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Celebrity couple's love for Suffolk

09:00 01 October 2004

FILM director Matthew Vaughn has told of the love he and his supermodel wife Claudia Schiffer hold for Suffolk.

On the eve of the launch of his directorial debut, Vaughn, 33, revealed how the celebrity couple chose the county for their home and now plan to ditch the London lifestyle and live in their Suffolk mansion in Stanningfield, near Bury St Edmunds, full-time.
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FILM director Matthew Vaughn has told of the love he and his supermodel wife Claudia Schiffer hold for Suffolk.

On the eve of the launch of his directorial debut, Vaughn, 33, revealed how the celebrity couple chose the county for their home and now plan to ditch the London lifestyle and live in their Suffolk mansion in Stanningfield, near Bury St Edmunds, full-time.

He said: "I knew Suffolk well before we moved here. We did all the rounds of Hampshire, Gloucestershire and so on, but we really love Suffolk – it still has a real feeling about it as it's not just full of commuters.

"We really feel at home here and plan to commute to London just when we have to."

Vaugham, who produced hit British gangster flicks Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, sees his first project as a director, Layer Cake, open at cinemas today.

The film is set to propel him further into the spotlight but with a young son, Casper, and another baby on the way, Vaughan and his German wife are craving the peace and quiet of the Suffolk countryside.

"It's very unspoilt – I really hate road noise. When I'm in the country, I just want to hear nature, nothing else," he explained.

The couple purchased the £5 million mansion Coldham Hall, near Bury St Edmunds, before their wedding in 2002, and while the couple have not taken an active part in local life, that could be about to change.

Vaughn has expressed an interest in becoming involved with the Conservative Party, and while he has said he harbours no ambitions to become an MP, he could add a touch of glamour to St Edmundsbury Borough Council, should he choose a role in grass roots politics.

He will find a kindred spirit in near neighbour David Hart, a former adviser to Mrs Thatcher, who used to own Coldham Hall and now resides a short distance away at Chadacre Hall.

During their tenure in the county, the Vaughn family have encountered a taste of unwanted publicity as Claudia has twice been plagued by stalkers, and some local residents fear the couple may want to close a public footpath which runs within metres of their home.

But for the moment Vaughn is caught up in the publicity circus surrounding his new film, a return to the familiar territory of the London underworld.

Unlike his previous works, made with business partner Guy Ritchie, who is married to pop legend Madonna, Layer Cake is far more serious affair, shedding the comic book violence of earlier efforts in favour of a more realistic portrayal of gangland.

"We felt that gangster movies had had their day, but no one had seized the crown of doing the new, real Get Carter or Heat or Long Good Friday, a proper movie."

Besides Vaughn's own high-profile other half, Layer Cake's cast list reads like a Who's Who of celebrity partners including Sienna Miller, currently stepping out with Jude Law, and Daniel Craig, who has recently been squiring Kate Moss, but also includes more established talents such as screen veteran Michael Gambon.

Indeed some critics have labelled Layer Cake, which tells the tale of a cocaine dealer attempting to broker one last deal before he retires from the game, as a more "grown-up" film, albeit a brutal one.

But while its subject is a far cry from his real life, such apparent maturity at work would seem to fit with the domestic rural idyll he is establishing in Suffolk, particularly with a new addition to the family to help complete the picture. The couple's second child is due in November.

Reflecting on the imminent arrival of a sibling for his son Casper, born last year, Vaughn comments: "We're really looking forward to it, we're ready. Sure life is frantic at the moment but we can't complain."

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