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University of Salford graduates star in new blockbuster

Apr 09, 2009

Jim Sturgess and Sir Ben Kingsley in the new film.
University of Salford graduates Sir Ben Kingsley and Jim Sturgess take the leading roles in a new film, Fifty Dead Men Walking, which opens nationwide this week.

Jim, who graduated with an HND in Media and Performance in 1999, plays an IRA informant, whose relationship with his English handler, played by Sir Ben, forms an integral part of the plot.

Sir Ben graduated as an associate of the Royal Technical College Salford which later became the University in 1964 and received an honorary degree in 1981. He has since starred in such films as Gandhi and Sexy Beast.

Fifty Dead Men Walking is based on the true story of 1980s IRA member Martin McGartland, recruited by British Special Branch to provide inside information.

To learn his role, Jim, who has also starred alongside Sean Penn, Natalie Portman and Kevin Spacey, joined a working class gym in Belfast and stayed in the Northern Irish accent from the moment he touched down in the country until the end of the shoot, even fooling the locals.

The Head of Performance at Salford, Denise Vernon said: "Having two of our graduates star together in a major film like this is really pleasing for everyone associated with our courses.

"It will be a real lift for our students, and give them an idea of what they can achieve if they work hard."

Fifty Dead Men Walking opens across the UK on Friday