|© Guy Webster|
|© Guy Webster|
Gracing this year’s IFS Film Festival in all her splendour, the gorgeous Alexandra Bard is turning heads as one of the stars of indie drama “The Meanest Man In Texas”. I’m blessed to be able to get this interview with her as she talks about her experiences working on the film and juicy titbits on screen-related endeavours.
1. Tell us more about your character on “The Meanest Man In Texas” and why were you attracted to the role.
I play the role of Julia Perryman in the film which is based on a true story. Julia grew up during the depression in Texas and suffered from very severe untreated scoliosis. As a result, her spine became deformed which drastically effected her health and personal life. Julia overcame these challenges and went on to have an amazing career. She is most famous for her marriage to Clyde Thompson, also known as “The Meanest Man In Texas”. Julia and Clyde began corresponding through letters when he was in prison serving the three life sentences for murder. Julia spent over a decade petitioning for Clyde’s release from prison and as a result of her efforts, Clyde was given a full pardon by the state of Texas and released in 1955. Artistically, this role was a dream job. I couldn’t believe that the script was based on a true story. As soon as I read the character description that my agent sent me, I felt an immediate connection to the role. At heart I am a ‘character actress’ and in the film I portray Julia over a 20 year period. This presented a very interesting challenge for me. Julia was a remarkable woman who continues to inspire me and it was an honor to have the opportunity to play her in a film.
2. What were your most memorable moments being on The Meanest Man In Texas”?
The entire experience on set was amazing and memorable. I feel so privileged to have worked with this cast and crew. I shot my performances in three days, two of these days the heat reached 116 degrees. While filming, we only had the opportunity for one or two takes per scene. What I find most remarkable about this shoot is that I was never stressed because the crew was fantastic. We had the most wonderful time on set and that atmosphere was created by our director Justin Ward. I will always remember the energy on this film. People were inspired, excited and willing to work hard simply because Clyde and Julia’s story is amazing. Whilst we were filming there were inmates in Tennessee praying for the success of our production. That creates a very special environment to work in.
|© Joshua Shultz for Bellus Magazine|
3. How do you see female roles evolving in the arena of indie cinema and what would you like to see more of?
I am happy to see more protagonist roles emerging for women in independent film. It feels like for the first time in years there is room in Hollywood for women to lead a production and the quality of roles being cast is inspiring. Perhaps this is in response to the growing awareness of women working in film not being given equal pay or opportunity. While there is still a problem, I am grateful to see some change. I would like to see more productions willing to take risks on unknown talent if they are the best choice artistically for the role. This business can be quite political when it comes to casting and too often the best actor does not get the job. I see this happen more in independent film than anywhere else in the industry and particularly amongst my female colleagues. It would be great if more film producers were willing to support an unknown actress that is right for the job, by developing business plans that support this structure, or by surrounding an unknown with star names to ensure a films’ success. Too often actors are cast because they have a couple more credits. Without producers willing to take a risk Gabourey Sidibe would never have been nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Precious. Every now and then you see scenarios like this unfolding, but it is not often enough.
|© Guy Webster|
4. You’ve enchanted audiences in an array of genres. Which genre stirs you the most and why?
Thank you so much. Yes, I’ve been very fortunate. I am not drawn to one specific genre. It is always about the script, the character and the director for me. That’s what I look at when signing on to a production. However if I had to select one, it would be Shakespeare, which I feel belongs in a genre of its own. Shakespearean characters are timeless and the issues explored within his work are as relevant today as they were during the 1500s/1600s. I’ve always been attracted to work that can transport me from reality and ignite my imagination, whilst still conveying an important message. Shakespeare accomplishes this through language and his fantastical worlds, yet he never fails to make an enlightened statement about human nature and society. I’m a true nerd at heart and could speak about this for days! I began studying Shakespeare when I was 12 years old. He’s the reason I fell in love with acting.
5. Please give us a tease of your upcoming projects.
I have two productions being released this year aside from The Meanest Man in Texas. My movie Pale Horse directed by Pearry Teo is coming out and I also just finished shooting my first web series called States of Horror which has an American Horror Story vibe to it. Working on that series fulfilled an acting fantasy for me as my character is so cool, but I can’t say much about it as I’ll give the plot away. Both productions are currently scheduled for release in 2017. I am also in the early stages on starting my own production company which is a life long dream that I feel fortunate to be able to finally embark on.