must-watch Young Offenders star Demi Isaac Oviawe on playing new role of a woman struggling to have a baby in latest film
Demi is taking on a very different role - and leaning in to her Nigerian roots - for her latest film.
She shot to fame as the feisty girlfriend of Conor in The Young Offenders, which became an international smash.
But Demi Isaac Oviawe is taking on a very different role - and leaning in to her Nigerian roots - for her latest film.
Demi plays a young woman struggling to have a child in the moving drama To All My Darlings.
Adaeze is in a loving relationship with her husband but the couple are facing trauma after yet another miscarriage, as they try to start a family.
For Demi, it marks a complete departure from the comic Cork capers of The Young Offenders. She said she was thrilled to take on the dramatic role for the short film, one of several that will be screened as part of this year's Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival.
"It's very emotional and moving at the same time," said Demi. "I've always been one of those people, when an actor says: 'I was very moved and emotionally connected to the script' who's like: 'That's just a load of rubbish'.
"But then I read it and the script did all the talking. I was really happy that they were reaching out to me to play a Nigerian woman," added Demi, who moved from Nigeria to Ireland with her family when she was a toddler, before her family settled in the Co Cork town of Mallow.
She was just 19 when she made the film last year. "I didn't know if I could embody that character properly and bring the emotion because I've never experienced it and I wouldn't really know anyone close to me who's experienced it to that extent. But I am very happy that I did it."
Demi said she relished the opportunity to play such a different character to The Young Offenders' Linda in the series that became a huge hit here and internationally. It was her first onscreen role.
"It's very much expression based. She doesn't say a lot. But you can already tell what she's thinking or what she's feeling, while in The Young Offenders Linda had a lot of faces that she made when Conor made a stupid remark. That was comedic whereas this one is more serious.
"That is one of my biggest fears - I don't want to become typecast as that one girl who does the comedic roles. I wanted to explore things. And that was another massive reason as to why I took the part in the short film. I didn't know it was going to be at a festival. I was like: 'Look, if I do it it's going to be under my belt. To show that I do have variety, I'm not just sticking to the one lane'."
Directed by Lia Campbell and written by Derek Ugochukwu, To All My Darlings revolves around the Nigerian community in Dublin and many of the scenes are set in their local church as the community sets out to support Adaeze and her husband.
"It was nice to see a group of black people who were from in and around the same area, who were able to share experiences and work off each other perfectly because the whole storyline is about being from a black community. I'm from a different part of Nigeria to where this woman, this character, is from. So I had to learn lines which are not in my native tongue."
Demi went from a hectic 2019 to, like most of us, a much quieter past year.
Having juggled filming the last series of The Young Offenders with taking part in Dancing With the Stars, she also managed to successfully complete her Leaving Cert.
Last year was another story entirely but she said her radio job in Cork's 96FM proved to be a godsend. She co-hosts a Saturday afternoon music show with Lorraine Murphy.
"I kept it going at school, I sat the Leaving, I did Dancing With the Stars and I did The Young Offenders, all in the same year. So like 2019 was super hectic. When I finished TYO I went straight into college to study radio.
"Going from college, to work, to 'hold on a second, the whole country's on lockdown. Pause everything right now. And do it all from home'. I was able to work from home, which is brilliant.
"I always knew that I wanted to be an actor. Acting's great when you have a job but if you don't have a job you're kind of screwed. I knew that I needed something else to put food on the table - hypothetically, I'm still living at home - but to fund going to college and so on. So that's why I took on the job in 96. And that's why I'm also studying it in college so I can come out with some form of qualification."
In recent months, Demi has supported a campaign called Anti Viral for young people during the pandemic.
She has also backed a campaign for Coca-Cola and Alone. "There's so much going on, and you want to be there for everyone in your community, regardless of their age," she says.
Now Demi's thrilled at the prospect of getting back to acting, with a new project set to begin soon (details have yet to be announced). "I really want to do acting now. I feel like I have the chance and I might as well go for it."
To All of My Darlings will screen as part of Dublin International Film Festival's shorts programme, with dozens of new feature films from Ireland and worldwide also screening. DIFF is taking place virtually this year so you can watch the movies at home, see diff.ie.
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