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An Irish woman who got a job dancing on the John Lewis ad revealed how secretive filming was

She had no idea what she was even auditioning for.

UNLESS YOU ARE deliberately trying to avoid Christmas content at all costs, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve seen the new John Lewis ad (which some people have dubbed the advertisement for Elton John’s farewell tour).

Christmassy or not, it’s still kind of sweet. 

Source: John Lewis & Partners/YouTube

It features hundreds of dancers and actors playing characters in various stages of Elton John’s life, and one of them got in touch with a Cork radio station this morning to talk about how she landed the gig and what it was like working on a John Lewis Christmas ad. 

Molly Ward from Mallow in Cork had a chat with C103′s Cork Today show, where she told Patricia Messinger that she actually had no idea what she was auditioning for back in the summer, when John Lewis began hiring dancers for the advertisement. 

It was filmed during the summer, it was the end of August we filmed. It was actually quite strange filming a Christmas-themed ad in the middle of summer. It was a process of auditions – my agent sent me to an audition – and I didn’t know what it was for, I didn’t know what it was for. They called it ‘Project X’, they kept it very secret. It wasn’t until I actually got the job that I knew what it was for. It wasn’t until we got the contract. 

At the auditions, Molly was asked to perform some freestyle 1960s dancing and a bit of acting improv in front of a camera and a casting director. She later realised why she was asked to do this, because she plays an extra watching Elton John play piano at a pub in the 1960s. 

Molly Ward 1 That's Molly beside the piano.

Molly was a fan of the costume, telling Patricia that it reminded her of her nana. 

They had a great team of hair and makeup there on the day, I was saying to them, “I’d love to be able to do my hair like this myself, but I dunno if I’d be getting some looks.” It was gorgeous, I loved it. 

At this stage of filming, the producers kept their lips sealed. They didn’t reveal the storyline of the advertisement to anybody involved.

It was very secretive. They put stickers over our cameras on our phones. We had to sign confidentiality wavers. They didn’t mention anything about Elton John but I put two and two together – the guy beside me was a young boy from Scotland and he was an amazing pianist and he looked so much like Elton John with the prosthetics and the way they dressed him, it was very obvious it was going to be about Elton John. 

Molly Ward 2

Molly wasn’t lucky enough to meet Elton John, but she was pretty pleased to have her name attached to something he was involved with and her family were over the moon too. 

They had seven days of filming for this ad and I was only in one day, I wasn’t even sure if I would be seen. It’s just been amazing, really. 

You can hear Molly’s entire interview here

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About the author:

Kelly Earley

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