Tuesday, December 06, 2022

A brutal casting decision in Innocent Sinners

I looked up Innocent Sinners, my latest children and bombsites film, in the British Newspaper Archive and came across this story from the Dalkieth Advertiser:

A Tale of Two Sisters

It was to have been a great day for 10-year-old Helen Archer. She was due to have a test for a top part in tne Rank Organisation film Innocent Sinners. Her mother could not go with her to Pinewood for the test so her 14-year-old sister June took her along instead. 

Everything was set for the test scene. 'Then director Philip Leacock found he wanted an extra girl. He asked June if she thought she could learn the lines a stand-in. 

She told him, "Yes, I know all the children's parts in the script. I learnt them while I was helping Helen with her lines." 

To prove it she ran through the test piece without one prompt. And did it so well that Leacock asked her to do it again. This time she was - says Leacock - superb. 

So superb there was only one thing he could do. He gave the film role to June.

It's a shit business, but June Archer's excellence as Lovejoy is a large part of the film's success.

The only similar story I can remember comes from Time Bandits. Terry Gilliam was casting the role of the boy Kevin and saw Grant Warnock, a child star of the day.

His parents had brought their younger son along for child-care reasons, and Gilliam took a shine to him and cast him instead of his brother.

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