In the highly acclaimed and controversial ‘Kidulthood’, Noel Clarke took us into a world that explored the ‘current’ state of 21st Century West London teenagers. In the sequel ‘Adulthood’ we explore the aftermath. Reprising the role of ‘Moony’ is actor Femi Oyeniran. For him this is a film about “moving on”. Here, he talks about the film, his character and working with writer/director/actor Noel Clarke.
Q: Can you tell us about Moony?
A: Moony, he’s grown up since Kidulthood so he goes by his normal name now which is Robert
Q: How does Moony fit into this film?
A: Sam comes out of incarceration and is looking for all the other kids who were in the other film, just to make his peace. Moony has moved on, he’s got on with his life – he’s not doing the same stuff as he was doing before. He’s focused, he’s at university and he’s got himself a pretty girl, so he’s just moved on. He’s shifted from where they were before and obviously we see the tension between his old life trying to intrude into his new life. We see that tension within this character, that’s the conflict Moony has to deal with.
Q: When did you hear that Noel wanted to make a sequel?
A: When Kidulthood first one came out. I heard quite early. It was almost as soon as the first film came out that Noel said that he was writing the second one and we are going to be doing a sequel.
Q: What attracted you to the role of Moony in the first place?
A: To be honest, I didn’t know what role I was going up for in Kidulthood. They had open auditions at my college and they just said they were looking for all types of characters. After a while they attached me to Moony. In the first film he’s funny because he’s a caricature and it’s not just about what he says it’s about his facial expressions, his general demeanour on the screen. On this one, he’s more serious and it’s more about the words.
Q: What similarities are there between Femi and Moony?
A: It’s weird, because you can’t fully detach yourself from the character; you have to embrace the character to a certain extent. I like to think I’m funny and Moony’s funny, but funny in a different way. I’m ‘yap yap yap’ funny, whereas Moony is more subtle and his facial expression is funny. In this one the similarity is that Moony (Robert), studies law and I study law. But Robert has different motivations for studying law – it’s Sam’s character and actions that have motivated him and obviously you find more about that in the film. Everyone says that my motivation to study law is because I argue too much!
Q: What’s it like working with Noel Clarke?
A: Noel is my big brother, plain and simple. On the last time film I didn’t have than many big scenes with Noel so it was different actor-to-actor. This time, he wants you to play it like this or like that, because there’s more of an importance to how he wants you to deliver the lines. He is very hands-on. It’s different for him because he is assuming all the roles. Noel is one of the boys, another actor, so sometimes he has to assert himself which is essential to distinguish the fact that he is directing this one. It’s fun, it’s the same Noel.
Q: How’s it been working with the rest of the crew?
A: It’s much the same crew, there are a few new people, but majority are the same crew. That is fun! It’s lovely to see Brian Tufano again. I wore no make-up in the first one but I’ve had make up in every scene in this – they’re prettying me up! The new people are nice, but you have the old people as well so you have the familiarity.
Q: What do you think audiences will take away from this one?
A: This is a more developed piece. People won’t expect it. Trife is dead but most people can’t see beyond Trife, so it’s a different film completely. I think this one has more of a message to it. The last one had a message too but I think it was more subtle. The last one’s message was that you don’t run around messing with other people’s girlfriends, you don’t blah blah blah, because in the end you might die, but a lot of people missed that. This time you’ve got Moony he’s doing his thing, he’s on a positive vibe, and he’s doing a positive thing. Then you’ve got Jay who is doing the same thing. In the end you have the core message which is very strong and daring. It is funny at the same time, it’s got the same feel as the other film but it’s got added ingredients, it’s more developed as you’d expect.
Q: What are the themes of this film?
A: The theme for me is moving on. Sam wants to move on; some people are fighting with moving on. Moony has definitely moved on, but is fighting with moving back. He’s on a progression thing and there are people who want to bring him back. You’ve got so many different conflicts going on, but the over all aching thing is that everybody in the end needs somebody. We all search for that someone. In this film I think you find everyone has got someone. When it all goes pear-shaped we all want someone to go back to. There’s a more emotional message to the film.
‘Adulthood’ is in Irish cinemas now.