Meet the 25-year-old Star Wars producer who grew up in Leeds

Umar Hussain has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the ranks of the film industry.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 14th December 2017, 4:07 pm
Updated Friday, 15th December 2017, 8:55 am
Umar at the Royal Albert Hall
Umar at the Royal Albert Hall

The 25-year-old has gone from intern to line producer on the new Star Wars movie in just four years.

This week he made an appearance on the red carpet at the Royal Albert Hall for the star-studded premiere of the franchise's latest installment, The Last Jedi.

It's a long way from Calverley, where the young special effects expert grew up before his big break.

Umar is now the youngest producer working for film giants Disney, and his credits include Gravity, Peter Pan, Guardians of the Galaxy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Dr Strange.

After studying at Frobellian School in Horsforth and Bradford Grammar, Umar graduated from the University of Manchester with a degree in politics, philosophy and economics and began an internship in the HR department of a film production company in London.

"He didn't really have any idea what he wanted to do before then, but we do have a picture of him at a Star Wars convention in the US, fighting Darth Vader at the age of five!" said his father Zulfi, a businessman who still lives in Leeds.

"He's very young for a producer - the average age in the industry for his level is mid-50s. He specialises in special effects and animation."

London-based Umar's next project is Jurassic World.

"He does still get back to Leeds to visit us. His next step would be to become an assistant producer, and maybe eventually a director. He's also very keen to encourage other young people to get into the film industry, particularly those from the regions. Leeds and Bradford can get a bit of a bad press sometimes, and he wants to prove that people from these areas can still get their break."