Barry Actor to Dazzle in Disney Epic

Barry & District News, 17 December 2014
By Sharon Harris

A Barry actor is set for Hollywood fame after a movie-making legend declared he should ‘go to the ball’.

Former St Richard Gwyn RC pupil Gareth Mason, who hails from Highlight Park, clinched a part in Disney’s 2015 spring-time blockbuster 'Cinderella' when its director Sir Kenneth Branagh tipped him for the job.

32-year-old James Corden lookalike Gareth, who first delighted Graham Norton Show viewers in 2009, when he danced to the James Bond theme, will play the Goose Footman. The movie’s YouTube trailer, in which he features, has already secured 4.2 million views in 24 hours with Facebook views totalling another 33 million.

The live action version will see 'Downton Abbey''s Lily James in the title role with 'Game of Thrones' Richard Madden acting as Prince Charming. Cate Blanchett stars as the Wicked Stepmother and Helena Bonham Carter wafts her wand as the Fairy Godmother.

Gareth began entertaining when he joined Anwen Little Theatre as a youngster, and was snapped up by Franco Zeffirelli to play Cicciolina in 'Pagliacci' at The Royal Opera House in London. Gareth, who was comic Matt Lucas’s body double in the Pet Shop Boys video 'I’m With Stupid' and had a role in the Pot Noodle adverts, said his friend Tony Award nominated Tom Edden was asked to cast as the Lizard Footman and the casting director mentioned the Goose footman had not been found.

Gareth said: “She mentioned she was looking for a chubby funny man, and Tom mentioned me. My agent called me saying that I was asked in for the casting. I was very nervous as I knew it was Disney and knew some of the A-list actors already involved. I cannot remember what I did as castings can be a bit of a blur when you give it your all.”

The reel was sent to Disney and director Sir Kenneth Branagh.

Gareth said: “A few days passed and I really thought it was dead in the water. A phone call came around a week later and my agent said they would like to see you again so I was over the moon.

“She said it would be with the director. I paused and thought ‘surely I won’t be doing the casting with Kenneth Branagh?’ She then said ‘yes you are.’ Even more nerve wracking, she said ‘the casting is at BAFTA’. This was just unreal. I had to contain myself and the casting was the next day.

"I went to the casting and met the man himself in a huge room. It was an honour, but I couldn’t believe how down to earth and passionate he is.

“He asked me to walk around the room and would shout out various emotions and physicalities to do. I really had to think on the spot very quickly. There was a lot of laughter and it was such a comfortable environment after about two minutes and it felt you were just having a laugh and fun with a long-standing friend."

"48 hours passed and I obviously did not get hardly any sleep. The reel was sent to Disney America again and then I had a call and saw my agents name come up on my phone and my heart sunk.

“She said: “I have two things to tell you. You just got the part of Orderly in 'A Young Doctors Notebook'” so I was thrilled at that, “You’re also going to be in a mega Disney movie.” I then burst out crying and screamed and screamed and screamed. It literally was a dream come true!”

Night shoots began in September and the following months consisted of costume fittings and face and body casts. Preparations took four hours with filming through to 7am.

Gareth said: “The first day we did the transformation scene. It was the first time I met Helena Bonham Carter whose first words to me were ‘You have amazing calves’.

“What do you say in response to a worldwide megastar that says that to you? Filming with her was an absolute joy. She is a true pro and knows her craft to a tee. I was inspired. We had a lot of interaction with each other and she gave me tips on how to get rid of sweat that builds up under prosthetics - a conversation I never thought I would have when first meeting someone like her. After day one all she called me was Goosey and we had fun all the way.

“It was incredible. Kenneth wanted to experiment with me having a few lines here and there. When I went back to film some voice over stuff this year, some of it has made the cut which I am thrilled about. I am over the moon I made the trailer. You get to see me twice in it during the iconic scenes from the original cartoon film."

"The film premieres in America in March and the UK in April. I will be taking my five-year-old nephew down the red carpet in London, which will be a memory we can both share forever.”

Gareth has since filmed the role of Orderly in 'A Young Doctors Notebook' starring Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm for SKY. He has filmed, back in Wales, the role of Emlyn Llewellyn in 'Stella' due for release in early 2015.

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