My life as a film and TV extra - meet the woman who's starred with Sir Michael Caine to Kermit (From Bournemouth Echo)
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My life as a film and TV extra - meet the woman who's starred with Sir Michael Caine to Kermit
I wonder if Angie Inwards’ new neighbours in sunny West Moors are aware they have a film star in their midst?
Have they not clocked the glamorous woman who has appeared in everything from Harry Potter to Layer Cake to EastEnders and who will be appearing in the new Paddington movie?
But they could be forgiven for missing the clues, all that early morning activity, the constant updating of her wardrobe, the unexplained absences.
“If it’s a 6am call I am up at 3am for a shower, I lay out all my clothes the night before and try and be there half an hour before breakfast,” says Angie, a sparkling 50-something with a gentle London accent.
‘There’ is the capital: “Most films are made in or around it,” and Angie has been known to pull into petrol stations when she’s nearly at the set to do her hair and make-up ready for set.
“The make-up girls really appreciate that,” she says.
They also appreciate her extensive wardrobe: “Most supporting actors have these, quite a lot of beiges and browns so you blend in, although in some films we can get dressed up,” she says.
“I buy a lot of my props from the charity shop.”
Being professional is what got Angie, who is a trained dancer and singer, her first extras job, starring in the movie ‘The Four Feathers’ alongside Heath Ledger and Ben Affleck.
“My friend, who is an actress, asked me if I could be ‘an American who likes shopping’ in a film she was working on so I sent them my picture and a bit about myself.”
The company didn’t cast her in this movie but asked her to come and see them. Within days she found herself being fitted for wigs and corsets and on the set with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood.
Soon she found herself starring with Hugh Grant in the film About A Boy.
“I went to watch it with my friend, we went all the way through until the very last scene and there I am, coming out of the school and all you can see is my back. I literally was a background artist in that one,” she laughs.
She did get to meet Hugh and found him, like Heath Ledger and Sir Michael Caine and virtually everyone, to be ‘lovely’.
Especially Sir Michael who: “Makes a point of talking to every single person he meets from start to finish because it makes the work so much nicer if you’re on first names with everybody.”
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (her job was to preside over a self-stirring cauldron) she found herself advising star Daniel Radcliffe to drink honey and lemon and take some of her throat lozenges when he had a sore throat.
“I also work as an aromatherapist and reflexologist and studied for my exams in these while waiting around on set,” she says.
“Daniel was lovely and I thought I could help when he was ill.”
In Layer Cake she found herself with possibly the easiest job in Britain, gazing briefly into the eyes of lead Daniel Craig. Are they really that blue, I ask her. “Oh yes!”
During Layer Cake she appears as the terrified waitress in the cafe scene, where boiling water is poured on a grass.
“They use dry ice to get the effect but I was so shocked when the violence started that I screamed,” she says.
“They told me we’d have to do it again because I wasn’t being paid for a speaking part and even one scream counts.”
Over the years Angie has devised a number of tricks to keep her style fresh. In one episode of EastEnders she had to cross the road ‘about 20 times’ talking on her mobile as Phil Mitchell ran the other way.
“It can get a bit like Groundhog Day,” she says.
“But they didn’t specify what I had to wear so I got dressed up with high heels.”
In another EastEnders episode she had to appear as the wife of a prisoner during a jail scene.
“This prisoner with tattoos was supposed to be my husband and when the scene started he was all over me like a rash, even though we were just in the background and I had to say no, not like that!”
In scenes like this conversations must be whispered but to ensure they look authentic and prevent attention straying, Angie usually asks the other actor about their life and family.
The list of all her appearances would fill a book and Angie is minded to write one. But will she be able to cram it all in?
From Peep Show to Psychoville, from Johnny English to Big School – she’s still got the ridiculous J-cloth that David Walliams made her wear – she has a wealth of lovely memories.
“I’m so lucky, I get to be in show-business but without all the hassle,” she says.
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