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Sunday, February 20, 2005

Sophie Okonedo: Primarily an Actress

The first time I saw Ms. Okonedo was not the first time I saw Sophie. She was an Augustus John painting defaced by Roy Lichtenstein. Falling in love with a two-dimensional character is not without its problems. Mostly it’s the obvious; you miss the third dimension, but that’s often a good thing. Best of all though, are the primary colors.

Sophie Okonedo was born in London of a Nigerian father and a British mother. Okonedo began acting late—after a writing class at the Royal Court Theatre. Sophie’s breakthrough on the stage came in ‘99, when she portrayed Cressida in Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida at the Royal National Theatre. Praise followed: Sophie Okonedo's Cressida is one of the very few I have seen to come close to the character's tragic ambiguity, observed The Sunday Times.

Success on the stage led to multiple TV roles, and these in turn led to the bigger movie roles. Next year, Okonedo will co-star with Charlize Theron and Frances McDormand in the sci-fi action movie Aeon Flux. Of course Ace Ventura is so long ago that we don’t talk about it. However I knew nothing of this life because for me Sophie was a cartoon.

A couple of years back the BBC did a webcast of their Doctor Who series. Animated, it starred the voices of Richard E. Grant, and Sir Derek Jacobi. Sophie Okonedo voiced Alyson, a bar-maid who, despite an obvious strength, seemed condemned to stay with her doting boyfriend until the world ended. Luckily the world was about to end.

Cosgrove Hall made the animation. It is neither Danger Mouse nor Count Duckula. A not-uncommon convention in animation, the characters are drawn to look like the actors voicing them, Ms. Okonedo voiced Alyson, and thanks to Cosgrove Hall I’ve had the primary colors of a bright green top and a lemon yellow star in my head ever since. In a Jasper Johns meets Peter Blake way.

Dirty Pretty Things by Stephen Frears, is beautifully crafted, lighted, and acted, with Caravaggio colors dripping all over its dodgy script. And it was those delicious colors that made me take a second glance at the scene of the prostitute performing some rumpy-pumpy with the hotel doorman. Can’t recall my reason for the third glance. And then I realized who she was. Like a bad Norwegian music video, my animated hero had come to real-life – in the very act that creates real-life. Haven’t watched a cartoon since.

The Doctor Who webcast in question is still available on the BBC website. Best watched for the line by a British soldier when first confronted with an alien: It’s a great big dirty alien, sir!

The back cover of Paul Dorrell's book claims

Regardless of your discipline, you will benefit from the real-life guidance of this work.

Sophie Okonedo – Road to the 77th Oscars in Headlines

Edward Bulwer-Lytton's play Money on stage in London's West End Royal National Theatre's Olivier theatre
The Inspector Lynley Mysteries: In the Presence of the Enemy
BBC- Doctor Who - Scream of the Shalka - Interviews - Sophie Okonedo
Nominations announced for 2003 British Independent Film Awards

The Royal Court Theatre : Nightsongs
Dirty Pretty Things is a smart, edgy thriller
The Royal Court Theatre / I Just Stopped By To See The Man

Smoking list – Okonedo
Sophie Okonedo? You should check out her other African Movie
Sophie Okonedo: Hotel Rwanda Star Lost For Answers At Press Junket

These were neighbours killing each other
Hotel actress on rise
Aeon Flux - Starring Actress Sophie Okonedo

Nominees for Screen Actors Guild Awards
Okonedo homes in on movie glory
The Fifth Annual Cinemarati Awards (for films released in 2004)

Brit revels in surprise Oscar attention
Oscars - 77th Annual Academy Awards - Nominees – Sophie Okonedo
With five nominations, black actors gain record Oscar esteem

The road to the Oscars is paved with TV parts
Sophie Okonedo: The Bookworm's Revenge, Act I; A Brainy Brit's Breakthrough Role.
Okonedo's Rwanda nomination a door-opening experience

Star-Telegram | 01/23/2005 | ONE TO WATCH
Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda) to Win

BBC - Doctor Who - Okonedo's Oscar
Sophie Okonedo says, I just want to feel quite comfortable and not have my bust fall out, you know?


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