Meet the Thomas Mills sixth former who plays a young Ed Sheeran in Castle on the Hill video
- Credit: Gregg Brown
When a group of Suffolk sixth-form friends heard film-makers were recruiting extras for a short documentary, the £100 a day fee seemed alluring enough.
Little did they know that within just days of its release, their debut appearance would have been viewed millions of times across the world.
The video for Castle on the Hill, Ed Sheeran’s “love song for Suffolk”, has propelled these unassuming youngsters into the musical limelight, caught up in the singer’s whirlwind return from his year out in wilderness.
With the song reminiscing about Ed’s days growing up in Suffolk, the video features friends mucking around together at locations across the county, such as Boyton Marshes, Mildenhall Stadium and a park near Felixstowe.
Although the finished video combines these scenes with footage of Ed singing, when it was first filmed the youngsters say they had little idea what it was all about. “We were literally just told to act natural, talk a lot and just do what we normally do,” said Hugo Fairbanks Weston, who plays the young Ed.
“They told us to make each other laugh, so we were seen to be having a good time.”
“It was really good fun,” added Charlotte Wint, another of the friends. “It was all of us just chilling.”
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It was only at the end of the third day of filming that they bumped into Ed in Framlingham.
“It was odd,” Hugo said. “He seemed really grateful that we were doing it and he thanked us quite a few times.”
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The humble star was even concerned Hugo would be teased for playing the part.
“He kept saying are you sure it’s all right, you know, with the ginger hair and the comparisons,” Hugo said.
“It’s been anything but that.”
Although Ed was not seen much during the filming, the friends say he had advised the directors on who to choose for the role.
“I think a lot of it was just because we were all from Thomas Mills,” said Nicos Pantelli, referring to the school in Framlingham that they and Ed attended.
While most scenes are just the group mucking around, one in particular caused a little awkwardness, when Hugo had to kiss his friend Fish Clarke.
“It was the first time on set and they told me ‘I’ve got the perfect scene for you’,” she said. “It was all pretty scary.”
Another slight embarrassment came during the filming at Boyton Marshes when Hugo had to run along a grass verge and managed to split his jeans.
“They were pretty tight around my thighs so after three goes, they just ripped and I had to borrow the producer’s jeans.”
Despite starring in the video, the Thomas Mills students had to wait until its worldwide release on Monday to see it.
“We cringed out,” they said in unison.
“The first time it did look a bit weird,” added Hugo.
“But since them it seems pretty cool.”
Around the school, Hugo’s nickname Ed is now even harder to shake, but he says the reaction from friends has been generally “pretty cool”.
“I think they all find it quite weird seeing their friends on video,” he added.
“Some of them wish they had gone to the casting, but other than that it’s been OK.”
The friends say the video is a fair portrayal of growing up in Framlingham, particularly the final scene in which the group is sat in a field with Framlingham Castle in the background.
“We all do that,” said Joshua Sach. “In the summer we go for a dip in the mere.”
Having made their debut as actors, the group seems reluctant to make any further appearances.
“This has felt like a pretty awesome experience because we were the centre of the attention,” said Hugo.
“But it would feel weird doing it again.”
The video, featuring Hugo Fairbanks Weston, Fish Clarke, Jack Whatling, Joshua Sach, Charlotte Wint, Jasmine Graham and Nicos Pantelli, has been viewed more than 10 million times.