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Page last updated at 11:40 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Clint Eastwood makes Julian's film dreams come true
Julian Lewis Jones
Julian got the chance to teach the Americans a thing or two about rugby

It's a big jump from an apprenticeship at Anglesey Aluminium to working with Matt Damon and Clint Eastwood, but that's the amazing course Julian Lewis Jones' life has taken.

After a late start in his career, the actor became a regular on TV, and is now a Hollywood name, playing Nelson Mandela's bodyguard in Invictus, which has its London premiere on 31 January.

"I hadn't acted at school at all. The first time was for my audition for RADA," said Julian.

"I went straight from school to do a YTS course at Bangor tech before getting an apprenticeship at Anglesey Aluminium. I was there for three years before realising it just wasn't for me."

He did various jobs in London and America until he decided to apply for drama school.

He explained: "I'd always loved films and there was just something in me that said, 'I know you've never acted, but I know you can do it'."

Born: Bangor, 27 Aug 1968
Schools: Goronwy Owen, Benllech; Syr Thomas Jones, Amlwch
Further education: Coleg Menai, Bangor; College of Music and Drama, Cardiff

His audition for RADA - the first he'd ever done - wasn't a success, but he went on to study in Cardiff and eventually gained parts in TV series like Belonging, Where the Heart Is and The Tudors.

But filming Invictus in South Africa has to be the highlight of his career so far, combining two of his passions - film and rugby.

"It's about the year leading up to the 1995 Rugby World Cup and I play Etienne Feyder, the captain of the white bodyguards hired by Nelson Mandela [Morgan Freeman] to work alongside the black guards from the ANC," said Julian.

"Spending two months there with Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon and Clint Eastwood was a really special experience. Everyone was so good-natured and hard-working.

"Only a few of the Americans knew anything about rugby, but I think by the end they appreciated how tough rugby players are. It should raise the profile of the game in America.

"As films were always my first love growing up it was a dream come true to be part of one."

Julian has also been combining another of his loves - fishing - with work, making an S4C TV series on angling, during which he lands a shark.

"As a kid I was always out by the river with my rods and my baits. I just couldn't stay away," he said. "I suppose I love it because I grew up on an island and the sea was always so close to me, geographically and spiritually."

Morgan Freeman on playing Mandela
11 Dec 09 |  Entertainment



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