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Ipswich: Westbourne to Hollywood: A student’s tale

13:59 21 December 2012

Former Suffolk College student Guy Campbell, who worked as an additional third assistant director on this year

Former Suffolk College student Guy Campbell, who worked as an additional third assistant director on this year's Batman film The Dark Knight Rises, says director Christopher Nolan is the best he has ever worked with.

Archant

FROM Captain America to The Dark Knight Rises, Morgan Freeman to Colin Farrell, one former Ipswich media studies student is living the Hollywood dream.

Freelance assistant director Guy Campbell, 31, grew up in Stowupland, took a gamble in London, helped recreate Gotham City and is now grazing the fields of Auckland, New Zealand awaiting his next assignment.

A far cry from his Westbourne High School sixth form media studies class.

“On certain days, you do think to yourself ‘this is great, I get to do this for a living’,” reflected Ipswich-born Guy.

“On Batman, for example, I found myself in costume, being trained to fire an automatic rifle before filming a quick shot on set for director Christopher Nolan.

“I won’t lie, that was a pretty fun day. My one second in the film was my reward!”

Like the big-screen stories he has worked on, his tale is one of triumph over adversity.

After shooting small films at Westbourne, Guy’s interest in movie-making was stirred.

He enrolled on the BTEC Diploma Art Foundation Course at Suffolk College before completing a three-year TV and film design degree at the Hull School of Art and Design.

Guy then took a punt and moved to London. He paid the first two months rent on his credit card, found a bar job and was soon offered the assistant manager position.

The very next day he was offered a runner’s job on a low budget film.

“It was a Chinese gay romantic comedy called Cut Sleeve Boys!” he said.

“Somehow two of my friends from university ended up working on it. We had the best time.”

The film’s producer then took him into BBC comedy, reality TV, Channel 4 dramas, Midsomer Murders and The Bill, which soon sharpened his skills and stretched his horizons.

“They were tremendous training grounds,” recalls Guy. “But the recession caused ITV to cancel The Bill. All of a sudden a good chunk of reliable work vanished.”

This is when New Zealand presented him with a fresh challenge – and a hard decision to make.

“I had survived in London and realised it was a ‘now or never moment’.

“I weighed up my options, visa access and places within the film industry, and decided to give it a go.”

Helping Anne Hathaway and Michael Caine on set soon followed, as did work on Captain America and Clash of the Titans.

“It’s not hard to grasp where I am. It’s been a long, hard slog,” he concludes.

“With no family in the industry it has taken far longer than I ever would have thought, but some very good friends have supported me along the way.

“My old head teacher Kevin Williams and his family became very good friends.”

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