North East shoot for Danny Boyle film seeks outdoor types including farmers, wild swimmers and fit students

Danny Boyle's new film will start shooting in the North East in early May
Danny Boyle's new film will start shooting in the North East in early May -Credit:Getty Images

The production team behind Danny Boyle's latest movie is seeking fresh talent - literally - to take part in filming in the North East this summer.

The region has been chosen for a major, and lengthy, shoot for the Oscar-winning director's latest feature film which will get under way in Northumberland in early May, with opportunities for fresh air-loving locals to become involved. And, while not yet officially announced, the movie is believed to be 28 Years Later - Boyle's eagerly-awaited follow-up to his hit 28 Days Later.

This week's news that a casting agency is seeking extras - all generations - for the unnamed shoot has already sparked huge interest, with local people immediately taking up the invitation to apply. Now its production team has specified exactly what kind of people it is looking for - and they include outdoor types well used to exercise and who have plenty stamina and energy.

Candy Marlowe, the film team's second assistant director in charge of crowd scenes, is looking for just the right faces to appear in scenes ranging from a day shoot to a far longer commitment. And there are likely to be hundreds of paid-for roles for extras to fill.

Candy has been in the region this week, following in the footsteps of location scouts who earlier checked out areas around Northumberland where first filming will get under way. It is believed the bulk of work on the move will take place across the region with a focus upon rural expanses and other locations likely to feature include places around Newcastle, Gateshead and County Durham.

It seems the production team has found in the region everything it is looking for to make Boyle's latest film. "I know they were very excited about the scenery and what they were seeing," says Candy, adding of Northumberland: "It's huge."

Cillian Murphy, pictured with his Academy Award for Best Actor, is said to be attached to the new 28 Years Later film
Cillian Murphy, pictured with his Academy Award for Best Actor, is said to be attached to the new 28 Years Later film -Credit:Getty Images

Filming is expected to be spread across the county which is somewhere Candy herself has never worked before, although she has been not far off: on the Redcar set of 2007 film Atonement where she cast its famous scene featuring 1,000 soldiers. Here, she will be in charge of a wide range of crowd scenes for the film's action pieces.

"We're all really pleased with the 'recce's - creatively, it's really working for the subject," she said. Boyle - who won his Best Director Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire in 2009, followed two years later by nominations for both Best Film and Best Adapted Screenplay for 127 Hours - made post-apocalyptic virus-zombie chiller 28 Days Later in 2002. The 2007 film 28 Weeks Later was made by a different director so 28 Years Later will be Boyle's own sequel and will see him team up again with writer Alex Garland.

Candy, who has worked with Boyle before on a separate movie as well as with such stars as Brad Pitt, can't as yet confirm any details of this project other than to say it is "his latest film". But she wants to get cracking on building up a "community" of extras in readiness.

Once they have been hand-picked, it will be up to Boyle to give the nod to the final selection from photographs submitted in the application process which is open now - via casting agencies - online. Having been in the business for 28 years, Candy can spot at a glance who fits the bill and confesses she can struggle not to approach someone if she sees an ideal candidate, even if it's during her supermarket shop.

In the North East she is hoping to find a range of fit outdoor types - of all ages - who are enthusiastic and won't mind long spells outside. And with so much work to do in the run-up to the start of filming, she is keen to hear immediately from interested applicants.

"I'm building a community look, so different skills really are an asset," says Candy. She lists the likes of nature-lovers; gardeners; farmers and even sea fishermen as possible contenders, as well as wild swimmers and mountain climbers or families who might live "off-grid" or have smallholdings - anyone really who is used to fresh air, the elements and the great outdoors.

So, healthy complexions would catch the eye and so would older faces full of character. Candy stresses that no acting experience is necessary as, with those found to have the right look, the team will do the rest in preparing them for their role.

And that role could earn them around £120 a day, although fees are always difficult to specify as they depend upon various factors such as the final length of the day's shoot or overtime. They can expect to be well fed too.

There are also opportunities for young extras. Candy thinks that students may be interested - "it's a good opportunity to learn how films are made" she points out - and, because physicality is important in order to get the movement correct in those crowd scenes, she is also planning to approach local gymnast and dance groups.

The filmmakers are finding people in the north to be friendly, she adds, and she is looking forward to a change from the London scene and to capturing that freshness from first-time actors. This can make for a "great energy" she says, adding "and you find that if the people come from where we're filming, there's a pride involved too."

The extras will, she thinks, really enjoy the shoot. And it is certainly likely to prove quite an experience for everybody involved.

Peaky Blinders favourite winner Cillian Murphy, recently the toast of Hollywood upon winning the Best Actor Oscar for his lead role in Oppenheimer, is earmarked for 28 Years Later, having starred in the first 28 film, and also being tipped for the cast is locally-born actor turned Hollywood star Charlie Hunnam and and Killing Eve's Jodie Comer. The cast is expected to be announced soon.

Those interested in applying for a role as an extra will find all the information needed online and the process involves uploading images and body measurements needed for costumes. They should supply extra details about themselves too as Candy likes to learn as much as possible about individual characters.

All ages, genders and ethnicities are required and Candy says that everyone who applies will be considered and will have their details and pictures looked at. Feedback about those successful can be expected over the next couple of weeks and costume fittings and filming will follow in May.

Those aged 16-plus can apply here. Applications for those aged 15 and under can be filled in here and child entries should include the code reference 'Candy'.