Can you tell us about your character in The Flood?
His name is Haile Tewelde and he’s 30 years old. We meet him having absconded 5,000km from mandatory military service in a corrupt, violent, hegemonic regime in his home country. Regardless he’s all heart and maintains a sense of humour.
Did you learn anything from your character?
Yes, quite a lot. Having spent quite some time in The Calais Jungle, the courageous writer Helen Kingston and the fantastic art department lead by Gina Godwin and Darren Stoneham created a very accurate story world. Shooting it, in turn was an extremely informative and at times bleak process of telling a very real story of flight, in hyperreal surroundings. Loosely based on accounts from the people they worked with along the way. I also learnt a lot about Eritrea, The Jungle and Britain’s current immigration procedures.
Which scene was the most difficult to shoot?
I found most of the shoot pretty physically and emotionally taxing to be honest. Quite often there were moments for me personally where the artifice/drama of it faded and the reality of the situations hit me like a freight train. For example, shooting in Calais in what was left of the camp, attempting to hold onto the undercarriage of a lorry (for any duration of time) and the many scenes at sea. Safe to say I spent a lot of time in tears. It instilled in me a renewed admiration for the strength and resilience of all those women, men and children globally, risking it all in the hope of a better life moreover simple freedoms we take for granted.
In The Flood you worked along with two icons from Game of Thrones, now it seems that they passed their baton to you ?
I know right, what were the odds?! Awaiting season 7 at the time and being a big fan of GoT, it was a blessing and an honour to have the opportunity to knock a few scenes around with some of my favourite characters from it. Seeing actors of Lena and Iain’s calibre committing to low budget, very human stories also made me love them all the more. We begin principle shooting of the historical Game of Thrones Prequel soon which I’m really excited about. Can’t say much about it but stay tuned, as you can imagine it’s quite the production.
Any personal projects outside acting?
I have a few plans for educational programs in East Africa and some writing ideas but for the foreseeable I’ll be focusing my energy on filming the aforementioned.
THE FLOOD is in UK cinemas and on demand from 21st June. Special event screening followed by panel discussion on 17th June
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