British actress and writer Susan Wokoma is definitely on our list of interesting and talented young actors.
In a relatively short space of time she has already amassed a diverse and award winning body of work, highlights include her film debut as ‘Amala’ and alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, Anika Noni Rose and John Boyega, in Biyi Bandele’s adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi Half of a Yellow Sun. Susan also took on the role of ‘Della’ in The Inbetweeners 2. The film became the highest-grossing British film in the UK in 2014.
More recently we saw Susan reprise the role of eccentric ‘Cynthia’ in the second series of BAFTA Award winning Chewing Gum for Channel 4. However, since mid-October, the RADA trained actress has been starring in a six-part comedic horror series called Crazyhead, a funny and gripping E4 series about friendship, love and facing your demons.
We caught up with Susan to find out more about her character, who has won our hearts with her extraordinary wit, no-nonsense attitude and surprisingly, awkwardness.
Susan is keen to explain that Raquel is not your typical finger pointing, hot-head stereotype that the media and reality TV like to portray.
“You may confuse Raquel’s assertiveness with anger but as the episodes go on and you continue to be startled and humoured, you begin to understand why she is the way she is. Granted, the normal Brit would not know the specific job requirements of demon hunting but I’m sure that if you’ve been killing them since 14, you would have some type of attitude as well.”
“You find out that she’s been getting rid of them since she was 14. She knows the real dangers of life and death,” says Wokoma.
“So she’s always ready to battle. It also means she’s really lonely but she is a by-product of a lonely, lone ranger who is a bit weird.”
A common refrain from Black actors is the plea to be given more diverse roles and not to be stuck with the common stereotypes that follow many of them. Certainly not the case with Raquel. It’s clear that Wokoma’s character is no stranger to being awkward, charming; in an ill-mannered way and rather odd – punching a girl in the boob is definitely bizarre. It was refreshing to see the main character be bold, suffering from hilarious word vomit and not be the first one to die – we all know what happened in the Walking Dead.
“I think being socially awkward – whether I want to admit it or not – is something that I can easily access for some reason. I think I am a bit of a geek, so that sort of, not always saying the right thing is very similar to me and Raquel. I wouldn’t say she’s angry, I would say she’s been spending a lot of time having to kill demons.”
Devised by Misfits creator, Howard Overman, it is clear that future episodes will not lack suspense, amusing gruesome battles and (I’m hoping) a lot of Wokoma’s on-screen hottie brother Arinze Kene, who plays Tyler. The comedy horror also stars Cara Theobold, who plays newly demon-seer and soon to be best friend to Raquel, Amy. From the first couple of episodes, you get the feeling that the friendship that starts as an awkward situationship between the two, is going to blossom into something perplexing, adventurous and hilarious.
“I’m not saying this to be coy but a lot happens between these two ladies and it brings them together and it pulls them apart. Bless Cara, we had a lot of fun filming.”
After watching Crazyhead, I found it to be a laugh out loud, spill your cup of tea down your top kind of show. Even though hanging out with demon hunters is something my little Nigerian heart cannot take, Wokoma, along with the rest of the cast, effortlessly put on a fab performance having me laughing at the screen – in a good way.
Crazyhead is on E4 Wednesdays at 9pm, catch up on all episodes on All4.