A TEENAGE boy from Leeds stars in the new blockbuster Brit film Cuban Fury, out on Valentine’s Day.
Ben Radcliffe, 15, who studies at the Sylvia Young Theatre School in London during the week, returns home at weekends to east Leeds.
The film is a homegrown romantic comedy that casts Nick Frost as a former salsa prodigy who’s fallen on hard times.
He plays a young version of Nick’s character Bruce Garrett. Ben plays a 13 year old champion Salsa dancer who is about to explode on the scene in the UK Junior Salsa Championships, he is attacked by a group of bullies who rob of him of his chance to show the world his snake hips and ultimately his confidence. The film then jumps 22 years later to an older Nick Frost,
Ben stars alongside Chris O’Dowd, Olivia Colman and Ian McShane.
Ben, from Little Preston near Garforth, who has a sister Charlotte, had professional salsa lessons everyday for three months before filming began.
He said: “It was a brilliant experience and I’m very thankful for the opportunity, I met some great people and learnt a lot in the process. It is very exciting seeing my face appearing on a big cinema screen, and I am very hopeful for the films success.
“The premiere was a lot of fun. Although I missed my chance to walk down the red carpet because of tube strikes, I enjoyed meeting all the actors and crew at the after party.”
He said he was very interested in filmmaking: “Seeing how professional film sets operate was very informative. One thing I didn’t enjoy, except for the see-through sequin shirt, was wearing contact lenses. As I have different colour eyes to Nick Frost I had to wear contacts.”
He said learning a new skill was very exciting, although some of the lessons were quite exhausting: “I had six weeks of rehearsals and it was not till the very end until I began to understand the unique style of cuban salsa. It’s a very hard skill to learn, I had an advantage from already having training in other styles of dance although learning salsa was a very tough and enduring experience.
“I never really felt nervous on set. I did feel the slight pressure of the entire film crew relying on you, but there were many takes giving you lots of chances to get it right.
In future Ben hopes to attend film school at 18 and study cinematography and aims to work in front or behind the camera.
Proud parents Vicky and John Radcliffe say they are thrilled. Mum Vicky said: “He has worked hard for a long time.”