Christopher Eccleston Turns Down Role in Billy Elliot’s ‘Offensive’

Christopher Eccleston claims he turned down the chance to appear in the Billy Elliot film because he found the initial script “offensive”.

In the past, the former Doctor Who star has spoken candidly about his working class upbringing, and lamented the difficulties faced by people from a similar background when wanting to enter the entertainment industry.

During a new interview with The Independent, Christopher shared how his parents have supported him in pursuing a career in acting, admitting that he was “tired of seeing working class parents portrayed as being so against their children going into the arts”.

Calling Billy Elliot “the ballet film that everyone went crazy for”, he added: “I was offered a meeting to play the father. But I said I wouldn’t do that, it was offensive.”

Julie Walters and Billy Elliot received praise for their performances in Billy ElliotJulie Walters and Billy Elliot received praise for their performances in Billy Elliot

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In Billy Elliot, the main character’s father takes issue when he finds out that his son is secretly attending ballet classes, not boxing training.

Christopher noted that he felt the film represented “a middle-class view of the working-class experience, made for the American market.”

“Damn it!” he concluded.

Gary Lewis ultimately landed the role of Jackie Elliot in the film, which also starred Jamie Bell and Julie Walters, the latter earning an Oscar nomination for her performance.

Jamie Bell and Gary Lewis in Billy ElliotJamie Bell and Gary Lewis in Billy Elliot

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Both Jamie and Julie received Baftas for their performances in Billy Eliot, while Gary Lewis received a Bafta nomination.

In the same interview, Christopher shared one of his more unsettling experiences on set, when a female A-lister falsely implied that he had “cheated feelings” while they were filming a sex scene.

“I have never felt more betrayed by a fellow actor than that day,” he recalls.

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