U.K. talent search is on via MySpace


LONDON -- It has been done with pop stars, wannabe rock acts and West End musical divas, and now the U.K. is trying to find movie stars from among the great unwashed.

Platformed on social networking site MySpace and backed by British production banner Vertigo Films and Film4, the filmmaking arm of U.K. broadcaster Channel 4, the MyMovie MashUp is "hoping to uncover new acting talent in the way new artists and musicians have been discovered on the site."

Tuesday saw the launch of a nationwide talent search for stars for its first movie titled "Faintheart," billed as a romantic comedy about the lives of a group of people who re-enact Viking battles as a hobby.

Casting for the lead roles in the film will take place via MySpace at MySpace.com/mymoviemashup, with wannabe celluloid stars asked to upload a video of themselves acting out one of the roles from the film.

Eight parts are available as outlined on the film's MySpace profile, and the project's casting director, Gary Davy, said the idea gives "professional and amateur actors an unprecedented level of access to the industry."

Video auditions must be uploaded to the site by Sept. 10, and the best entries for leading or speaking roles will be shortlisted and called back for an in-person casting session later in the month.

The £1 million ($2 million) project is scheduled to shoot in early October, with the film set for release in October 2008.

Over the next few weeks, a casting bus will tour major cities across the U.K., offering people the opportunity to audition via video cameras and laptops on board.

The winners will begin work with director Vito Rocco -- himself selected by the MySpace community -- and writer David Lemon on "Faintheart."

The casting is the last stage of the project before it begins shooting.

"With online casting, we're confident we will uncover major new talent for MySpace's first feature film," MySpace Europe senior vp marketing and content Jamie Kantrowitz said.

Added Film4 senior commissioning executive Peter Carlton: "By its very existence, the MySpace community allows the producers and director to preview a much larger amount of potential candidates for the roles that we are attempting to cast. As a result, there is a great opportunity to discover new talent. The community has already been integral in helping to find our director (Vito Rocco), and Film4 believes that MySpace could definitely be a new professional resource for recruitment in film."

The project's advisory panel calls on such experienced players as producers Alison Owen and Andrew Macdonald, Universal Pictures International's Christian Grass and writer-director Nick Love to add Simon Cowell gravitas to it.