Stagecoach student lands his first leading role in Sainsbury's 150th anniversary Christmas advert
“Chris has never done anything like this before, he is a complete newcomer,” says Jenny, Chris’ mum
Since he was four years old, Chris has been attending Stagecoach Fulham, led by principal Alison Bullman. “Chris has a natural talent for acting, but it is the combination of this with his fantastic work ethic that has made him stand out as someone who can do it all, says Alison. It was based on Alison’s encouragement and suggestions that Chris attended an audition experience session run by The Stagecoach Talent Agency.
Chris with Stagecoach Fulham Principal Alison
From meeting Tarquin at The Stagecoach Talent Agency in May, Chris has had a number of auditions. Having only been represented by the agency for a couple of months when Sainsbury’s opportunity came in, Tarquin knew Chris’ name was written all over it. “We thought he was amazing, delivering very mature, yet natural, performances for his age,” says Tarquin. “I could tell the buzz from the casting directors because they kept calling to chase his availability. These opportunities are almost once in a lifetime.”
Chris said, “Getting this part in the Sainsbury's Christmas ad was the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me. I had to work hard but I loved every minute of it. I ran around my house singing at the top of my voice without my shirt on when I found out I'd got the part. I would love to do it again at any time.”
The producer revealed that one of the reasons they cast Chris was due to how remarkable it is at his age to be able to change his facial expressions so quickly, Jenny recalls.
The shoot lasted for five days and while there was a lot of waiting around on set, Chris made friends with everyone and spent time playing card games and doing magic tricks. He made an effort with the locals too, learning bits of Romanian. For a young actor like Chris, being able to meet and talk to older cast members about their careers was an invaluable experience.
Ninian Doff, the director, made an effort to get to know Chris, building a relationship with the nine-year-old in order to get the most out of him. “They spent ages chatting while he pushed Chris up and down a corridor on a wheely chair, he made an effort to be his friend” recalls Jenny. Chris worked hard throughout the shoot and stayed professional, loving every minute of it.