AT 7ft 7in, gentle giant Neil Fingleton has made it into the record books as Britain’s tallest living person.
Now the 26-year-old from Gilesgate, County Durham, will become a star of the silver screen if his acting work pays off.
Having moved to the US 10 years ago to play basketball after scoring a scholarship as a teenager, he now has his sights set on Hollywood.
Next week Mr Fingleton, who spends time between home in Boston, Massachusetts, and Wilson Crescent where his mother Christine, 52, lives, will appear in ITV1 documentary Superhuman Giants next week, which features some of the world’s tallest people.
Last March, he took the crown from 63-year-old Chris Greener as Britain’s Tallest Living Man.
“To be the tallest is like a special gift, it’s unique,” he said. “I’ve never had any problems with my height. The thing people have to understand is being exceptionally tall is not a disease – it’s just a genetic thing.”
Mr Fingleton’s brother Michael, 28, is 6ft 9ins and his sister Keely measures up at 6ft 3ins. “I do eat a lot – about three big meals a day – but I must admit I do miss my Mam’s cooking when I’m working away. They always say there’s no place like home,” he said.
“It does take me between 20 and 25 pints to get drunk. I just wish it took me about three because I would end up saving a lot of money on nights out.”
Mr Fingleton, who has size 14 feet and weighs about 19 stone, went to the US hoping to become the next Michael Jordan, but suffered a series of injuries which kept him off court. At present he lives in Boston with 5ft 10in girlfriend Rebecca Bristol, 26, but plans to move to Los Angeles if his visa application is successful. He said: “She seems to like it – she says she has always liked tall men and I’m probably the tallest one she will find.”
Now he is hoping to use his new-found fame in the world of sci-fi and action on the big screen and has already filmed a number of commercials.
He has also received tips from his James Bond hero Richard Kiel, who starred as Jaws and offered him some sound advice on landing a part.
“I understand that people like me are not going to be cast as doctors,” he said. “I’m not really bothered as long as I get a good role, so I’m quite open to a lot of things – maybe something in sci-fi, maybe comedy or maybe as a villain in an action movie. Who knows, I might get to play Jaws’ son in the next James Bond.”
Superhuman Giants is on Tuesday at 9pm on ITV1