Director Danny Boyle’s 28 Years Later seeking serious runners and cyclists as extras

Danny Boyle
(Image credit: Getty Images / Phillip Faraone / Stringer)

Normally when it movie production company says its looking to employ “runners” it’s referring to the lowly paid workers behind the scenes, who do all the tedious and basic tasks that help productions run smoothly. 

But in the case of 28 Years Later – the belated sequel to 28 Days Later (2002) and 28 Weeks Later (2007) – the production is literally looking for runners, as well as cyclists, open water swimmers and other outdoors types – to cast as extras.

28 Years Later – which will be directed by Danny Boyle, who also helmed the first film in the zombie* franchise (Juan Carlos Fresnadillo directed 28 Weeks Later) – will be shooting around Newcastle, Gateshead and Northumbria starting in May. (*Although technically they’re not zombies, as pedantic cineastes will point out – they’re created through a virus and they move too fast.)

Earlier this month a casting call had already gone out for outdoor types including gardeners, farmers, sea fishermen, wild swimmers, mountain climbers and people who might live off-grid.

But now, according to Chroniclelive, the production company’s casting agency Casting Collective has put out a renewed call specifically for "ultra marathon runners; serious cyclists and triathletes" as well as anyone else with “lean strong physiques”.

Olympics 2012 opening ceremony

Danny Boyle also directed the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony (Image credit: Getty Images / Ian MacNicol)

Candy Marlowe, the film team’s second assistant director in charge of crowd scenes, has told Chroniclelive that she is seeking to draw together a whole community of extras to work in the film’s big crowd scenes: "I'm building a community look, so different skills really are an asset.”

The initial casting call-outs, which sought all ethnicities, genders and ages ranging from those with older character faces to children, had an “amazing” response from people in the North East, said a spokeswoman for Casting Collective who added: "We have had lots of excited applicants who are super keen to get involved with this production.”

As well as 28 Days Later, which starred Cillian Murphy, Danny Boyle has directed such films as Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, The Beach, Sunshine and Yesterday, winning an Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire. He was also the creative genius behind the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony.