Hundreds queue for film audition

Some turned up in pursuit of celebrity, others to find a miracle cure to a mid-life crisis.But most of the would-be actors who flocked on Saturday morning to the auditioning for the latest period film starring Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes were there, curious to know what happens behind the scenes.

Some turned up in pursuit of celebrity, others to find a miracle cure to a mid-life crisis.

But most of the would-be actors who flocked on Saturday morning to the auditioning for the latest period film starring Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes were there, curious to know what happens behind the scenes.

As production teams do not turn up in Fakenham's market square looking for extras every day, residents from all over the region left their homes at the crack of dawn to ensure their thespian abilities get them a step closer to fame.

And the effort surely paid off, especially for early-risers, who queuing up from as early as seven o'clock outside the town's Methodist Church, managed to get in and offer their services.

However, not all were so lucky, as over 400 people lining the pavement in the town's Oak Street, had to be dispersed by the police who decided the large crowds could encumber the heavy traffic in the main road.

Those who did go in, will now be holding their breath to hear whether they have been selected to act in the feature film - The Duchess - a chronicle of the life of 18th century aristocrat Georgina, Duchess of Devonshire, an ancestor of the Norfolk-born Diana, Princess of Wales.

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“We left Ipswich at five o'clock to get here in time and make sure we apply for the positions,” said Angela Walker and Gary Bignell.

Danish-born Jette Larkin, from Wymondham, also hopes that her experience as an extra in a previous period film, The Golden Bowl, would guarantee a similar role in Saul Dibb's and Jeffrey Hatcher's movie.

“I played an aristocratic lady in the previous film. I love elegant costumes and nice dresses. It makes you dream,” she said.

Further down the queue inside the church's hall, Will Hinks and his teenage daughters Emily and Ellen from King's Lynn, were also waiting to have their photograph and details taken.

“My boss played as an extra in the Da Vinci Code film, so I'd like to keep up with him. It would be nice if both my daughters and I played in the film - a little bit of family effort, there,” Mr Hinks said.

With a jovial smile on her face, Jane Shailes from Swaffham admitted quite simply: “I'm going through a mid-life crisis, and I need something to cheer me up. I've never done anything as daring. So, I'd love to give it a go.”

There was disappointment for Toni Armiger from King's Lynn who arrived around mid-day, just minutes after the crowds had been dispersed.

“I thought the auditioning went on until late in the afternoon and came a bit late, thinking that most of the people had gone home. It's very disappointing,” she said.

But second assistant director, Nick Shuttleworth re-assured those who had been turned away, that applications are still welcome.

“We were absolutely overwhelmed by the response,” he said. “We did not expect such a massive turnout. We would like to tell everybody that we are still receiving applications for extras.”

Would-be actors who are still looking to play in the film have been encouraged to e-mail duchessnorfolk@gmail.com for an application form.

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