A FORMER paratrooper from Witney who has worked with film stars such as Brad Pitt and Matt Damon is recruiting locals for his next venture.

Paul Biddiss is preparing to audition about 2,000 men to film scenes from the Battle of Waterloo for an upcoming TV production which he says will star 'big names' and be filmed in a variety of locations, including Oxfordshire.

The 48-year-old became a military advisor for the film industry following 24 years with the Parachute Regiment’s 3rd Batallion, when he was stationed at RAF Brize Norton.

He said: "It's a really great opportunity for young men between the ages of 17 and 35 to get their face on the screen among a pretty great cast.

"Not only will they get the chance to go in front of a camera, but they will actually be trained on the Napoleonic Drill of 1815, so they will be shown how to use a musket and all of the formations.

"They will be going on a full paid five-day bootcamp before going straight into filming on October 7.

"This could mean that a lot more doors are opened up for them in the industry because I always remember the people I hire and I've got even more films lined up that I'd like to use them for."

The Northern Ireland and Kosovo veteran also worked on the hit BBC mini-series War and Peace where, with the help of a translator, he trained Lithuanians to act like French and Russian soldiers.

For the new production the open casting will be held tomorrow from 2.30 to 7.30pm and Saturday from 11.30 to 3.30pm at the Millennium Madejski Hotel in Reading, Berkshire.

Applicants need to be over 16, eligible for work in the UK and have photo ID.

Mr Biddiss said: "We're expecting about 2,000 people to audition and I can only hire 300 of them.

"The thing that would make people stand out, and get more screen time, is if they have can play the drums, the bugle or the fife – the younger they are the better.

"We will have the instruments available during the audition so we can really get a feel for what types of characters the auditionees could play."

Other locations in which filming will take place include Reading, Swindon and Berkshire.

All auditionees must be available to work all dates between October 7 and 11.