Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù on how Mothering Sunday let him “flex a different muscle”

mothering sunday sope dirisu eva husson odessa young olivia colman josh o connor alice birch graham swift

Mothering Sunday was an opportunity to flex a different muscle and explore a different part of my craft,” says Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù, explaining what drew him to his latest film, a 1920s-set period romance co-starring Odessa Young and Josh O’Connor. “It requires a different sort of discipline or a different sensibility: I think lots of things are like muscles where if you don’t use them, you’ll lose them.”

“I think it’s interesting to see how far we’ve come from times, and also how far we haven’t come as well,” continues Dìrísù, talking about why he enjoys period drama. “Part of the magic of performance is being transported, and you get that a bit more viscerally when you’re doing a period drama than when you’re doing a modern-day piece.”

Key to this is Dìrísù’s interest in “the lived experience, and either documenting that or interrogating it.”

“A big one that I can’t escape is race, and race relations, racial politics. Donald [Dìrísù’s Mothering Sunday character], in the time 1920s-1940s, had a very specific experience and interrogating how he had to navigate that compared to how I navigate it today is creatively interesting.”

The first part of a three-part interview with Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù, who was a really enthusiastic, thoughtful interviewee. Enjoyed doing this one, nice to share it finally (this was, I think, done in early October?)

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