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Page last updated at 17:58 GMT, Thursday, 20 May 2010 18:58 UK
Prince of Persia: Will Foster stars as Prince Dastan

Will Foster performs parkour on Prince of Persia

A Norwich teenager has been plucked from the classroom and flown to Morocco to star in the new Disney flick Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

Will Foster, 13, pulls off his parkour prowess as the young Prince Dastan in the film that features Hollywood names Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton.

"[The set] was all outdoors and it looked really old - it was really good," said Will.

The film is released in UK cinemas on Friday, 21 May 2010.

"I played young Dastan, which is Jake Gyllenhaal in the movie but when he's younger," said Will.

"I'm the young prince but I'm just a street orphan. I get taken up by the king because he sees something in me that he thinks I could become a king," he added.

The film, which also stars Sir Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina, is an Arabic tale about an adventurous prince who tries to stop an angry ruler from destroying the world with a sandstorm.

After playing the 2003 computer game of the same name, the Norwich teenager landed a starring role in the flick after impressing judges with his art of giant leaps and bounds at Ealing Studios in West London.

William Foster (centre) and Jake Gyllenhaal (right) on-set in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Will Foster got to star as a young Jake Gyllenhaal (right)

Leaving his home city and school behind, Will jetted off to the tip of Africa, dressed in Arabic attire and had to use the best of his jumping abilities to break away from captors in breathtaking chases.

He said: "94% of it was me and the rest was stunt men. We had the same stunt men that did the Harry Potter films, who did some of the stuff that I just wasn't allowed to do. None of it was special effects.

"There was a jump that I was doing in the movie but I wasn't even allowed near the gap - even though I could have done it, I wasn't allowed to do it!"

The hot weather meant work was tough - the cast and crew had to shoot around 60 takes for each scene, but Will was well looked after by the production team.

"The only hard thing about it was the repetition," he said.

"They needed to do so many shots in one scene and it was boiling hot weather in Morocco, but they wouldn't have made me do any scene that they thought was too pushing my ability.

"I would do a run, do a jump and then slowly take 10 minutes to walk back to the start and then do it again."


Will was inspired by the art-come-sport of parkour, the French physical discipline similar to free running, after learning about it at school when he was 10 years old.

"A teacher came in and he was meant to be teaching maths as a substitute teacher, but instead of teaching us maths he showed us a video about parkour.

"I remember when I watched it for the first time - it's just so impressive."

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Prince of Persia was filmed at various locations in Morocco

Along with his friends, Will got involved with a local parkour group from where his expert skills of jumping from A to B in the most fluid way possible eventually landed him a part on the big screen.

"When I first started it was just me and two mates and we would literally just go around our little area and do crazy stuff - jump over barbed wire and stupid stuff like that," he said.

"Then we met up with the Norwich Parkour group and they're really great - they taught us loads of really good things about how to do things without hurting yourself, not to jump over things that are dangerous to jump over, stuff like that."

A chance to leap into stardom then came about via the internet.

"One of my friends who I do parkour with sent me a link on a parkour website that said that there was a casting agency looking for someone to play the part in the Prince of Persia who had dark hair, blue eyes and who did parkour.

"So I just e-mailed them with my video and they e-mailed me back saying that they wanted me to go to Ealing Studios to do an audition.

"I wasn't sure how I did because they don't give anything away and then I got home and they rung me up and said that I got the part."

At his audition, Will also got to meet other parkour enthusiasts with which he made friends for life.

"When we went in there we didn't have a waiting room, it was a bus!

"It was really nice though because there was a lot of other boys there going for the part and we just had a chat about parkour and stuff.

Will Foster, star in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Will hopes that he can star in more films in the future

"One of the boys there called Elliot actually ended up getting the part as my friend in the movie, so we were filming in Morocco together. Now we're still good mates even though he lives in Huddersfield."


Once back home and able to sit back and enjoy a special preview of Prince of Persia in the cinema, Will was suddenly struck by the magnitude of his success.

"It's a bit awkward because you sit there and you're just watching it and suddenly you see yourself in the movie and you didn't expect it - it's a bit weird.

"I'd love to do more film roles. Since Prince of Persia I haven't done any more films but if something else popped up I'd love to do another movie because it was the best experience of my life!"

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is released in UK cinemas on Friday, 21 May 2010.

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