Skip to main content

Film runner application leads to speaking part for student

Thursday 14 June 2018

AN APPLICATION for work experience on a film set landed a University of Salford student with his first role in a professional production alongside European stars.

Jay Alexander-Ali, who has just completed his second year studying Media and Performance, learned about the production through his course and applied for a job as a runner.

But following a short interview, the production manager contacted Jay and said he was ideal fora speaking part.

He has now finished filming Stock, commissioned by Sky Arts and set to be shown on the channel next year as part of a season marking Britain’s departure from the EU.

European cast

The film stars French actors Idir Chender – who will appear alongside John Hamm and Rosamund Pike in upcoming hostage thriller The Negotiator – Hania Amar – known for The Nile Hilton Incident – as well as Waterloo Road’s Sarah-Jane Potts.

It is described as a ‘post Brexit fairy tale’ following a newly arrived wholesaler who becomes caught up in an unwanted conflict with the authorities.

Jay plays the role of a guard in the film, which was shot in Manchester, Prestwich and Salford and is currently in post-production.

Offer out of the blue

The student,who had appeared in theatre projects in his native Dumfries before coming to Salford, said: “It’s been a great experience to have been involved in this and to watch these professional actors at work. I originally just contacted them to work as a runner and get some first hand experience of working on a professional film set, but I couldn’t believe it when they offered me the role.

“I was able to do it in my own accent, which was very exciting. When I originally came down from Scotland I thought my accent would be a disadvantage if I wanted to get work – but I’ll have to rethink that now!”

Casting directors need him on their list – he is someone to watch out for.

The film’s director Naqqash Khalid, who is also an associate lecturer on the University’s Media and Performance programme, said:  “Jay is a natural, he has an effortless cinematic quality to him. He’s very easy to work with and has a great energy onset.

“Casting directors need him on their list – he is someone to watch out for. I look forward to working with him again in the future and to seeing what he does next.”