Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver – or, to give it its German title, Jim Knopf und Lukas der Lokomotivführer – is one of Germany’s most popular children’s books. Written by Michael Ende, it won the German Young Literature Prize and has been translated into 33 languages. Solomon, 12, from Stagecoach Northampton, won the lead role of Jim Button in the German film version of the book
Solomon (Jim Button) and Henning Baum (Luke the Engine Driver) with Emma the steam engine
Q Did you have any professional performing experience before getting the role of Jim Button?
A. “I’ve done some theatre and I was in The Lion King UK tour. I played the young lion cub Simba.”
Q The film is in German, though your role is in English and will be dubbed. Do you think this made preparing for the role or filming any trickier?
A. “Learning the English lines was pretty easy, but they also wanted me to learn a little bit of German and that was difficult.”
Q Were there any surprises working on this film?
A. “I didn’t think there would be many English actors involved, as it was made in Germany, but there were people from everywhere, including Liverpool, London and Manchester."
Q A steam train plays a big part in Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver – was that fun?
A. “It was! She’s called Emma and I got to ride her throughout the film. At the end, they gave me a small train called Molly.”
Q What was the best bit about working on this film?
A. “We filmed in Berlin and Munich in Germany, and then we went to Cape Town in South Africa, where it was really hot and sunny, so I was able to see new places and enjoy the weather!"
Q Who went to South Africa with you as your chaperone?
A. “My mum couldn’t come, unfortunately, so my nan was my chaperone. Nanny has always wanted to explore and see different things, so she really enjoyed it.”
Q How did you keep up with schoolwork?
A. “I had a tutor from England. My school emailed her my work and she would teach it to me."
Q You’ve been going to Stagecoach since you were six. What do you like most about it?
A. “It’s fun, you get to meet lots of different people, and you learn lots and get comfortable performing.
Also, all the teachers are really nice and kind. It’s really good.”
Q How do you think Stagecoach has helped you?
A. “It's helped me be more active and confident in auditions, and around directors. I do singing, drama and dance there, and they all help develop expression and personality.”
Jim Knopf und Lukas der Lokomotivführer (Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver) is released on 29 March in Germany. The UK release date is to be confirmed.