How Mick Fryer-Kelsey's career as a film extra went into hyper-speed - appearing in Star Wars and working with Emma Watson
PUBLISHED: 10:18 03 September 2017
We often come across people we recognise but, no matter how hard we try, just cannot place.
Mick Fryer-Kelsey is one of those people, yet he’s probably been in your living room more times than you can count.
The 70-year-old, from Elmstead Market, works as an extra on film and TV sets and has been in close to a thousand projects, from Star Wars: The Force Awakens to an appearance in a Pot Noodle advert.
“It wasn’t something I planned,” Mick, who is joiner by trade, said.
“As a joiner, there was a lady looking for someone to do some work.
“She said, ‘Mick, you’ve got such a character face - have you ever thought about being in the movies?’
“I thought what would be doing in the movies? I never thought about it and hadn’t even done a school play.”
He decided to give it a try, and got a job as a bell-ringer on the set of Midsomer Murders.
Some 17 years later, Mick has plenty of stories to tell, memories of Pinewood Studios, and more bookings coming his way.
His credentials so far include three Harry Potter films, Stardust, Eastenders, My Cousin Rachel, Children of Men, Cranford, The Simpsons, and Tess of the d’Urbervilles.
Recalling one anecdote, he said: “I went to do a TV series called Ballet Shoes about three young girls who are adopted and develop different talents.
“One of them becomes a young actress and she gets to do Alice in Wonderland, and my agent booked me as The Mad Hatter.
“I working alongside this young girl and we had a great time. It was Emma Watson. We became quite good friends.
“Later, when I was doing Harry Potter we were filming in the tavern – The Three Broomsticks – and the three wizards came in and the director picked on me to have an action through the set, where I was going up the stairs a bit tiddly.
“While they reset, I came down the stairs and waited at the bottom. I’d been in so many films that year and told not to shave, that by the time I got to Harry Potter I had a big wizard-y beard.
“Emma just kept looking at me giving me that ‘I know you’ face. I thought, do I talk to her, do I say something? I can’t just blurt it out, but she’s going to think I’m ignorant, so I just leant over and said ‘how’s Alice?’.
“She said ‘I know you now, Mick! I knew your face,’ and I chatted with her and Daniel and Rupert.”
As well as leaving his mark on one of the biggest films of all time, Mick has also been immortalised as a Lego character, thanks to his role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
There, he played a space pirate called Oskus Stooratt, was photographed by Annie Leibovitz, and got to know director J.J. Abrams.
“I’m an unlockable character in the video game,” Mick, who lives in Elmstead Market, said.
“I didn’t know anything about it. To be Lego, well, I just wish my wife was here because she would’ve loved it. My husband is Lego.
“When we were filming, a group of us were taken to another studio and scanned. The lady in charge said it was for the video game and we just thought, ‘yeah OK, right.’”
Since then, thousands have played it, including his own family.
Mick has also been given substantial speaking parts in his work, although not everything always makes the cut.
In Star Wars, he spent time filming an improvised scene about his stolen spaceship, and was chosen to play the wizard priest for the wedding of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Mick said: “We spent ages filming and we rehearsed the wedding and I read part of the books – I’ve never read them but I read that part – and it was a big scene.
“The priest does the wedding and he has a squeaky voice and waves his wand and they wanted me to play him. But then it was all cut.”
Perhaps Mick’s biggest fan though, is his 11-year-old granddaughter Sally Alford, who has already done her own film work.
“When she was born I held her in my arms and she was blonde, blue-eyed and very cute,” he said.
“I phoned one of my guys and asked for the top agent for children and straightaway she was on Miss Austen Regrets.”
Sally has also been involved in Missing Children: Lorraine Kelly Investigates.
Together, the pair have quite the portfolio and it only looks set to get bigger.
Watch this space.