Police officer swaps his beat for Cannes red carpet after landing top role in Ken Loach film
Police officer Ross Brewster swapped his regular beat for the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival after a chance email led to him starring in Ken Loach’s latest film.
Ross, 47, had signed onto the books of Newcastle-based casting agency NE1 4.TV in 2015 in a bid to play a supporting artist (sometimes known as an ‘extra’) on TV, but because of work commitments never got the chance.
That was until an email from the agency last summer, looking for former or retired policemen, caught his eye.
He replied, and before he knew it, he had landed the role of Maloney in Sorry We Missed You.
Principal photography began in September in the Newcastle area, and the film is scheduled for release in the UK at the beginning of November this year.
The film is based around the theme of zero-hour contracts, which affect the employment of both main characters. Ross was cast as the boss of lead character Ricky, a delivery driver played by Kris Hitchen.
It has attracted good reviews from critics who have seen it, with some suggesting it is even better than Loach's last offering, the award-winning I, Daniel Blake.
Ross, who has worked for Durham Constabulary as a Pc for 22 years, has just returned from the prestigious Cannes film festival in France, where the film opened to critical acclaim.
As well as seeing it nominated for the prestigious Palme d’Or, he got the chance to rub shoulders with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt.
Ross said: “Cannes was an amazing experience. I don’t think there are many British actors who have walked down the red carpet at one of the world’s most prestigious film festivals – and I’m one of them!
“Before this film I had done absolutely no work in film or TV, and all of a sudden I’m working with one of the best directors in the world! It is mad, really.
“I don’t consider myself to be an actor, just someone lucky enough to be given a role in a brilliant film. I feel blessed. Even if this is the only film I ever do, what a way to do it.”
Casting agency NE1 4.TV represents actors, supporting artists, dancers, models and even animals across the North East, and provided many artists for Sorry We Missed You.
It has also supplied artists for shows filmed around the North East including CBBC’s The Dumping Ground, ITV hit Vera, and Netflix smash Frontier, as well as I, Daniel Blake.
After receiving his initial email from the agency, Ross had to attend several auditions before he received a phone call from office manager Kate Lewis asking him if he wanted one of the main roles.
The dad-of-three said: “One day my phone pinged to tell me I had a voicemail, which was from NE1 4.TV.
"I rang them back and they asked me if I wanted a part in the next Ken Loach film!
“All that time I thought I would just be in the background, then they tell me I was playing the lead character’s boss! I couldn’t believe it.
“All of a sudden I find myself working with one of the biggest names in the business - Ken Loach.
"I was sat next to him on set one day and I said to him that I wasn’t sure I should be there. I felt like a bit of a fraud!
“I had never acted before and I didn’t really know what I was doing. I didn’t want to let anyone down.
"He told me I was the right person for the role and wouldn’t be there if I wasn’t. That gave me confidence.”
NE1 4.TV owner Bessie Williams said: “We are so proud of Ross for landing such a big role in Sorry We Missed You and have heard nothing but good reports about his acting.
“It just goes to show you never know what will happen. Ross had never done any acting before and then he finds himself working with one of the best directors in the business.
“We have people on our books of all ages and from all walks of life, and it is free to sign up. What have you got to lose?”
NE1 4.TV also runs its own ‘Ticbox’ courses (Television Industry Courses For All) to prepare people for working on film and TV sets.
To find out more about NE1 4.TV and Ticbox head to www.NE14.TV.com.