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 Jyuddah Jaymes who plays the character Seymour Ellis …
Please introduce yourself …
I’m Jyuddah, I play Seymour Ellis in the Django series. I’m a British Actor whose family is originally from Uganda.
I chose Django due to the character [Seymour] and the journey that he gets to go on. The dynamic he has with other characters intrigued me too, I knew there were challenges and knew that a person like him wouldn’t presumably be liked on the surface, but I wanted to face it all head on. The responsibility of telling Seymour’s story amongst the main arc of the show was fascinating to me, and I was really excited at the prospect of working with actors and creatives I’d never worked with before, especially Matthias Schoenaerts who plays our lead. The role came through my agent who believed I was in with a good chance which I appreciated, made me even more excited
to go for it.
Tell us about Seymour and what his goal is in Django …
Seymour Ellis is the middle child of John Ellis’ children. He’s the outsider of the family in all aspects, sharp around the edges, outspoken and brash, headstrong, obnoxiously intelligent at a time where men lead with their actions and their brawn, an aspect that Seymour thinks he’s above. He’s also heavily flawed as an individual, quick to assume and with a tendency to overthink, lacking in respect and extremely sensitive. He likes to expose the cracks in his environment and his family, he believes he can do better than what he has been handed. He also has this rather unhealthy relationship with Sarah, his adopted sister and effectively soon to be his mother, an idea he despises for multiple reasons.
Tell us about working with your fellow cast …
The cast were great, I found as much synergy as I could amongst all of the interwoven plots and time of not necessarily working every day. We got into some super vulnerable places and being able to go there with them was everything, it was really nice to bounce off of what they were giving, I think I needed that to a degree. One-on-one scenes for example with Lisa, Nicholas, Matthias and Noomi (a super kind and super giving actor), those high-stake, high-emotion scenes require ‘more’ and each of them helped me get there. Encouragement was a huge thing as well, shout out the Ellis brothers Benny and Eric especially for bringing the love and the vibes!
What was it about the script that made you say, “Yes, I want to be a part of this”?
I loved the way the characters spoke when I first saw the script, their almost heightened way of talking was what initially attracted me. I could see the world as well, what they wanted to create aesthetically; New Babylon which I still to this day very much believe in. It seemed so vivid to me and magical almost.
What does the story of Django mean to you personally?
I’d never come across the original when I was sent it but what I love about my understanding of the story as it is now, the idea of going on a journey thinking that you’re after one distinct thing but learning and recovering so many other things along the way. Django tells a story of healing in my mind; if given the option, would we allow ourselves to heal and move forward as individuals, taking into account our past pains. I can relate and I think that’s something that if you’re able to tap into, you’ll very much enjoy about this project.
Tell us a memorable moment on set?
We did the last take of a scene in Episode 1 and the director, Francesca Comencini, came and gave me a hug afterwards, signifying for me that she was not only happy with the work but that perhaps I had discovered what she too was looking for in this character. I have a huge amount of love and respect for Francesca and so this meant the world to me. It was definitely a turning point for me.
Which character best defines what you love about this project ?
I love so many of the characters in this but I think I’m probably most drawn to Django himself. His pursuit of love by any means is what drives him in my opinion, in such a rough and visceral time, it’s very impactful. You see it in the scene at the end of episode 2 between he and Sarah (one of my favourite scenes and done so well by Matthias and Lisa) as well as between him and Elijah where he needs to get medicine for Sarah. The juxtaposition between love in a unloving circumstance is what intrigues me.
What’s next for you?
I’m involved in a few projects hopefully surfacing later this year and next year as well as looking to produce some of my own writing in 2023 and beyond.
How do we keep up to date with you and your work?
@jyuddahjaymes on both Twitter and Instagram.
Django is available to watch weekly on Sky Atlantic with NOW from 1st March.