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We speak to the male model making his feature film debut

PICTURED: Dudley O'shaughnessy

IT’S HIS first feature film role but Dudley O'shaughnessy says playing Leke in BFI shortlisted White Colour Black was a real opportunity to test himself.

Charged with delivering a believable performance in Joseph Adesunloye’s debut film, O'shaughnessy admits being able to delve deep into his box of acting tricks has whet his appetite to execute similarly poignant and challenging roles in the future.

White Colour Black sees O'shaughnessy play the role of Leke, a young successful photographer living a hedonistic lifestyle in London. When Leke’s estranged father becomes ill and suddenly dies, he is forced to accept his responsibility as the only son, and make the journey to Senegal to bury his father.

Alienated and disoriented from the country of his childhood, the journey ultimately leads Leke on a path of self-discovery and cultural transformation.

Q: How did you find the experience of playing Leke?

DO: It was the first tume I had been able to put everything I had and have trained and been taught into a role. I’d never been able to do that before because it was a feature and I’d never had that opportunity.

White Colour Black Dir. Joseph Adesunloye

It was like a test. Not a test of whether or not I want to do this but whether I am capable and whether I can hold some ones eye and their attention. I’d say it was a test and an opportunity at the same time. I really had to bring. I had to take it upon myself to represent something as honestly as I could.

Q: What’s the biggest message that you think the film conveys?

DO: To let go of whatever perceptions you have about how something is somewhere and if you hear something calling, then you have to go and deal with it. Otherwise you’re never going to get to that place that you are meant to be at. You will destroy yourself pretending to be or for the satisfaction of other people. Just go, if you hear something calling you then you really have to deal with that.

Q: Was you surprised when White Colour Black was shortlisted at BFI last year?

DO: I was very surprised, I don’t think highly of myself and I am not the most confident person. I guess I am just starting to learn what I am capable of. I’m still learning and this is my first film so I didn’t really know how it all works, I am still figuring it out now and learning what really makes something good and what doesn’t.

Dudley O'shaughnessy in White Colour Black

From the experience of White Colour Black, what made it get to the BFI was the commitment from the whole crew and because it was something that came from an authentic place. Not to try and make a film for other people but to tell a story that is very meaningful.

The story behind the film is inspired by Joseph’s father’s death, so it really came from somewhere and he really had to go to that place to write it and not only that, fly to Senegal to film it and it was like a whole thing. It was how he dealt with his fathers death. And there is power in that.

Q: Would you like to see more films that explore this type of narrative hailed more often?

DO: Yes, definitely and they need to be giving these people bigger budgets. When you look at the world now it’s a multicultural place.

I haven’t seen a film like White Colour Black done on a huge budget and I would love for the direction of films to push in that way, I guess it’s coming but it’s taking it’s time.

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