Great-grandfather, 76, who took up acting to cope with grief after losing his wife of 52 years to Covid stars as an extra in George Clooney’s new film The Boys in the Boat
- Clooney’s film The Boys in the Boat stars Joel Edgerton and Callum Turner
A great-grandfather who took up acting after the death of his wife of 52 years to cope with his grief is to appear as an extra in Hollywood legend George Clooney’s new film The Boys in the Boat.
John Hunt, 76, of Dunstable, Bedfordshire, embarked on a ‘new life’ with the help of his daughter after his wife became one of the first people to die of Covid in March 2020.
After his daughter Jo noticed he was struggling to cope with his grief, she helped him give the world of film a try.
‘She wanted to keep me busy. I’d been going through a tough period,’ Mr Hunt told the Times.
But appearing on his first set and only being told the film was set in the 1930s, the retired insurance worker was left staggered to discover the the film was being directed by George Clooney – the same actor his wife Doreen had been such a huge fan of.
John Hunt, 76, of Dunstable, Bedfordshire, embarked on a ‘new life’ with the help of his daughter after his wife became one of the first people to die of Covid in March 2020
George Clooney pictured at the London premier of The Boys in the Boat on December 3
‘She knew a good-looking man when she saw one,’ Mr Hunt said.
Mr Hunt said Clooney was ‘the most generous man’ who was ‘very friendly’ and ‘well spoken’.
Clooney even gave him some tips as he played a celebrating fan at the end of a boat race – The Boys in the Boat follows the journey of the University of Washington rowing team, who won gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
The film stars Joel Edgerton and Callum Turner, and is due for release in the UK on January 12.
Mr Hunt says his wife would be thrilled to know about his new career.
‘She was more than a rock, she was my life,’ he said. ‘You enjoy anything and you feel guilty, you laugh about something, you feel guilty that she’s not there to laugh with you.’
Speaking on Good Morning Britain on Monday, he said: ‘I still get grief every day actually.
‘But I read a book by Tom Black, he lost his wife at a similar time to me and in an interview he said the grief used to be all day and now it’s only five minutes each day and it gradually lessons.
Mr Hunt told GMB this morning that he still experiences grief every day
Mr Hunt’s wife Doreen was a huge George Clooney fan so would have been ‘thrilled’, he said
The couple first met as teenagers before starting their own business together
Mr Hunt’s wife Doreen was a huge George Clooney fan – leaving him gobsmacked when he learned who was directing the film
‘But I want to make a new life, I want to go forward. I want to be a writer, that’s what I’m doing. I’m non-stop writing now, I can’t stop writing. I moved forward. But I’ll never forget Doreen because she’s in there [in my heart].’
READ MORE: George Clooney chivalrously holds an umbrella for wife Amal as she stuns in a chic black outfit at a screening of his movie The Boys In The Boat in London
The couple first met as teenagers before starting their own business together.
Later in life they had embarked on a plan to travel the world and go ballroom dancing in iconic ballrooms, until it was tragically cut short by the pandemic.
They had already ticked off Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom and the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria.
Since Doreen’s death, Mr Hunt has written a memoir about his marriage, three novels and joined the University of the Third Age, a voluntary group for later-in-life learning.
He has also appeared in a second film – but is currently ‘sworn to secrecy’ about it until the movie is out.
Writing on Facebook about his experience, Mr Hunt said: ‘On my first day of filming, I was in a crowd (right at the front, had to push a few ladies to the back).
‘We were in a grandstand, the assistant director was telling us that we had to imagine that we were watching a boat race on a river. He told us that the director would give us more detail of what he required in a few minutes.
‘Then the director appeared, and stood right in front of me, George Clooney, yes girls, the man himself, there’s nothing like starting at the top, I thought to myself.
‘I enjoyed two further days in the company of George and many wonderful actors. It was a privilege and a pleasure to be there.’
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