Ipswich carpenter turns film star

MANY a round-the-world traveller hopes for excitement and adventure, but few expect to end up starring in a multi-million dollar blockbuster.But former Ipswich man Fraser Marshall is today looking forward to seeing himself on the big screen.

MANY a round-the-world traveller hopes for excitement and adventure, but few expect to end up starring in a multi-million dollar blockbuster.

But former Ipswich man Fraser Marshall is today looking forward to seeing himself on the big screen.

Being 6ft 7in tall has helped him bag the role of two fantastical creatures - a minotaur and a centaur - in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

With a premiere attended by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall in London tonight and the film on general release tomorrow, the 32-year-old former Northgate High and Sidegate primary pupil is set to become a star of stage and screen.

Mr Marshall, now lives with his Scottish girlfriend Catriona Glen in New South Wales, Australia, but his parents, sister, niece and nephew still live in Ipswich.

The carpenter left Suffolk in 1999. He went to New Zealand and then Australia, lived in Scotland from 2000 until 2004, travelled to South America and then made the fateful return to New Zealand to see his brother.

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Mr Marshall said: “That's where I saw in a national newspaper that there were two public auditions, for people over 6ft 6in, to play various creatures.”

About 3,000 people turned up to a public audition back in April 2004, but Mr Marshall was lucky enough to get a call back.

About two auditions and five sessions later, Mr Marshall found himself among the final two chosen to play the parts of two minotaurs for the adaptation of CS Lewis' classic.

As a minotaur - part man, part bull and a member of the bad army - Mr Marshall had to dress in a costume that he said resembled a giant, furry wetsuit complete with armour and an animatronic head.

As a centaur - part man, part horse and a member of the good army - he had to spend four hours in make-up so his upper body looked more like a horse. Computer technology was then used to superimpose a horse's lower body.

During the four months of filming, Mr Marshall got to travel around the country and brush shoulders with the stars. He even features in the computer games.

He said: “I was pretty good at it. It's my claim to fame - I can walk like a bull on two legs.

“When we did huge battle scenes with about a thousand extras, they had to watch a character fundamentals video - and I was in the video!”

“Getting helicoptered around to mountain tops was pretty cool - I would never have got the chance to get to those places otherwise.

“It was great. People thought we were bona fide movie stars. I was even asked a couple of times for my autograph!

But having only seen clips of the film, he cannot wait to see himself on screen - and is sure he has not been cut out.

Have you featured in a well-known film? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

The film is an £85 million Walt Disney Pictures/Walden Media production

The story centres on four English children - Lucy, Susan, Edmund and Peter - who step through a wardrobe and find themselves in the magical world of Narnia

They have to fight in the name of the lion Aslan against an evil witch, who has subjected Narnia to a perpetual winter.

It is directed by Shrek director Adam Adamson

It is based on a 20th century classic by devout Christian CS Lewis

There are seven Narnia novels, which feature Christian symbolism.

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