A FORMER engineer who switched careers at the age of 62 has become an overnight sensation as a movie extra.
Grandad John Neville was the butt of family jokes when he first applied to a film extra agency last year
Weeks later, when he landed a plum role in the new Les Miserables film, even he was surprised.
“I had a call on the Monday asking me to go for a fitting for Les Mis on Tuesday. By Thursday I was rubbing shoulders with Helena Bonham Carter and Amanda Seyfried. Talk about a dream!” he said.
John, who lives in Bolbeck Park, was a top-hatted guest in the movie’s wedding scene.
“We went to see the film last week and if you blinked you missed me. But that’s not the point – it was an amazing experience and I enjoyed every minute of it.”
Since his Les Mis debut in May last year, John has never looked back. He’s been snapped up for an extra role in a Channel 4 comedy, an ITV drama, a pilot film about Mercenaries, a coffee advert and even an educational DVD about language teaching.
His next role, however, is something entirely different.
“Next week I start filming for the Muppet Movie. I’m a member of the audience in the show, so I don’t think I have to dress as a Muppet.
“Mind you, it wouldn’t be a problem if I had to.”
John puts his success down to “having a face that fits” and is looking forward to a full time career as an extra.
After spending all his life as a printing engineer, much of it running his own city company, he was forced to try his hand at something new when the industry hit hard times.
“I started doing a bit of courier work and one day I was looking through Gumtree and spotted an ad asking for film extras. I just though ‘why not?’ and signed up immediately.”
“After all, my namesake was a famous actor, even though he was no relation!”
Now John’s details are registered with several agencies and the work in flowing in.
“I love it. When the phone goes I never know what I’m going to be asked to do or where I’m going to be asked to go.
“It’s a great way of life. You get to meet all sorts of people, including famous stars. Best of all, you get paid for having fun.”