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Narnia vibe in Nairn works magic for Outlander actress Amy Alexander

Narnia Amy Alexander
Amy Alexander appears in a film about CS Lewis alongside fellow Nairn actor Nicholas Ralph.

There’s a touch of Narnia about Nairn according to actress Amy Alexander.

After all, both she and fellow actor Nicholas Ralph star in a film about CS Lewis, the author who penned the much-loved and influential novels, while Tilda Swinton starred as the White Witch in the movie version of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe.

And all three of the thespians hail from Nairn.

“I find this really amazing,” said Amy, who plays CS Lewis’s mother in the movie The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story Of CS Lewis.

Amy, who has also appeared in Outlander and Emmerdale, didn’t realise Nicholas – who was in a different year to her at Nairn Academy – was in the film until she was on set.

Narnia Amy Alexander
Amy Alexander as Florence Lewis in The Most Reluctant Convert about CS Lewis who wrote Narnia.

“We both stood there and said: ‘Isn’t this weird, we’re both from Nairn in the same film about CS Lewis who wrote about a world called Narnia… and it’s not an uncommon joke in Nairn about living in Narnia.”

The pair went on to make the connection with Tilda and pointed out the series of coincidences to The Most Reluctant Convert director Norman Stone.

Story of CS Lewis is fascinating

“So we stood there and had this moment of ‘isn’t this strange’,” said Amy.

“Maybe it’s a magical thing, maybe it’s just a coincidence, but there must be like a Narnia vibe in Nairn that brings all the people to that world.”

The Most Reluctant Convert follows Lewis’s life from his bitter childhood, through his First World War experience, and his life-changing friendships at Oxford – including with JRR Tolkien – to depict his journey from staunch atheist to prolific Christian.

Amy, who plays his mother Florence, said as a lifelong fan of CS Lewis, she found the story fascinating.

“It was really interesting to see that side of his life,” she said.

“What I found particularly moving was seeing that spiritual battle, then reflecting on his works, it just shines a huge light on his books that I hadn’t appreciated before. It just helps you understand where his mind was.”

Amy said she loved playing Florence, whose death from cancer while Lewis was young had a profound impact on the author.

“I paid attention to what he wrote about his mum. It was very powerful, the fact what he got from his mum was joy and safety and warmth and everything good in the world… so no pressure (to play her),” said Amy, laughing.

Fascinating feminist back in the day

“You just have to be this wonderful woman who is also intelligent and fluent in French and Latin and taught her son these things as well. So just an imparter of wisdom and also this grounding force – that really came through.”

Nicholas Ralph plays CS Lewis as a young man in The Most Reluctant Convert.

Amy, who stars in the film alongside Nicholas – who plays Lewis as a young man and is best known for his role as James Herriot in Channel 5’s All Creatures Great And Small – said The Reluctant Convert has universal themes everyone can connect with.

“The Most Reluctant Convert sounds like it is aimed at a predominantly Christian audience. But that’s not the way that I read it. When I read the script, I didn’t feel this was directed at people who were purely religious,” she said.

“I think it is a very universal thing to go inward and consider what do you believe, whatever it is, what you hold on to. I think it’s important we think about that ourselves as opposed to being told what to believe.

“I feel the overall message is about curiosity about the world, about your surroundings. Have a bit of wonder about it.”

Amy believes that is particularly relevant in the midst of the Covid pandemic that has given more people to reflect on things that are important to them.

The Most Reluctant Convert Picture includes CS Lewis’s experience in the First World War.

Amy was first on stage aged just two

She credits her childhood in Nairn as setting her on the road to her acting career – she was first on stage doing ballet when she was just two years old.

“Then I got involved in the Nairn Little Theatre with Frances Mary Hendry, she was a playwright. She gave me really fun, comedy roles when I was tiny and I really loved making people laugh.

“Being in Nairn there wasn’t much drama, so I saved pocket money and got myself acting classes in Inverness, with Amanda Luscombe Smith, who was very influential on me getting into acting.

“Throughout school, I kept doing that, I took every class I could at Eden Court Theatre, I studied higher drama through college. I did it all the time, travelling the country going to classes.”

Amy Alexander started her acting career while growing up in Nairn – which has a touch of Narnia.

Eventually, Amy moved to London, writing and staging comedy shows, and “slowly but surely” it all came together for her leading to her TV and screen roles, including in smash-hit Outlander as Rose, in Emmerdale as Irene Stocks and now The Most Reluctant Convert.

Amy hopes for more screen success

The film certainly struck a chord with audiences, having enjoyed a successful run in both US and UK cinemas. Amy also hopes to find similar success with two upcoming screen roles.

She will appear in The Phantom Of The Open, a comedy-drama based on the true story of golfing eccentric Maurice Flitcroft, which will be released in the New Year starring Mark Rylance and Rhys Ifans.

And the actor will also feature in a forthcoming show for Amazon Prime, which is still under wraps, but Amy describes it as a “feminist political drama”.

To find out more about The Most Reluctant Convert visit cslewismovie.com


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