An actor who got his break in the award-winning TV series Band of Brothers while living in Grantham is now producing and starring in multi-million dollar movies.
Ben Loyd Holmes, 33, has most recently produced and starred in Extinction, a dinosaur adventure film which recently had its premiere in Leicester Square in London.
On the way to his latest success, Ben has enjoyed smaller roles in big budget TV and films opposite the stars. These include the Bond epic Skyfall, opposite Dame Judi Dench, and Torchwood, Spooks and Bones.
Ben moved to Grantham when he was about 12 and spent his weekends here, as he attended school in London. He stayed in the town about ten years before work in the film industry took him to London. He now lives in Wimbledon.
As a teenager mainly in the town he admits he liked to “live it up”. he said: “Yes I have good memories of the town. I made some good friends there and had some great nights out. I remember there being a good atmosphere.”
He studied drama at school, but never went on to study it full-time at drama school like many of his colleagues in the industry have.
He got a lucky break as a teenager when he was given the part of Private McKintosh in Band of Brothers and ended up working for nine months on the shoot.
Later he was due to play a part in the Ridley Scott movie, Black Hawk Down, but production was delayed and he missed out.
The work kept coming and a full-time drama course went by the wayside. Ben said: “I never did a full-time drama course. I have done lots of part-time courses, but a lot of people in this business would say its a real cheatif you haven’t been to drama school. But I think if you have achieved enough credits and made a bit of a name for yourself then it makes no difference.”
As well as acting, Ben is proficient in martial arts, which he learned in Grantham, horse-riding, fencing, scuba diving and boxing. He has been a stunt double but says it’s a dangerous game.
While he is still acting, the production side of the business has taken up more of his time. Producing films independently means raising the cash yourself which is a time-consuming and difficult task. But things are looking up after he secured an eight-picture deal with a distributor. He says he has another creature feature lined up and a movie along the lines of The Hurt Locker.
He is proud of his film Extinction, which he produced and played the role of Professor John Howson. According film website IMDB the movie cost $3,400,000 to make. It was filmed in Mauritius, the South of France and in the UK. The film is out now on DVD and, says Ben, has sold well.
Ben has gained so much rich experience from his time in the business that he now gives talks to students and others and tells them that if they want to get into the business and make it then they can if they work hard.
He says he has enjoyed a lot of luck to get where he is and has worked 20-hour days, but it has been worth it.
He added: “It’s been a hard path and looking back at the last ten years it’s as if I have lived two or three lives to get everything done. But if you want to do something less simple and less orthodox in life then you have to sacrifice a few things.”
Ben now has ambitions to go on to “bigger and more exciting productions”. Watch this space...