International student is extra in 'Les Misérables'

Ryan Coombes, an international student, had a role as an extra in Les Misérables.
Ryan Coombes, an international student, had a role as an extra in Les Misérables.
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Ryan Coombes, an international student from Great Britain, landed a role as an extra in Tom Hooper’s film, "Les Misérables," which is in theaters now, starring Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman.

“I have a friend who acts as extras in movies,” said Coombes. “I auditioned and they said they would call me back if they had a role for me and I thought that was that. I get a phone call later saying that I got a role as a French soldier.”

Coombes was on the set for two weeks in April and May at two separate locations. A funeral scene was filmed on location at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London, for three days.

“While I was in Greenwich, we had 60-70 soldiers on set,” said Coombes. “I was generally on set for 12 hours a day, but some days shooting went on for 15 hours. I was trained on how to use the muskets, which weighed 10 pounds by themselves and with the bayonet attached was as tall as I am.”

The battle sequences were filmed on a set in Uxbridge, England. Coombes spent the rest of the two weeks there.

“I was one of the soldiers who died,” said Coombes. “I was laying against the barricade, when somebody poured fake blood in my mouth. I had to let it dribble onto my costume, which I’m sure the costume designers weren’t happy about.”

Originally from Essex, England, Coombes is majoring in criminal justice at Grand Valley. He said he hopes to do more professional acting on the side when he returns to England. Coombes had an interest in acting during high school and performed in several plays and wrote a play for a class project.

“I’m studying criminal justice for a career,” said Coombes. “But I did drama back home and this role was opportunistic.”
 

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