Navy photographer’s extra job in Les Mis

Chief Petty Officer Nathan Dua, 43, played the part of convict 363 who is one of hundreds''seen pulling on ropes to bring a galleon into a dock at the start of the film.
Chief Petty Officer Nathan Dua, 43, played the part of convict 363 who is one of hundreds''seen pulling on ropes to bring a galleon into a dock at the start of the film.
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DRESSED in tatty clothes and standing waist-deep in chilly water, Chief Petty Officer Nathan Dua certainly did not experience the glamorous side of Hollywood.

The 43-year-old Royal Navy photographer made his big screen debut this weekend after he was put through his paces as an extra on the set of Les Misérables.

CPO Dua played the part of convict 363, and is one of hundreds seen pulling on ropes alongside Hugh Jackman to bring a galleon into a dock at the start of the film.

He took part in the filming at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard last year when Hollywood came to the city.

CPO Dua said: ‘It’s great to have been part of Les Mis but it was a challenge.

‘At the top of the dry dock it was a beautiful day but standing at the bottom I don’t think I have ever been so cold in my life.

‘It took every ounce of pride I had not to walk off on the second day.

‘They wanted us to look like broken men so they had people shouting things at us from the side.

‘I couldn’t believe how quickly they managed to get us in that frame of mind.

‘The experience was fantastic.’

CPO Dua is the eastern photographic manager for the navy, based at HMS Excellent on Whale Island, and has been in the service for 26 years.

He answered an e-mail asking for extras and after a few auditions, was picked for a part.

Spending two days filming in the dockyard last March, he was dressed as a 19th-century convict, daubed in gruesome make up and quickly put to work in the dock bottom.

‘Having spent 26 years in the Royal Navy, I thought I had experienced some pretty wild storms, but the storm effects generated on the set of Les Mis were by far the wildest,’ added CPO Dua.

‘It was absolutely relentless, by the end of the day we were totally soaked.’

The 43-year-old took his wife Jane, 41, and two daughters Daisy, seven and Jessica, 13, to see the movie at the weekend.

CPO Dua joined the Royal Navy in 1986 and has medals for Bosnia Ground Forces, Kosovo, Air Operations Iraq, Iraq Campaign, Golden Jubilee, Diamond Jubilee and the Long Service Good Conduct.

PORTSMOUTH’S naval dockyard stars in Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables film from the very first scene.

The movie opens with the stunning sight of rain-lashed convicts, including Hugh Jackman’s character Jean Valjean, pulling ropes under the watchful eye of Russell Crowe’s policeman Javert. The scene was filmed in a dry dock at the historic dockyard and features a host of extras drawn from the area.

People queued round the block to get a part in the movie – although most will only be glimpsed on screen in the Oscar-tipped blockbuster for a fraction of a second.