Director and actress Alexandra is aiming to film Widow’s Walk in Suffolk
Film director Alexandra Boyd and her `love letter to Suffolk’
Beautiful Suffolk has often been chosen for filming locations for movies and television – from Lovejoy and Agatha Christie’s Poirot mysteries to Eyes Wide Shut.
But there are few films that have been completely shot in the county.
Film director and actress Alexandra Boyd wants to change that. She has everything in place to film a ghostly love story, Widow’s Walk, with a location on the Suffolk coast.
Alexandra, with her roots firmly in the county, has had an astonishing career: from the Edinburgh fringe to Hollywood blockbusters like Titanic. Back here, she had six months as fiery bookie’s wife Clarissa Mason in Coronation Street.
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Now, with her own company, newthirtypictures.com, she is planning her feature film debut with Widow’s Walk.
Alexandra says there is a dearth of female film directors in Hollywood and in the movie world in general. So now she is raising her own finance, and seeking investors in the film, in her native Suffolk.
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She has been talking to individuals and speaking to local companies about becoming involved, perhaps with product placement as an option.
“It is a really exciting time,” she said. “When it is produced, this will be seen around the world.
“It is my love letter to Suffolk.
“We shot a two-minute teaser in November which was premiered at an investor event, held in Ipswich in May.
“We are inviting private equity investment and inviting local individuals and businesses, interested in becoming part of a film about their county, to support this very East Anglian project.”
I met up with Alexandra in the Applaud coffee house in St Peter’s Street, Ipswich, to talk about this project.
We spoke about the film process (it can take years to get one together), the script and the actors, the expert crew and technicians, the soundtrack and the title or credits song (and they are often hits in their own right). Her enthusiasm and ideas come bubbling out.
This is a busy woman who is used to getting things done.
Widow’s Walk is a ghost story set in Suffolk.
I won’t say more, so as not to give the plot away.
It does link the present with the past, though and Suffolk’s military links.
Alexandra said: “I was looking for a single-location, five-person, high-value production. And I looked for a beach house and found it.
“We filmed the two-minute teaser in November.
“It is about the beauty and the history of the county.
“It is my loving tribute to Suffolk – my love letter.
“We are looking for it to be a proper East Anglian film where local businesses might like to promote their products and get involved in something like this – perhaps people who have never been involved in films before.
“It is a ghost story and a love story. It is a really good script; people love it.
“November was great. It was wonderful, with the wind and the rain, while we were filming.”
Her own story
Alexandra’s own life story reads like a film script.
She attended Norwich High School and then went to Laine Arts Theatre School, where she trained as a dancer.
By the time she graduated mum, Barbara Boyd was living in Suffolk (she now runs Hadleigh Thrift Shop).
Alexandra trained as an actress at Drama Studio London and formed her own theatre company, and played the Edinburgh fringe and toured Italy.
In between times she taught dance, sometimes in Ipswich.
She married an American pilot stationed at RAF Woodbridge.
“I was a GI bride, though my husband said I was an officer’s wife. They were still over-sexed, overpaid and over here’ back in the Eighties.
“I loved living in Woodbridge. I had just graduated from drama school but I never got to do the job here. I left home and I left England.”
She lived in the USA, in Florida, New York City, Seattle, Portland and LA (Los Angeles), working as an actress and doing voice-over work too.
Her feature films include Titanic, Mr Holland’s Opus and From Paris With Love.
After her marriage ended she returned to this country, in 2006, to pick up her acting career here.
She has had many television appearances and in 2008 played the bookie’s wife, Clarissa Mason, in Coronation Street.
“It was a fabulous job in Coronation Street. Clarissa got in a few upper and downers with Liz McDonald (acress Beverly Callard).
“Clarissa - she was a bit of a bossy character.
“I did it for six months. It was a great experience, I really loved it. It was my little bit of fame.”
In 2014 she started her own film production company, New Thirty, to put together film projects.
Widow’s Walk has come from this.
She is hoping it will be the first of many feature films.