As a supermarket shelf-stacker, Tayyib Mahmood used to have a licence to fill.
Now the 23-year-old has a licence to kill after landing a dream role on the latest James Bond blockbuster, No Time To Die.
Tayyib, an employee at Asda in Perry Barr, has spent four months working as a studio unit trainee on the Daniel Craig blockbuster, due to be released next April.
Not surprisingly, staff were more shaken than stirred by news that their workmate had landed the 007 job. His parents simply didn’t believe him.
Tayyib, until this summer, a film production technology student at Birmingham City University, admits: “It was the best experience I ever had.
“Everyone on set was friendly and lovely. The first day on set was just insane – I kept on thinking ‘I’m working on the Bond film!’.
“The days were long … 10 hours, 12 hours minimum. But every day something new happened, you never got bored, nothing ever stayed the same.
“But underneath that, it was like clockwork – everyone had their own mechanism and pulled their own weight.”
Tayyib, from Sparkhill, gained the placement through the British Film Institute’s Future Skills initiative, a scheme that helps the next generation of moviemakers ease into the industry.
No Time To Die features scenes shot in Jamaica and Italy, but Tayyib didn’t get to savour the exotic locations. He was based at Pinewood Studios.
“Initially, I didn’t tell Asda,” confesses Tayyib.
“I just said I was working on a film. I just said it was a placement and took a leave of absence.
“My family didn’t believe me at first.”
Tayyib was bitten by the film bug while watching 1991 Schwarzenegger classic Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
He has also been heavily influenced by cult British horror comedy classic Shaun of the Dead.
Since the age of 17, he has made a number of short films, all funded by his Asda wages. The most recent, confusingly titled Untitled, is a cop comedy.
He has worked with influential Birmingham filmakers Sheikh Shahnawaz, Nisaro Karim and Gurjant Singh, and dreams of making his own big screen blockbuster.
“My favourite genre has to be horror,” says Tayyib, “I’m a massive horror fan.
“I’ve always been fascinated by people’s stories and everyone has a story to tell. Telling a story through a moving image is the best way to do it.
“Asian film-makers are not well known in the industry, but they are up and coming. Ethnic minorities have a lot of stories to tell.
“We have so many films about romance and meeting someone, but our films are hard-hitting – youngsters deprived of the opportunity to get far in life, crime…”
Tayyib’s studies at Birmingham City University held him in good stead for the Bond test.
“Studies were very challenging when I began my degree,” he admits, “although I soon realised it was a natural thing to experience when starting a course.
!I overcame my apprehension by just getting my head down and cracking on. The skills I learned on my course were critical to me landing the job on Bond.
“I have accomplished what a lot of people would kill for, working on a Hollywood blockbuster film straight out of university. But I know that others can earn similar accomplishments through their hard work and commitment.
“Birmingham is such a close nit community – everyone in the industry knows everyone else in the industry, so it is not hard to find an actor.”
Tayyib has a message to those who yearn to get behind the camera: “No matter what idea you have, if you have a story to tell, then tell it. There is always a story to be told.”