Yesterday I put up our interview with the Director of new British movie Beyond the Pole, David L. Williams and today we get to hear from not only one of the stars of the movie but also it’s Executive Producer, Helen Baxendale. Helen is probably most famous for her role as Ross’ English girlfriend in Friends and also starred in long running British drama, Cold Feet alongside James Nesbitt. She took some time to answer some questions for us which you can view below.

Thanks to Helen for her time and for also providing the two photos used in the post exclusively to us. Beyond the Pole is released on DVD and Blu ray this coming Monday 5th July. You can pre-order it here and don’t forget to you can enter click here to enter our competition to win the Blu Ray.


You obviously had your Executive Producer hat on for this movie as well as starring in it, how did Shooting Pictures find this gem of a movie?

David works with lots of writers and Neil Warhurst is a big favourite of ours.  He’s funny and generous and we go back a long way now.   It’s always fun when we get together and brainstorm ideas.

David is the motor of the whole thing and he’ll bring me in at crucial points where I can be just one step removed from the daily hurly burly of things and he’ll turn round and say I think this is great.  Is it great or is it absolute nonsense?!  Our production company, Shooting Pictures has been going 10 years now and it seems to work.  I think our relationship is such that we can be frank with each other and guide projects away from cul de sacs.  But developing scripts is a long drawn out process.  There’s no quick route and from films I’ve seen if they say they wrote it in 3 months I think you can usually tell!

So in answer to your question, we didn’t really find the movie.  We work with people we like and develop it, and then try and make it happen.  It comes about over time, q. slowly really, and hopefully grows into a finished film.  Thankfully this one did but I would never put anything into production that wasn’t 100% ready.  That would be too depressing on premier night.  Luckily as Shooting Pictures works all the time in the commercial environment we don’t have to rely on handouts from public bodies, or on production fees which means we don’t have to push a script into production before it’s ready.  This is crucial if you want to ensure quality work.

Although you’re not on screen during the North Pole scenes, did you get to visit Greenland during shooting and if so, how did you find filming in the middle of nowhere?

No, I didn’t go.  David sorted out the arctic co-producers (Arctic First) who were wonderful, and they helped us immeasurably with locations, logistics, safety etc . We really couldn’t have done it without them, particularly Kristjan Fridrikson and Vilborg Einarsdottir.  Also we simply had to keep things extremely tight financially and I am afraid for the arctic leg we both took the view I was surplus to requirements!  Another small matter is we have 3 children and we don’t have nannies or anything so it was just not an option anyway.

The reactions to the movie have been deservedly brilliant! How does it feel to such a well-received movie especially for such a new Production company?

We’re not new but thankyou!  Making a film, and getting it out there is a long old process particularly in indie land where this film lives!  It feels wonderful of course and I’m so pleased for everyone who gave so much to make it happen.  But really anyone will tell you that David has been like a dog with a bone with this film.  Every film needs its champion and Beyond the Pole has always been his baby.  Even when we thought we had another script that might go first he fought for this one and I’m glad for him.  It was a huge gamble and it’s paid off.

David L Williams and Helen Baxendale and the Premiere of Beyond the Pole

What’s next for Shooting Pictures?

Well, the DVD release is hugely important for us.  In commercial terms this is the test because it’s still DVD’s where the profit and loss of a film will be decided.  We’ll be watching the figures closely and it’s also very exciting to see just how the word of mouth will work with this film.  For our future projects we are looking at a couple of things and I hope also to get something with my sister going who is a wonderful writer and I know David has a couple of very nice things up his sleeve too.  We are also being approached by a number of agents and writers who are keen to work with us.  We’ll see.  It’s a difficult time to raise money right now but we have the right backers and we just have to tickle their fancy!

You started your career in front of the camera. Will we be seeing you in anything else going forward or will we see your name as a Producer from now on?

I love producing and working with David and I love acting too.  To be involved in both sides is a very creative, enjoyable process and of course it’s also very fulfilling too to see it all come together.  I’ve just finished a series for ITV and also my first blockbuster, Anonymous, with Rhys Ifans about Shakespeare not actually having written his plays so with luck and a following wind I’ll be kept fairly busy this year.


Beyond the Pole is released on DVD & Blu Ray this Monday (Pre-Order here), 5th July and I urge you to check it out!