Ényì Okoronkwo Talks … Renegade Nell

Ényì Okoronkwo is an actor, activist, and filmmaker …

Ényì has been making waves lately, especially with his recent role opposite Paapa Essiedu in The Lazarus Project for SKY. You might also recognise him from his stint as ‘James’ in the BAFTA-winning Giri/Haji on BBC One/Netflix and his appearance in Unprecedented on BBC 4.

In his latest role he plays ‘Rasselas’ in Sally Wainwright’s Renegade Nell for Disney +. The series is a thrilling mix of action and fantasy. Accused of murder, Nell Jackson and her sisters resort to survival tactics. Guided by the fearless Billy Blind, Nell discovers her destiny amidst the chaos of war-torn Europe.

We spoke to Ényì about his role

Please introduce yourself …

I’m Ényì Okoronkwo and I’m an actor from North London.

What was the [inspiration/person/moment in time] that started you on this particular career path?

I remember watching Adrian Lester in Hustle and deciding that I wanted to be an actor. I was in love with the show and it was prime time on BBC One and there was this black lead who was as smooth and as smart as anything. The career path felt like it was actually possible.

Adrian Lester as Earl Of Pynton in Renegade Nell

Tell us about Renegade Nell, what’s it all about?

It’s about a young woman who wants to protect her family in a male-run world.

It’s firmly rooted in the history and folklore of the time (1705). Nell finds herself caught up in the Jacobite rebellion threatening the Queen of England and battling mysterious dangerous forces conjured up by masters of the dark arts, in which many people at the time were firm believers.

Tell us about your character Rasselas and what his goals are …

Rass is a slave of the Blanchfords and his goals are justice and joy. I think he also wants the freedom to figure out what his goals might be. Dreams stay dreams as a slave and you can’t figure out where to go if you don’t know who you are.

Highs, lows, solutions …

The length of time we were filming was the high and the low! It was an education on the realities of being on set and what the work looks and feels like outside of theory. What kind of stamina you need for your craft and remembering that you are both a worker and an artist.

Ényì Okoronkwo as Rasselas in Renegade Nell

What are you watching?

I’m rewatching the Cell Saga from Dragon Ball Z in memory of Akira Toriyama!

What are you reading?

I’m reading the James Baldwin essay The Price of The Ticket

 What are you listening to?

I was actually listening to AwoMaa an EP by Boadi – I hope he makes an album at some point

Last thing you saw on stage?

This Might Not Be It at The Bush (The best theatre in London)

 Whose footsteps are you following in?

No one’s, I’m seeing how treading my own path goes.

 What’s next?

Some exciting stuff but I can’t quite talk about it yet

What’s your socials?

@enokoronkwo on Instagram

Renegade Nell is streaming now on Disney+


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