I was born at 3.33am on Monday 19th September 1994 at a Hospital on the outskirts of Manchester, England, UK. I am the middle child, I have an older sister and a younger brother, and I am the only actor in our family, a fact which came as a huge surprise to everyone because I never really liked the camera when I was little.
How did I get into acting?
It all started around October 2002 when the headmistress at my junior school told us that there were going to be some people coming in to school to hold auditions to find 2 boys aged between 7 and 11 (I can't remember her saying what it was for though and I thought it was for a tv programme). Then she said that if any boys wanted to be seen then we had to ask for our parent's permission and have a letter signed and returned to school as soon as possible.
My mum later said that she was really surprised when I asked her on the way home from school because she didn't think that I would be brave enough to do something like that, but she signed the form and a few days later some people came in with a camera and we had to sit down while they asked us questions like "Do you have any brothers and sisters?" and "What would you do if you found a million pounds?" - (you can see lots of the auditions, including mine, in the extras on the Millions dvd).
Anyway, I answered the questions as well as I could and then we were all told that we had to wait and if anyone had got through to the next stage then the school would be told. A long time went by (probably about a month) and then I was given a letter from the production company which was asking me to go along to the Casting studios in Manchester because I had been recalled. I was also given a couple of scenes which they asked me to try and learn over the next few days. I remember that one of the scenes was where we I am helping Dorothy (Daisy Donovan) to cook just after we and we have carried the bag of money into our house and pretended that we are carrying nativity costumes instead. Although I think they cut the cooking scene from the actual film in the end. This audition was where I met Danny Boyle (Director) and Frank Cottrell Boyce (Writer) for the first time and they were both really nice and friendly. It took about another 6 auditions which took place right through until April 2003 before we found out that we had got the part. I just remember my headmistress coming into my class at school, calling me out to the front of the class and telling everyone that they were looking at a future film star. That felt really weird !
There were lots of things to do before I could make the film though; I had to sign a contract to say that I would not play any sports so that I wouldn`t get injured. Then Lewis (Anthony) and I went to Granada Studios in Manchester to be measured for our costumes, and we saw the set where they film "Stars in their eyes" (a UK talent show where people impersonate famous singers). We also had to be checked by a doctor to make sure that we were well enough to make the film.
Lewis and I then had to have some acting lessons with David Johnson who is an acting coach. We had to learn the whole script in a couple of weeks and he would teach us how to say the words, but the script kept changing so we had to learn new lines all the time. Every time they changed the script they also changed the colour of the script pages; white, blue, green, pink, so that people would know which was the latest script. It was really helpful to have Lewis there to as well because he had acted on tv before so he already knew what he was doing.
Shooting was hard because we had to do take after take. We shot most of the film in an old school in Liverpool and on a new housing estate with a field nearby where I built my Hermitage. All of those places and others we filmed in were around Liverpool except for some scenes like the Department Store where I am looking for Dorothy, which were filmed in Manchester. Because children are only allowed to film for a short time both Lewis and I had to have doubles. We had 2 doubles each and mine were called Matt and Shane and Lewis`s were called Lewis and Michael and luckily we all got on really well and became good friends.
The end of the film was one of my favourite parts. It was shot on Formby beach in a place called Devil`s Hole and most of the time we played in the sand while we weren`t filming. Everyone was really nice to us on set but one of my favourite people was Richard, he was the 1st. AD which means the first assistant to the director, and he was very funny. Since finishing filming, Lewis and I have had to do other things as well. We had to do some ADR work, which I think means "additional dialogue recording" - that`s where some of the words we spoke in filming hadn't recorded very well, so we had to say them again in a recording studio and then they would be put on the sound track on to the film.
For the premiere, Lewis and I went to Toronto for the film festival where we had to dress up smart and drive around in hired limos, do photo shoots and interviews and saw the film for the first time. It went really quick and it felt strange watching it with hundreds of people in the audience and at the end of the film everyone stood up and we got lots of applause.