7:00pm Saturday 14th April 2012
By Ben Wilkinson
TWO weeks ago aspiring actor Toby Sebastian was offered his dream job as lead role in a new American film.
But on Tuesday the dream was shattered when his application for a work visa was blocked.
Filming for the low-budget thriller Backgammon was due to start in Maine next month, but the US officials have ruled the 20-year-old actor was not well-known enough to work there.
Mr Sebastian had secured the part of college student Lucian after four trips to Los Angeles for auditions and months of working on his American accent.
The Farmoor resident, who is also a musician, last night said he had been delighted when he was told he had the job and he would not yet give up hope.
He said: “It was probably one of the happiest, if the not the happiest day of my life.
“It’s a dream role for me. I loved the script.
“I have been living this character for the past few weeks.”
And he hit out at the US government decision and said it was not fair to new actors trying to start out.
He said: “I felt very sad but was angry. I was speechless.It’s crazy when I’ve been told I’m the right guy for this role and all the team want me.
“I care so much about this and I’m not ready to let go.
“I’m now trying to reach anyone that can help me out.”
Mr Sebastian, whose father is Oxford restaurateur Clinton Pugh, said he was prepared to work for free to have the part.
He said: “The money is the last thing I’m thinking about, the main thing is the role.”
In June last year he landed a supporting role in US film The Philosophers but filming took place in Indonesia during the summer, so no visa was required.
The former pupil of Cokethorpe School near Witney was awarded a drama and music scholarship at the school aged 11.
He won the school’s drama award aged 15 and was presented the trophy by Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron.
At 16 he beat 11,000 contestants to reach the top four of Channel 4’s music talent contest Orange Unsigned Act.
Joanne Joria, a spokesman for the US Embassy in London, said: “We cannot comment on individual cases.”
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