What can you tell us about your character in waiting for the Barbarians? How did you prepare for such an intense role?
The Girl is a victim of brutal torturing and imprisonment by oppressors in her own country. Even through all her suffering, she retained her dignity and strength. She is a survivor and her spirit is unbreakable. After reading the book, I was compelled to tell The Girl’s story, since her voice is limited in the narrative.
This character was challenging in every way. I explored The Girl’s character from many different angles to try to understand what she was about and what kept her going. J. M. Coetzee’s novel was the foundation for this process, where I really worked on the physicality of the character and her emotional journey, but I also really connected to my nomadic culture. This was quite a powerful exercise as it forced me to reconnect with nature, and indirectly made me go back to my childhood’s memories with my grandmother. She was instrumental in the character’s development, so I dedicate this to her. I am grateful for how it has made me grow as an actor through this process.
What is your favourite scene in the movie?
My favourite scene was when The Girl helps a kitchen girl with laundry. It was fun for The Girl after what she went through and also the kitchen girl reminds of her of her sisters. It gave me a glimpse into how she was before the brutal torturing. It felt so easy on my heart, in a way, which is why I really enjoyed playing that scene. I guess I experienced this little joy through her.
It looks like such a testosterone filled picture and you seem to be the feminine crux of it. How does your character affect the narrative?
Director Ciro Guerra once said that The Girl’s part is the heart of the story. If the magistrate left The Girl to freeze to death on the street, I guess it would be a very different story.
So many masculine legends surrounding you in that project. was it intimidating? Were they supportive?
My scenes were mainly with Mark, and I had one scene with Johnny Depp. It was a privilege to work with them both. I have to admit though that often I would forget about who the actor in front of me was, because I was so focussed and immersed in the inner world of The Girl’s character. Mark was supportive and would always encourage me on set. He is incredibly humble, with an amazing work ethic and that is something I want to take with me to future jobs.
Did you bingewatch the whole Friends series before working on intelligence? Where are you aware of its huge cultural impact?
I am aware of the huge cultural impact Friends has had on the world of television and beyond. I haven’t watched all the series yet, but they’re on my watchlist.
Honestly! What’s it like to have such intimate moments with David ‘Ross’ Schwimmer?
Playing opposite David was challenging because it was hard not to laugh during the scenes as his comic timing is just incredible, even during intimate scenes, which is a testament to his ability to deliver no matter what the circumstances. I really admire this in an actor and it has given me so much to learn from.
Any fond memories of peaky blinders?
I couldn’t believe I was on the set of Peaky Blinders as it is one of my favourite tv series of recent times. The set was so amazing ! I was so fascinated by it all and just excited to be a part of it.
Would you call London your new home now? What does it mean to be a Londoner for you?
London is such a diverse city with such rich cultures coexisting with respect. Being a Londoner is about being yourself. You can express yourself in any way you please, which is so important for creativity.
Interview by Lorenza Calamandrei
Photography by Andrea Vecchiato
Beauty by Justine Jenkins, using Murad Skin Care UK.
Hair by Rebecca Richards , using Living Proof UK.
Styling by Holly Elgeti.
Clothes: Full suit by ALEXA CHUNG, Necklace Strange Fruit by WOLD & BADGER , Ring ille Lan by WOLF & BADGER, Hat, GANA’S OWN