New Sky series Django, is loosely inspired by the cult classic Western, Italian Spaghetti (1966).
While searching for his daughter, Django comes upon New Babylon. Here, Django discovers that his daughter is alive and set to marry John Ellis, the founder of New Babylon. Sarah – who blames her father for the death of their family, massacred many years earlier while he was at war – wants Django to leave. But he refuses to give up and does everything in his power to get a second chance with her.
We spoke to actor Elliot Edusah who plays the character Andrew Ellis …
Please introduce yourself …
My name is Elliot Edusah, I’m a film, TV and theatre actor, I have Ghanaian heritage and I was born and raised in Newham, East London. I attended The BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology for two years at college level and graduated in the class of 2018 at LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) with a BA (Hons) Professional Acting course (2015-2018). My professional debut professional debut was an American/Canadian tour of the National Theatre Production, Barbershop Chronicles (2019). Credits include: 1917, Small Axe (Alex Wheatle), Outside the wire, Pirates and Sitting in Limbo.
I’ve always been a fan of westerns growing up, and it has always been a dream of mine to play a cowboy, shoot guns, ride horses and kick open saloon doors and I was lucky enough to do a few of those things on this project. Sergio Corbucci’s Django has been etched in my memory since I was a kid and seeing Franco Nero give a stellar
performance depicting such a nuanced character inspired me greatly. I grew up listening to country and western my mother’s the biggest Don Williams, Kenny Rodgers and Dolly Parton fan. I’ll say that world and culture has always been a part of my life, it was just down to me to use my love and passion for the music and the genre to fuel my performance and place in the world that we as a cast created.
Tell us about Andrew and what his goal is in Django …
Andrew Ellis is the son of Nicholas Pinnock’s character John Ellis. Andrew’s a pure soul and a compassionate boy fighting for what’s right. His youth and naivety gives him an optimistic outlook on life which has also been heavily influenced by his father. Andrew is a Unionist soldier at Gettysburg who turns out to have a very significant connection to one of the lead characters in the show. He is an optimist who believes that he’s fighting for a better future and is willing to sacrifice everything in order to reach that objective of freedom and peace. His biggest role model and inspiration is his father John who he also fights alongside in the civil war. Although his father was born a slave he hasn’t let it deter him from being successful and reaching his full potential and becoming one of the most powerful men in the community, his father drive, ambition and look on the world has highly influence Andrew and deep down he is his father’s son, they share so many things in common and the love and bond between them is priceless.
Tell us about working with your fellow cast …
There is a really fantastic cast attached to this project including Matthias Schoenaerts and Noomi Rapace, Nicholas Pinnock, Lisa Vicari and also my brothers in the series – Jyuddah James, Eric Kole and Benny O. Arthur.
I worked most closely with Matthias Schoenaerts who plays Django – he is a brilliant actor and a great man as well. I learned a lot from him. We really connected and we still talk all the time, I’ve loved all of his work from Rust and Bone to Bullhead, so to share the screen with him was a privilege, watching him work, the detail and specificity he brings to the character is sublime, he was dropping gems every scene and I learned a lot from him which has enhanced my process and performance on screen.
Not forgetting the iconic Nicholas Pinnock, a man of such integrity whose work continues to motivate us young actors, he has taught me a lot both on and off camera and took me under his wing in times of trouble and I appreciate his support throughout the whole process, he’s literally like a father both on and off camera which is a beautiful thing. Funny story is Nicholas was one of the only people who visited the Pirates set pre-Covid as he’s good friends with Reggie Yates the director, and one and a half years down the line, I’m playing his son in another project which is beautiful, the universe really does amazing things when you let it.
What was it about the script that made you say, “Yes, I want to be a part of this” ?
The second I read the script, I knew I had to be a part of this project. Truth and honesty is important to me when connecting with characters and I feel the writers did a smashing job giving all these characters so many dimensions, whilst investing in portraying not only their beauty but the darkness and flaws within them, which all humans have. It felt very human to me, very pure and real so I could relate to every word and situation and couldn’t wait to bring it to life.
What does the story of Django mean to you personally?
The story of Django is a story of family and how willing one is to project theirs. It’s a journey with many twists and turns but ultimately, it’s a story about trust and how it can be distorted to benefit people’s own personal agendas, it’s a tale of pain and pleasure and how humans when stripped of everything see the importance in community and protecting that at all costs.
Tell us a memorable moment on set?
We were shooting most scenes in the forest and this specific scene was shot at night and I must have the sweetest blood in the cast because the mosquitoes had a thing for me specifically, I was getting eaten alive, I had to drench myself in mosquito spray before every take to repel the insects who were out to kill me. My funniest memory is having the two assistant directors hearing “rolling and action” then running towards me armed with insect repellent and simultaneously spraying and dowsing me in it, it was in my ears, eyes and mouth which tasted bloody horrible but it was better than a mosquito landing on my nose mid scene and ruining the magic. The things we do for our craft!
Which scene best defines what you love about this project?
I did a very special scene with Matthias Schoenaerts (Django) by the campfire at midnight. It was a very profound scene as my character Andrew finally took his mask off and dropped the masculine bravado to reveal his true self. They found that they had a lot in common and almost found a shared respect and appreciation for each other’s company. This scene was beautifully shot and purely lit by the campfire and I believe the message the scene tells is extremely poignant and it was directed beautifully by the legend David Evans.
What’s next for you?
There’s a lot in the pipeline which I’m waiting to be officially announced, but I can definitely say people will see me on stage very soon and I can’t wait to make my return.
How do we keep up to date with you and your work?
@ElliotEdusah on all socials including Instagram/Twitter/TikTok
Django is available to watch weekly on Sky Atlantic & NOW from 1st March.