From rough sleeper to aspiring film star

Actor James McCabe has suddenly found himself landing several acting roles in British films, despite having no background in the industry. Picture: Ben Davis/Peterborough ET
Actor James McCabe has suddenly found himself landing several acting roles in British films, despite having no background in the industry. Picture: Ben Davis/Peterborough ET
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AN ASPIRING actor who was left sleeping on shop roofs as a teenager is now on the verge of taking the big screen by storm after a picking up a number of leading roles.

In a story that could come from a Hollywood blockbuster, 33-year-old James McCabe has taken the journey from sleeping rough on London’s streets to taking leading roles on the silver screen.

And having won a top award at the Northants Film Festival last year, he has worked with one of Britain’s best known Hollywood actresses.

He said: “I was born in Peterborough, but moved to London when I was a child.

“When I was 16, just a week before I took my GCSEs, I was made homeless, and slept on the streets in London. I even slept on a shop roof for a couple of nights. “Social services managed to find me a space in a tower block, but it was a horrible time. There were a lot of problems there, and it was a struggle to stay out of trouble.

“But I did manage to get my GCSEs and I still had family links to Peterborough, and moved back here the day before my 18th birthday.

He said: “A couple of years ago I had a chance meeting with a film director who offered me the chance to be an extra in a production and from there I just got the acting bug.”

Now after taking up a role as an extra on a couple of projects, Mr McCabe has taken the lead role in a number of feature films.

He said: “I started acting late, only a couple of years ago, but it is going well so far. I had a leading role in Love Is..., which won the 2010 Northants Film Festival, and I was also picked up by Jackie Nicholson Associates, a London agency in Regent Street, one of only two ‘untrained’ actors they have taken on in 18 years.

One of the best roles I have had was in a film called The Black Sight, with Anna Walton, who has starred in Hellboy 2, Mutant Chronicles and Vampire Diary.

“It was a brilliant experience to be able to work with her, because I learnt so much just from watching her work. The film is due out in November, and hopefully it will get a big release.

“I am currently filming a film called The Curious Appearance of Mr Fiddlewitz, which we hope could be on the BBC next Christmas.

“It is a 1930s period thriller. I play Timothy Hallwood, one of the leading characters, who meets Mr Fiddlewitz on Christmas Eve, which then leads to weird and wonderful things happening.

“I have just finished a low budget feature film called Slaughter is the Best Medicine, and looks like it might get a good release in cinemas across the country later in the year.

“It’s a really good script, which involves a group of soldiers being sent into Gallows Wood to search for a missing scientist. My role is one of the three soldiers, and we had a great time filming it in Derbyshire last year.

“I hope that I can go on and continue working in film. It’s a dream to get recognition for a role I have played in a feature film, and hopefully things are going well at the moment.”