Expansion plans as NI company makes success of going extra mile

Game Of Thrones provided the highest amount of extra work during 2016 for The Extras Dept
Game Of Thrones provided the highest amount of extra work during 2016 for The Extras Dept

An extras agency which has provided work for local actors in Game Of Thrones, The Fall and Line Of Duty, has made a number of key announcements to celebrate 10 years in business.

Having set up a record-breaking 20,167 days of work for TV and film extras in the Province in 2016, Extras NI will relaunch as The Extras Dept and will branch out into the Republic of Ireland market via a new Dublin office.

The leading ladies of The Extras Dept, Siobhan Allan, Carla Stronge and Emma Sweeney

The leading ladies of The Extras Dept, Siobhan Allan, Carla Stronge and Emma Sweeney

Work for extras in Northern Ireland has increased by 55% in the past two years and last year its extras earned £1.9million.

The highest extras numbers were courtesy of Game Of Thrones, followed by Lost City Of Z – due to be released in spring 2017 – and BBC police drama Line Of Duty.

The Extras Dept, which has over 17,000 registered extras aged from two to 90, was co-founded by three female entrepreneurs. Alongside Londonderry’s Siobhan Allan are two east Belfast women – Carla Stronge, a two-time Emmy winner for her casting work on Game Of Thrones, and Emma Sweeney, who will oversee the new Dublin office.

Carla said: “The screen industries in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have grown significantly in recent years, and The Extras Dept has mirrored this growth as it has sought to meet the industry’s evolving needs.

James Edlin, 38, from Carrickfergus, was bumped up to a cast role on Line of Duty when the director realised his potential

James Edlin, 38, from Carrickfergus, was bumped up to a cast role on Line of Duty when the director realised his potential

“TV and film sets are far from glamorous. The days are long and it can be demanding.

“However, every day is different and you certainly won’t ever watch a film or TV programme the same way after spending a day on set.”

Chloe Finlay, 19, from Victoria Bridge in Co Tyrone, took the title of most worked extra for 2016. She was involved in Game Of Thrones, Zoo, Paula, Line Of Duty, Let It Ride and The Fall.

James Edlin, 38, from Carrickfergus, was bumped up to a cast role on Line Of Duty when the director realised his potential.

Terri Hooley biopic Good Vibrations provided a lot of opportunities for extras in Northern Ireland

Terri Hooley biopic Good Vibrations provided a lot of opportunities for extras in Northern Ireland

Laurence Doherty, 46, from Greenisland has been with the agency for 10 years and has been cast in around 25 films and 40 TV programmes.

Game Of Thrones creators David Benioff & DB Weiss said The Extras Dept has been an integral part of the HBO show.

They said: “Wildlings, Northmen, Lannisters, Dothraki and Unsullied – we’ve populated our mythic lands with hard-working men, women and children who get up earlier than everyone else, enduring foul weather, filthy costumes, and grumpy Americans.”

Al Cubitt, creator, writer and director of The Fall, said of the company: “They have been responsible for finding principal local cast members together with superb continuity extras and supporting day players. I couldn’t have made the show in the way I did without their local knowledge and support.”

Yesterday over 200 extras from The Extra Dept gave blood at Crumlin Road Gaol to symbolise the blood, sweat and tears that went in to building the company and also to rebalance the blood that has been spilled in the countless film and television programmes they have provided extras for.