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Last Updated: Friday, 6 February, 2004, 13:07 GMT
Hunt for Billy Elliot stage stars
Jamie Bell as Billy Elliot
Billy Elliot - The Musical is expected to reach the stage this autumn
The search for the next Billy Elliot is on, with producers looking for boys to star in a stage version of the film.

The movie's director Stephen Daldry will direct the theatre musical, and is hunting for three boys to follow in the footsteps of the film star Jamie Bell.

Daldry told BBC Breakfast: "They've got to be exceptional children." Sir Elton John has written the show's music.

Some auditions were held in January, with more this month in London, Glasgow and Nottingham.

The potential stage stars need to have excellent tap, ballet and contemporary dance skills plus exceptional singing as well as gymnastic abilities, Daldry said.

Jamie Bell and Stephen Daldry

"So the demands are even more acute within the stage musical than they were for the film," he said.

Producers need three actors at the same time because one child could not be made to perform in eight shows a week, he said.

And those stars would be replaced after six months, he added, so the audition process would go on and on.

"We try to find the spirit of the child - because the child needs to have a certain amount of charisma to hold down a whole West End show," he said.

"So you need to try to explore the child very quickly within the audition process, just to see what sort of energy, what sort of stage confidence, what sort of motor a child has."

The show would reach the stage in the autumn, he said, and Sir Elton was the person who provided the motivation to turn the film into a theatre show.

"He came to see one of the early showings of the film and his response was so strong, he really came up with the suggestion 'is there anything we can do on stage?'"

Released in 2000, the film was one of the biggest British hits of recent years, nominated for three Academy Awards and winning three Baftas.

Stephen Daldry, director
"We try to find the spirit of the child."

The search for a new Billy Elliot
06 Feb 04  |  Breakfast
Stephen Daldry's hour arrives
31 Dec 03  |  Entertainment
Jamie Bell 'to stay in UK'
23 Jun 03  |  Entertainment
Billy Elliot boosts BBC ratings
02 Jan 03  |  Entertainment


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