Clayton Boyd is currently starring in the hit South African soap opera Generations: The Legacy, one of the country’s most popular series with nearly nine million viewers, which has also been broadcast in countries such as India and Jamaica.
He will also soon be seen in Patrick Garcia’s horror film Hell Trip – which premieres at Comic Con Africa on September 14 in which he stars alongside Jonathan Boynton-Lee, Jay Anstey and American actor Stevel Marc.
Says Boyd about his role in Generations: The Legacy: “I play teacher Robert Carlson. There are things about to happen that will change his life forever. I can’t reveal too much at this stage but the subject matter is explosive and topical.”
Boyd has an impressive resume which includes roles in a host of popular TV series including Isidingo, Binnelanders, The Wild, Thola and MTV’s Shuga as well as the BBC series Leonardo.
Cape Town born Clayton achieved a double major BA in Psychology and Theatre from San Diego State University before moving to the University of Alabama and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival for his Masters degree. In 2006 he received his MFA in Theatre with an emphasis in Shakespeare.
When not acting, Clayton indulges his other passion – food! He and his wife own and run the hugely popular Johannesburg restaurant Dolci Café.
When did you start in Generations and who do you play? My role in Generations is Mr Carlson, Lesedi’s 11th grade IT teacher, started in November last year. The character started out smaller and very supportive of Lesedi (played by Luyanda Mzazi), who didn’t come from the same background as the rest of the private school children. The early storylines dealt heavily with bullying. Both Lesedi and another new student, Brandon, who was autistic, had to deal with the popular, established children pushing them aside or actively bullying them. My role has been increased substantially.
What can you reveal about your upcoming Generations storyline without giving too much away? The upcoming storyline will deal with a number of very interesting issues that are prevalent not only in schools, but in any place where there are people in power. Without giving away too much we are dealing with Lesedi accusing teacher Robert Carlson of something very serious. What is so lovely about this storyline is that the writers of Generations have explored both sides of the story and have given Carlson scenes where he is with his wife and other members of the Generations universe. In the early days of filming Carlson didn’t exist outside of the classroom or as a person; he was only viewed as a teacher. This storyline will allow the audience to see Robert Carlson as a man.
What is it like working on one of South Africa’s biggest shows? Generations is a very smooth operating machine. The team is so professional and experienced, and they are a pleasure to work with. The cast and crew are always chatting and joking with each other. What is more, is there is no time wasting, they have fun and a laugh while getting the work done efficiently. When I first joined the team, I wasn’t sure how approachable the lead actors would be, but on my first day Luyanda Mzazi (playing Lesedi) knocked on my dressing room door and asked me if I would like to run lines before the scene. That set the tone for how it has been since day one. The actors all want to do the best job possible. Working with people who are so passionate about their craft is a pleasure and it makes you work extra hard to up your game and not let the team down.
Why do you think it is so popular? The writers and producers are always looking at what is happening in the world and the media and they use Generations as a mirror to reflect society back at itself. When people identify with a show, because they feel that it represents them, they will go out of their way to follow it and watch.
You were born in Cape Town but were schooled in both Europe and the US, what does this bring to you as an actor? My upbringing has made me see the world as very grey. I was raised in a traditional South African household before my father was relocated to Belgium for business. My 12th grade class comprised 24 students and we had 18 different nationalities and at least six different religions represented in that group. We had to learn how to be people and humans first, before we added our cultural, nationalist and religious views to the world. I then moved to Southern California where I went to a state university, so I was pretty much the only non-American in my group of friends. It was then onto Alabama and New York. All of these experiences have made me ask a lot of questions. I always try to “Walk a mile in another man’s shoes” and see the world from as many points of view as possible.
Tell us what else we will see you in this year? My year has predominantly been filming Generations and running the restaurant. Last year I filmed Red Sea Diving Resort starring Chris Evans (Captain America) and Haley Bennet. I’m not sure if it will release later this year or early next year.
Give us more details about your role in Hell Trip? This film is really an ensemble hunting horror picture. We are a group of American tourists visiting a lodge in Africa and things start going wrong from the moment we arrive. Slowly members of the group are picked off one at a time. I play William Reese, boyfriend to Sarah, played by Jade Hubner (from Top Billing). If you enjoy fast-paced horror with some good scare factors, this one’s for you.
Name three people you would really want to work with and why? As an actor I’d love to work with Sir Ian McKellen. He is of the old school classic Shakespeare background, but has done some great nerdy movies, like X-Men and Lord of the Rings. I’d also really love to work with the director Peter Jackson. I love watching those epic fantasy-based movies, and Lord of the Rings was incredible. To be in a movie of that epic scale would be a dream come true. The other producer/director who does a lot of sci-fi that I’d love to work with would be JJ Abrams. His movies and TV shows are always super clever and well created.
What are you watching on television? I’m a comic book movie fan, so naturally I watch the TV shows as well. I am watching Marvel’s Luke Cage on Netflix and the third season of Billions which I recorded so I can binge watch when I get a few days off.
Tell us a bit about your restaurant? It is called Dolci Café and it is based in Craighall Park. My wife Jackie and I started Dolci as a day time breakfast, lunch and pastry shop in September 2015. Since then we have expanded four times and it is now a full-scale Italian restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner six days a week. My wife was in corporate and hating it; I was working many freelance jobs and we wanted some creativity and control over our lives, so we decided to take what had been a part time job for me, and part of her upbringing and turn it into a business. Jackie’s family have been in restaurants her whole life, so it was a natural shift for her. I have also worked in and around food since I was 18.
Describe yourself in five words? Calm, cerebral, methodical, balanced and talkative
Anything else you would like to add? I love challenges and new experiences, so one of my mottos is “Bite off more than you can chew, and then chew like hell”. I also talk a lot, so through life I have adopted a second motto, “It is better to keep your mouth shut, and be thought of as a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.”