Interview with Tomiwa Edun
Interview from SID magazine #14 (SS18):
Most people have dreamt of being a movie star, or a celebrity of somewhat. Imagine being Alex Hunter from EA Sports global phenomenon, FIFA 18. Adetowmiwa “Tomiwa” Edun, has undoubtedly smashed every boys dream job out of the park and been able to give his own spin on the epitome of the football gaming world. From a variety of wild and wonderful jobs, resulting in a flourishing career from stage, TV and film, Edun has quite a humble beginning, resulting in a whirlwind of extraordinary accolades.
SID Magazine: How did your acting journey begin?
Tomiwa Edun: Didn’t we all start out in a primary school nativity play? Joseph was the part most of the guys (and some of the girls) were vying for but I ended up as “Narrator”. Not even a sheep! I thought they’d had to make up a role just so I wouldn’t be left out! I was pretty disappointed in myself, until I realised at our first rehearsal: I had all the lines...
SID: You have played such a breadth of characters from Alex Hunter in FIFA to your part in TV series, DR WHO. What is your method for preparing for such diverse roles?
TE: I read the script for as many clues and facts about the character as I can find, and then let my imagination run riot within that framework. Being a big football fan myself, with Alex Hunter I suddenly found some of my playground fantasies were directly transferable to work. Dr Who was fairly similar actually—I was a big Danger Mouse fan as a child and my megalomaniacal experience playing Baron Greenback was fun to revisit for creating Mr Brock.
SID: How have your experiences compared through working on TV, film and on the stage at the National Theatre?
TE: The basics of creating a character are the same, but the media present slightly different technical challenges and creative opportunities. You tend to work very quickly in TV, so the key is to be very well prepared so you know exactly where your character is at in any given moment and can adapt easily when things change on set. But, for example, you get to play with special effects like when I peeled my head open in Dr Who. On stage you get to engage directly with the audience—a bit like a dance—leading them through the story from beginning to end no matter what happens along the way.
SID: Describe a typical day in your life (maybe a Monday or a days routine you feel represents you).
TE: Wake up, yoga, coffee and a smoothie... That’s about the only fixed routine to any given day; after that it depends what I’m working on, that’s one of the great privileges of an actor’s life. It could be anything from heading in to spend an hour getting suited up in mocap getup, practising a fight routine, sitting down to text work in rehearsal, having my head cast for an alien mask, going to set and finding a productive way to occupy myself when my scenes have been pushed back... to meeting up with a friend and going to an exhibition or visiting a nephew!
SID: If you hadn't attended RADA and pursued your acting career, what would your alternate career of choice be and why?
TE: I honestly don’t know. I’d love to visit a parallel universe to see one of the possibilities of where I might have ended up!
SID: What calms your nerves before filming?
TE: Prep. Knowing my lines and the scene inside out, having played it through every which way, as close to the real thing as I can manage ahead of time. Then I’m free to play. There’s nothing worse than hearing the pre-take routines start—“Turnover, sound speed, set aaand...”—and not being sure what I’m up to. The camera catches everything.
SID: Brian Friel's TRANSLATIONS is globally renowned classic. What do you enjoy the most about bringing the dynamic story to life on stage?
TE: It’s a beautiful play and a true classic—Brian Friel wrote it in 1980 but it’s themes are still totally contemporary. What is culture? What carries it and what erodes it? How do we hold on to it whilst remaining progressive? The great thing about a rehearsal process is the cast and the creative team bringing all our different understandings together to feed into a shared world and vision into which we invite audiences.
SID: 2018 looks to be another busy year for you. You are playing a lead role in drama, THE DISCOVERY OF WITCHES - is there anything else you have up your sleeve for this year? Future plans? Perhaps a holiday or time for a short break? Or are you happiest when busy and will continue to fully immerse yourself into your eclectic mixture of work?
TE: There are a couple of films coming out I’m looking forward to—Where Hands Touch about the treatment of mixed race children in the Rhineland during WW2, and A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life, a black comedy about the self-help industry. I really enjoy performing audiobooks too and recently did some work with Audible that comes out soon. I’ve just had a break that lasted a little longer than I’d’ve liked so here’s to keeping busy!
Original interview by Koral-Leigh Webb for SID magazine #14. Image credit: Photography: David Reiss, Styling: Sylvester Yiu, grooming: Katie Moore, Hair: Patrick Forini, production: Su Fen Cheong, special thanks to Tim and beaumont Comms