A FORMER Forest Green footballer will star alongside Hollywood’s Billy Zane in the upcoming production Waltzing with Brando.
Mike Beckingham, who played for Rovers’ academy and Brimscombe FC, will star alongside Zane, who will play Brando.
Mike, who is the half-brother of actor Simon Pegg, is set to play Bernard Judge in the film, which is set in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Judge was an architect selected by Brando and tasked with building the world’s first ecologically perfect retreat on a tiny uninhabitable island.
The film, based on Judge’s memoir, starts shooting in 2020, and shows how far Mike has come since making his own mock TV shows as a youngster.
“I used to make the mock shows as a presenter to get used to a camera, then I made the side step into acting,” he said.
“I started out in short films and worked my way up.”
Mike, 37, who grew up on a Stroud council estate after being born in Brimscombe, has already starred in films including horror flicks Black Site and Redwood, the latter for which he was nominated for best actor at the National Film Awards alongside the likes of Ewan McGregor and Bill Nighy. Redwood also won best thriller at the awards.
Speaking about landing the role in Waltzing with Brando, Mike said: “It’s been so hard to keep this quiet from family and friends, we’ve actually been in talks for nearly a year.
“I owe all this to Billy, since we first sat down this year we just hit it off and he stuck with wanting me to play this character and now here we are.
“I’m so so grateful to Billy for believing in me.”
And Mike can’t wait to work alongside the acclaimed actor, who featured in the likes of Titanic and Back to the Future.
“It’s going to be an honour to share the screen with Billy,” he said. “When you consider his incredible career thus far and who he’s worked with, I’ll be honest it blows my mind.
“Away from the camera as well he is such an amazing guy and friend. I can’t wait for filming to begin.”
Mike is also eager to act out the 60s era.
“It was a time of change and trying new things, and this story focuses on Brando wanting to do something for the first time but very much in a very Marlon Brando way.”