Paige Tracey discusses race, careers and fame with comedian Dane Baptiste ahead of the premiere of his new show, Sunny D.Written by Paige Tracey on 18th August 2016
Meet the Red Hot Star of White Heat!
Hannah Lloyd-Davies talks to David Gyasi, one of the stars of BBC2 drama White Heat Hannah: White Heat depicts the lives of students from the 60s to the present day
Hannah: White Heat depicts the lives of students from the 60s to the present day. You play Law student Victor, who emigrates from Jamaica to study in Britain. How did you research the role?
David: I had to interview my dad to research for the part, because Victor, my character in the show, came over in 1965 at the same time as him, so their journeys and experiences are very similar. I had to draw from the adversity that he faced. I also interviewed a judge called Elroy Claxton who came over here in 1966, so it was good talking to people who had first-hand experience of what my character had gone through.
Hannah: What do you think people will like about White Heat?
David: I think the relationships between the seven flatmates are really interesting. They are fantastic characters; the actors are really watchable. The characters hold you, but then you have the amazing change in Britain's cultural landscape too. It's got all the ingredients for a good coming-of-age drama.
Hannah: What is the weirdest thing you have ever had to do for an acting job?
David: When I was younger I did an advert where I had to walk through all these locations in London whilst interacting with computer generated characters, none of whom were there! That was really weird, but really fun.
Hannah: You were a part of the stage version of War Horse – what do you think of the decision to make a film version?
David: It's very different appearing in the stage version compared to what the audience experience. You're not present for the entire journey, so I never really got what they had gone through. I was fortunately invited to a screening of the film and really enjoyed it, as unlike the stage version, I didn't know what was going to happen next. I would definitely recommend it.
Hannah: You've been in a wide variety of film and television roles. Which art form do you prefer?
David: I did a Performing Arts degree which encouraged me to try lots of different things. I had the option when I was younger to go down a more narrow route, but had a lot of dramatic and film opportunities going on, so it didn't appeal to me. I'm fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to act in many different genres.
Hannah: We will soon see you in The Dark Knight Rises, the most highly anticipated film of the year. What was it like to be part of such a huge film?
David: It's been great. For me, it was the first film that I got where I'd been to America for a casting and it was pretty massive for me. It has been one of the most exceptional projects of my career to work on.
Hannah: What has been your career highlight to date?
David: I think The Dark Knight Rises is one of the best projects I've ever done. However, there was a moment where I had absolute down time and I didn't know where the next job was coming from, which made me really search myself and question if I really wanted to do this for the rest of my life. I came to the conclusion that this is what I love to do and have wanted to do all my life. So my wife and I agreed that this is what I should be doing,
and I got the call about Batman the day after. So that whole period was a highlight for me.
Hannah: Do you have a favourite actor?
David: Such a hard question! Denzel Washington: I'm really inspired and uplifted by his performances. Robert Downey Jr really impresses me as well. And I love Jimmy Stewart's performance in It's a Wonderful Life. If I had to pick one though, it would be Denzel Washington. I think he's so good at making people believe his performances and is a good-looking, black leading man.
Hannah: What advice do you have for aspiring actors?
David: I hear people say it's all about luck and being in the right place at the right time, but I disagree. It requires years of preparation and getting life experience so that you have something to really draw on.