Page last updated at 06:10 GMT, Friday, 14 August 2009 07:10 UK

Web auditions for Sheen film cast

Michael Sheen
The online auditions are for roles in a film starring Michael Sheen

Filmmakers preparing to shoot a coming-of-age comedy starring Hollywood actor Michael Sheen have turned to the web to find new talent for younger roles.

Location filming for Submarine, set in Swansea and based on a novel by a local author, is due to start in the autumn.

Producers are trialling a website which allows would-be stars to upload an audition based on parts in the film.

Almost 100 people have submitted video auditions for the three junior lead roles, which have a playing age of 15.

Sheen, 40, from nearby Port Talbot, is already cast in Submarine, along with Paddy Considine of Hot Fuzz.

The film tells the story of Swansea teenager Oliver Tate as he struggles to win the affections of Jordana, a girl of about his age, while trying to stop his mother from leaving his father for her dance teacher.

It is based on a novel by Swansea-based author Joe Dunthorne and is to be directed by Richard Ayoade of The Mighty Boosh and The IT Crowd.

We've had auditions from kids in mid Wales who would probably never have heard of the casting session or got to them
Virginia Heath,

The roles of Oliver, Jordana, and Oliver's "slightly thuggish" friend, Chips, have yet to be filled.

The producers, Warp Films, who made This Is England, are using Sheffield-based online auditioning site to find the talent they seek.

Users download an actual scene from the script and then upload a video of their audition.

Virginia Heath, creative director at said Submarine was the first time the system had been used in the UK.

She said more than 1,200 people had signed up to the site and more than 100 auditions of "previously undiscovered talent" have been submitted for Submarine roles. Auditions are open until late on Monday.

She said: "It's really useful to people who are on the margins of things, wherever they are from.

Anna Hughes (left) & Scott Wilson
Anna Hughes and Scott Wilson were among those auditioning for the roles

"That's why it is nice it has been a Welsh project that's the first project we've experimented with.

"Obviously, young Welsh actors are not in London and they are not at the centre of things, so it is great to give them an opportunity to take their own future in their hands and put themselves forward.

"We've had auditions from kids in mid Wales who would probably never have heard of the casting session or got to them.

"We thought it would be interesting to try using (the website) to throw the net really wide in casting the young leading roles."

Ms Heath said the site had "taken on a life of its own" since its launch and was proving useful to directors as a shortlisting tool for potential new talent.

'A-list cast'

"You can see really quickly who's right for your role because they are performing scenes from the film.

"If you are casting a film, you are going to meet the actors face-to-face at a certain point. With our site, at least you have made a shortlist, so you are meeting the actors that you are really interested in."

Grant Keir, of said: "This gives young actors the chance to join an A-list cast that Warp Films have already secured, including Michael Sheen of Frost/Nixon and Paddy Considine of Hot Fuzz."

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