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  M.   September 24, 2009

James Bond star Gemma Arterton is filming scenes in west Dorset for a new Hollywood blockbuster.

The actress, who starred alongside Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace as Bond girl Strawberry Fields, is taking the title role in a modern retelling of Thomas Hardy’s novel Far From the Madding Crowd.

Posy Simmonds’ illustrated novel Tamara Drewe, which was serialised in a Guardian cartoon strip, is being adapted for the silver screen with celebrated director Stephen Frears at the helm.

Dominic Cooper who starred in the film Mamma Mia! is also involved.

Two lucky teenagers from west Dorset have also been handpicked to be in the film.

Jamie Isaacs from Beaminster and Sage Beckingham from Mapperton are already on set after their successful audition two weeks ago.

The two 16-year-olds were chosen after Pinewood Studios contacted Lyme Lights Theatre School during casting. Stephen Frears picked them after watching a video of their audition.

It has not yet been decided which parts the teenagers will play but they are likely to be speaking parts, according to Reg Gibbs, one of the directors of Lyme Lights.

Mr Gibbs said: “It is very exciting for the boys and for the theatre school.

“Hopefully it could be a big step so good luck to them.”

Jamie took roles in productions by local amateur dramatic companies before studying at Stagecoach. He performed in operas in the Bournemouth area and appeared in BBC productions.

He said: “I feel very alive on stage – it is a great buzz and the enjoyment you get from it is beyond words.”

Jamie added: “I am partly nervous working with these famous people but it is a phenomenal experience. Even if work doesn’t come from this it is such an experience.

“Just being able to sit down at at lunch and see Gemma Arterton and Stephen Frears wandering about and being chauffeured about is wonderful.”

Beaminster School Year 11 student Sage Beckingham started his acting career in a village pantomime.

He said: “My teacher at Beaminster, Valerie Godwin, has been an inspiration and since I have been at the school I have done more acting.

“But I am quite academic, so I am also thinking about law but doing this film now makes me think I would really enjoy acting.

“Gemma’s been around the place and it’s pretty good to see a Bond girl every day.”