AN UP-and-coming actor from South Lakeland is currently starring in the critically-acclaimed movie 1917.

Twenty-three-year-old Elliot Baxter, of Burneside, who now lives in London, described the experience of working on the film as “absolutely phenomenal”.

“It’s the biggest and best set that you get,” he said. “Everything had been built from scratch. We had about 150 people on set at one time.”

1917, currently in cinemas and starring Dean-Charles Chapman and Benedict Cumberbatch, is the simple but powerful story of two soldiers tasked with taking a critical message to a frontline squadron, ordering it to abandon a potentially calamitous attack on the enemy trenches.

And, following auditions in mid-2019, Mr Baxter landed a role in what is quickly becoming a smash-hit, appearing as one of a group of soldiers aboard a lorry which the protagonist (Lance Corporal Will Schofield, played by George MacKay) travels on during the film. Mr Baxter’s character, Private Singer, wishes the brave Lance Corporal luck on his dangerous mission.

Mr Baxter, who attended the Queen Katherine School, Kendal, and Kendal College, said he did two days ‘bootcamp’ training at Salisbury Plain to prepare for the role.

“That was [deactivated] weapons handling, getting into the uniform, talking through the history,” he said.

“I’m a bit of a history buff when it comes to military history anyway. Most of the stuff I have been in has been to do with soldiers or something to do with the war - I must have a look (about me) - so I really enjoyed that.”

Mr Baxter’s previous acting credits include BBC crime drama Silent Witness and the three-part CBBC series Harriet’s Army.

He felt that 1917 had made him a “smarter actor”, however, particularly as he saw first-hand the unique style in which it was filmed - using extended sequences with only one camera. He also got to rub shoulders with star names such as actor Mark Strong and Sam Mendes, who directed the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall.

“Sam was very hands-on. He knew exactly what he wanted. He’d meet us all in the morning. He’d take us through what was going to happen,” he said. “Everyone (was) at the top of their game.”