Hundreds queue for film audition

Hundreds of people queued in a Norfolk town for the chance to play an extra in a Hollywood movie starring Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes.

The Duchess is a chronicle of the life of 18th Century aristocrat Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire.

A casting session for extras was held at Fakenham Methodist Church but so many people attended the doors had to be closed after two hours on Saturday.

Filming begins at Holkham Hall, near Wells, on 28 October.

Knightley, who recently starred in Atonement, will take the title role, playing opposite Ipswich-born Ralph Fiennes as her husband. Veteran British actress Charlotte Rampling is also among the cast.

Georgiana, an ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales, was a socialite at the centre of a circle of leading political and literary figures.

Extravagant lifestyle

But she was also notorious for her extravagant lifestyle and infamous for her marital arrangements – her best friend becoming the Duke’s mistress.

The film, by Pathe, is being directed by former University of East Anglia student Saul Dibb, and Jeffrey Hatcher has written the screenplay. The film is based on the bestselling book Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, by Amanda Foreman.

Other dramas filmed on the Holkham Estate include All the King’s Men, starring David Jason, The Lost Prince and the television series Kingdom, starring Stephen Fry.

Copyright© 2007 BBC