsill to Bad by Michael Jackson when I was about five.
"My cousin Jade used to open the curtains for me and I was gone for about three and a half minutes."
last updated: 23/05/2008 at 11:02
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