Author: Dafydd Jones
When Wrexham Football Club were bought by two Hollywood stars, journalist Maxine Hughes wouldn’t have thought it would have any bearing on her life, especially as she lives in Washington, rather than Wrexham.
The third oldest football club in the world is now under the ownership of Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, with a documentary in the works about their journey with the club.
In a comical trailer to promote the series, Maxine plays a key role as a Welsh translator.
With millions of views world-wide, the video, and Maxine, have had a hugely positive response.
Maxine Hughes, who is originally from North Wales and now works for the BBC and Celebro Media, described how such an opportunity came up
“I work very often in Los Angeles and at the time, I was filming for a documentary by S4C called ‘COVID, y Jab a Ni’ and someone sent me some information about a company that needed Welsh speakers.
“I contacted them and asked what they needed. They said they needed a female with a bit of experience in reporting or acting.”
“They asked me to send a video reading the script and speaking about myself. I got a callback and did testing with the directer and they asked me to do the gig!
“Just thinking about working alongside two Hollywood stars was surreal. I was excited but very nervous at the same time!”
However, when the opportunity arose to meet Rob and Ryan, Maxine had nothing to worry about.
“They were so friendly. They weren’t like celebs at all, they’re very down to earth and like a joke.
“They made me feel so relaxed and helped me, because I hadn’t done anything like this before.
“We were going through the script and after filming, we started doing some improv and messing around. Ryan did a lot of the directing and they were very supportive and positive about everything.
“It was a fantastic experience. It was so nice to speak to them and hear how much they have learned about Wales and the interest they have in the Welsh language.”
The documentary, named ‘Welcome to Wrexham’, has been commissioned by American television channel ‘FX Entertainment’, which will see Wrexham Football Club in the spotlight.
Both Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have expressed their desire to include the Welsh language in the series.
Maxine insisted that the documentary will be a huge positive for the exposure of the language.
“Rob McElhenney is learning Welsh. Ryan has learned a lot about the culture and the language. They’re going to try and include the Welsh language in the series wherever they can.
“Obviously, the documentary is on television here in America, so the series is in English, bit it’s very important for them to get that element in to make sure that the American audience hear the Welsh language.
“That’s something that is going to do so much for the language. To have the Welsh language on such a world-wide platform is fantastic for us all.
“I think people back in Wales have seen that and appreciate that because the response to the video has been very positive. That’s what we all wanted, especially so that Welsh speakers feel positive about the whole thing.”
Since the huge news surfaced of the new owners, the response from Wrexham fans has been ecstatic.
With such an exciting time ahead for the club, Maxine insisted that Reynolds and McElhenney’s intentions are genuine and trustworthy, with the club in good hands.
“They’re not people who are going to be in and out. They want to spend time in the community and get to know the area.
“They want to put Wrexham on the map and give something back to Wrexham. They’re not taking this lightly at all.
The way that Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds have a newly-found connection with Wales has certainly made an impression on Maxine Hughes.
“It’s completely clear that they want to do something that’s going to help the area, help North Wales and give something to Wales.
“As someone who comes from North Wales, it’s fantastic to see how two stars of Hollywood can help put Wales on the map.
Maxine Hughes has personal experience in a number of languages and cultures, having lived in Wales, England and now in America.
“As someone who has come face to face and lived in places where the culture is so important, it’s great to see how how these two have taken an interest.
“They’ve made a conscious effort to not just be Americans who land in a Welsh town and expect everyone to change to their way of doing things. Understanding the differences between people is so important.
Speaking about St David’s World, Maxine insisted that the platform has a huge role to play to show what it means to be Welsh, all around the world.
“We’re a small country, but a very proud country. We’re brave and are proud and I think it’s important to try and keep in contact with home and with family.
“It’s great and it makes you feel close. Even if I, like someone from Wales who is a thousands of miles away, St David’s World makes you feel close, which is great.”