Sophie Okonedo Says She Struggles to Find Acting Roles in the UK & Sees Better Opportunities in the USA

Sophie Okonedo Says She Struggles to Find Acting Roles in the UK & Sees Better Opportunities in the USA

Sophie Okonedo seems to be one of busiest actresses working
today. But according to her, things aren’t all that they seem. In fact, in a recent
interview in The Guardian (HERE), the Oscar nominated actress says that she
finds it very difficult to get acting roles in the U.K., unlike in the U.S., where she gets more opportunities.

As she says in the article: "I do notice that – over the last year – I’ve had maybe two
scripts from England and tens and tens from America. The balance is ridiculous.
I’m still struggling [in the UK] in a way that my white counterparts at the
same level wouldn’t have quite the same struggle”

She goes on to say that: “People
who started with me would have their own series by now, and I’m still fighting
to get the second lead or whatever. I think I’m at a certain level and have a
good range, so why isn’t my inbox of English scripts busting at the seams in
the same way as my American one is? There’s something amiss there."

Interesting though Ms. Okonedo is reluctant (perhaps out
of fear of biting the hand that feeds her) to blame racism for her situation. When
asked about that, she responds by saying: "Oh,
look, I don’t know. This is why I don’t give interviews. All I know is that I
have to go across the Atlantic to get work…. I think a lot of it is [due to]
costume and period drama, which must be, what, at least 40% of what we do here?
Which means that 40% of opportunities are closed to me already."

Though it should be pointed out that she is soon scheduled
to play King Henry IV’s widow Queen Margaret in the BBC TV "The Hollow Crown," which
goes into production in September (HERE).

She does say however one of the big causes for the lack of
diversity in roles on television is due to the lack of diversity among TV writers: "I
think you have to start with the stories. If the writers all come from the same
backgrounds, you are going to get the same sorts of characters. Get a broader
variety of writers and you get a bigger range of stories.”

It is interesting to note that many black actors and
actresses of color in this country have made the exact same complaints that
Okonedo has made about the U.K. – so it’s a universal problem amongst black artists.

What do you say?

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Comments

Honey Williams

“One of the most durable paradoxes of white supremacy – the idea that those who are closest to an experience of oppression are its least credible witnesses.”
— Walter Johnson, Soul by Soul: Life inside the Antebellum Slave Market

lilkunta

i feel of all the pics of her why did you use this one ?
also sophie is happily married to sexy jeffrey wright and lives in NY. if her career were to skyrocket in the UK is jeff and her kids williing to move to UK ?

jaebanree

the problem is too much out front complaining and not enough behind the scenes creating.

the question "do you feel it's because you're [insert ethnicity here] keeping your roles limited?" is inanet. everybody knows it's about the writers and producers not being [insert ethnicity here].

CareyCarey

Fellows, wait one minute, Sophie is not complaining about her lack of money. Nor is she complaining about her lack of work in general. She said. she finds it very difficult to get acting roles in the UK. unlike in the U.S., where she gets more opportunities.

"I think I'm at a certain level and have a good range, so why isn't my inbox of English scripts busting at the seams in the same way as my American one is" ~ Sophie Okonedo

So fellows, get it right, this is about her opportunities in England. To that point, she's a black actress, okay. Now quick, which film was she in that was produced in the UK? Okay, times up, it was "Skin (2008)", the true story of a black girl who was born to two white Afrikaner parents in South Africa during the apartheid era. I am suggesting that just as in America, a person's skin color is directly related to the jobs they're offered. And, it's safe to say those parts, which may fit a black person, is in limited supply in the UK, moreso than the U.S.A.

For instance, you know Sophie won a Tony for her role in Lorraine Hansberry's play A Raisin in The Sun, right? Did you know she couldn't even buy that play on Kindle in the UK! Also, she said "I hadn't read the play because its not part of our upbringing in England."

So fellows, take another look at the post (and read the links, if possible). I believe your opinions will be altered.

Mike

I would have to agree with D.C. KIRKWOOD. You can produce, film, and distribute your own work today. Why complain about the UK system and lack of roles? Be proactive and make your own stuff and you keep 100% of the profits.

D.C. Kirkwood

Okay enough with the complaining. I checked Sophie's IMDB, page and I don't see where she has produced or written anything. How do you expect to survive if your not writing or producing? Samuel Jackson and so many others have spoken about this to death. You can go on certain sites and purchase a screenplay and produce it, if you aren't a writer yourself. There is no excuse why these so called seasoned actors aren't being more proactive. People talk about Ving Rhames and Vivica Foxx doing straight to DVD work but they produce on some of these projects and get backend profits. Even Tatiana Ali, gets producer credit on her work. You don't see them complaining about Hollywood as much either. Just food for thought.

Byron Wigfall

First, I geeked a little at “actress and actresses”. But I think the tide are continually shifting in favor of colored actors and actresses.

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