Watch out on the streets of Eastbourne, and particularly if you’re on a train – a Death Eater has come to town.
Jon Campling made a dramatic appearance in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 when he stopped the Hogwarts Express with simply a menacing look and hand-raise.
At more than 6ft tall with distinctive features and long, straight hair, it is not hard to see why he was picked for the commanding role, and that of a main character in the major gaming franchise Final Fantasy.
Now he has moved to Eastbourne with his wife, Ali.
He said to the Herald, “Why didn’t we do it earlier? I love the end of the line railway station, it reminds me of Hull, where I’m from.
“We love the seafront, it’s so under-developed, the Duke of Devonshire area, Old Town, the pier – it’s all beautiful.
“A lot of people have asked me: ‘Why Eastbourne?” What they mean is they don’t know Eastbourne. It’s a bit of a secret.
“The only thing people know is it’s ‘full of old people’ – it’s an out-dated view, there’s much more to it than that.”
What was it like, being in Harry Potter films? “It was magical. I was treated like a king on set. We went to Scotland, it wasn’t a green screen, and spent two days filming it on an actual train track in November. It was utterly surreal.
“I really did stop the train – they waited for my signal to put on the brakes.
“It was my first day on set – I was terrified, but the trick was not showing it.”
Being part of the worldwide phenomenon has quickly gained Campling a lot of attention, and he’s had some interesting reactions from fans.
He said, “I have freaked some kids out. It’s fascinating the reactions that I get, some fans were unable to speak.”
His scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 involves his character leading a team of Death Eaters – the series’ bad guys – on the wizarding school train.
Campling, 50, said, “It’s very clever writing. It looks like I’m looking for Harry Potter.
“But they are actually looking for Luna Lovegood, it’s foreshadowing when you see her captured later at Malfoy Manor. Not a lot of people know that.”
The Deatheater (as Campling calls his character) meets his demise at Malfoy Manor in Deathly Hallows Part 2, when Voldemort kills a number of unlucky characters in a fit of murderous rage.
Campling is also now recognised globally as the face of a protagonist in the major fantasy gaming franchise Final Fantasy.
His physical performance was motion captured for King Regis in Final Fantasy XV, a character he shared with the voice of Sean Bean.
“They kept all my pores, scars, blemishes – it’s my face, which is freaky,” he said, “And sharing a character with Sean Bean was surreal.
“But I couldn’t be more proud, happy and lucky to be part of this franchise.”
Now Campling is working with Brighton-based troupe the Actors of Dionysis. He will be playing the role of Creon in the Greek tragedy Antigone, something he says he is very excited about.
In his spare time, Jon also likes to visit the Printer’s Play House and raise money for a charity close to his heart.
Last year the actor raised £800 for Invest in ME, a charity that aims to invest in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) research.
Campling, whose wife has the condition, said, “There hasn’t been enough research into it.
“She was a successful actress, but had to give it up.
“I can’t see the point in being a little famous if I can’t raise money for charity.”
He takes a tin along to events and asks for donations for selfies.
For more information about Invest in ME, visit investinme.org
Jon Campling is on Facebook as @JonCamplingActor and a regular Twitter user as @joncampling