Yorkshire Life : 2020-10-01

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on the movie for two years, and I was also cast in the film. I’m on screen for about one-and-a-half seconds sinking my teeth into someone. It’s mad for a lad from a Yorkshire mining village. Fast forward 20 years and I’m in a room with Brad Pitt! ‘We were on set with him for about two weeks, saying good morning to him and having coffee and watching things back on screen. What’s bizarre is that on the first day you go: “Wow! It’s Brad Pitt”. After that, everything becomes normalised. You have a job to do and you have to be there on time and in make-up at 5am so you can do it.’ It was the same working with Tom Cruise on The Mummy (more zombies) and Eddie Redmayne on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. ‘I think we tend to see celebritie­s as “other”,’ he says. ‘Of course, I have to shake myself – I’m standing next to Tom Cruise. But he’s really profession­al and calm. I had to almost bite his neck every day.’ Clarke has lived in London and Belgium, but is now back in Yorkshire again. ‘In my twenties I ran away to the lights and big city,’ he says. ‘My friends were there and it was cool. But once I’d done all that, it was time to get back up north. All my family are up here and I feel settled. I’m a true northerner.’ There is one way Gary Clarke isn’t like Billy Elliot. Family and friends have always supported and encouraged him. ‘I’ve got a huge family and they’ve always been there for me,’ he says. ‘They’ve been glad I found something I was passionate about and that I wasn’t just going to be unemployed and end up on the scrap heap. The whole village has supported me throughout my career. I’m very lucky.’ ABOVE: Jamie Bell as Billy Elliot in the smash hit movie about the coal miner’s son whose life is changed by ballet N Yorkshire Life: October 2020 51 Š

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