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Last Updated: Friday, 26 January 2007, 07:37 GMT
NI schoolboy shares screen with stars
Andrew Simpson and Cate Blanchett
Andrew's character has an affair with Cate Blanchett's teacher
Not many schoolboys can claim they have been up close and personal with one of the world's most talented and beautiful actresses.

However, that's just what Foyle and Londonderry College student Andrew Simpson has been doing.

Andrew, 16, who lives in Donegal, stars alongside Cate Blanchett and Dame Judi Dench in the film Notes on a Scandal.

He plays the part of a schoolboy whose affair with his art teacher, played by Blanchett, leads to disaster.

So was it not a daunting prospect for one so young to appear alongside such stars of the screen?

"The first day I stepped on set, my first scene was one of the sort of contentious scenes - it was a sex scene - so that was pretty difficult to start with.

"But because they threw me in at the deep end it made everything else easier," Andrew said.

"It wasn't going to be anything seedy - Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench, they wouldn't sign up for anything that was going to put anyone in a compromising situation, so I knew I was in safe hands."

Andrew Simpson
Andrew Simpson said he felt in safe hands

Andrew's role featured several love scenes with Blanchett, but he said his plans to "hit the gym" beforehand to bolster his physique were thwarted by a sore leg.

He also said filming wasn't as glamorous as might be thought as some of the sex scenes were filmed outdoors, at night.

Both Dench and Blanchett have been nominated for Oscars for their performances, but Andrew is not too disappointed he's not in the frame for an award.

"No I don't think my part's big enough for a nomination, but you never know, I might get to the Oscars yet," he said.

Notes on a Scandal, which has been nominated for four Oscars, will open in cinemas next week.

Maggie Taggart reports on the young actor and his starring role

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