People and places of Northumberland have taken centre stage in the new series of Netflix drama Frontier, which launched yesterday (Friday).
Around 150 supporting artists (or SAs, formerly known as extras) from the region’s biggest casting agent NE1 4.TV feature in the third season of the hit show, which stars Jason Momoa, well known for his role as Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones and the forthcoming Hollywood blockbuster Aquaman.
As reported previously, eagle-eyed viewers will also spot several local landmarks, as crews spent a month filming in locations including Bamburgh Castle and Chillingham Castle in March this year, just as the infamous Beast from the East was about to hit Northumberland.
NE1 4TV’s supporting artists play roles including soldiers in the show, which chronicles the North American fur trade during the 1700s.
Kate Lewis, casting agent at NE1 4.TV, revealed there was so much secrecy around the show that the hundreds of SAs were kept in the dark about what they would be filming.
She said: “Initially, we weren't allowed to tell people what the show was. Jason Momoa is a big name and so we had to keep it a secret that he was going to be there so we didn't have hordes of people turn up on set!"
"It was a big job and quite hectic at times," said Kate Lewis. "We didn't always know until very last minute what and who was needed, sometimes the requests didn't come through until very late at night for an early morning shoot so it was a 24-hour job.
"I remember on the final day of shooting we had 40 of our artists all dressed as soldiers out at Bamburgh Castle, it was the day the Beast from the East began so they were all stood out in the freezing cold and snow.
“Everyone worked so hard. We thought the shoot might get called off but we just got on with it - the show must go on! We all felt so proud seeing the supporting artists together, all on set in their uniform, it was nice to think we did that!”
Casting agency NE1 4.TV represents thousands of actors, supporting artists, dancers, models and even animals across the North East. As well Frontier, it has provided supporting artists for hit shows filmed around the North East, including CBBC show The Dumping Ground and ITV hit Vera, as well as the Ken Loach films I, Daniel Blake and Sorry We Missed You.
Supporting artist Jim Forster, 58, from Westerhope, spent a day as a soldier filming for Frontier at Chillingham Castle. He said: “It very much felt like a real situation. I felt like I had been transported back hundreds of years to the 1700s. It was really surreal but the whole cast and crew were fantastic and made me feel part of the team. It was an amazing experience.”
He was joined on set by Jack Berry, 21, from Sunderland, who added: “I had no idea what it was going to be when I signed up for it because it was a big secret, but I am so glad I took part.
“I felt a bit nervous before filming but there was something about being in costume, holding my rifle, that when the director yelled ‘action’ the nerves just evaporated. Between takes, Jason Momoa was great, speaking to all of us and then giving us high fives when we wrapped at the end of the day. He is a great guy.”
NE1 4.TV runs its own Ticbox courses (Television Industry Courses For All) to prepare people for working on film and TV sets. To find out more about NE1 4.TV and Ticbox head to www.NE14.TV.com. You can find them on social media at @NE14.TV and @ticboxTVcourses or you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.