Hope Ikpoku – The First Interview
Hope Ikpoku – The First Interview
So I met up with Hope at Muscle Base Gym, and I was so excited to interview him! I was a bit nervous but that subsided when I met Hope, he instantly gave off this cool, calm vibe.
We sat down and I introduced myself and explained briefly what it is that I do and that we could conduct this interview at his pace and on his time. I think it is very important to establish this as Hope is still in sixth form and has experienced his life changing overnight at such a young age.
As an adult interviewing a young actor the approach and comfortability is paramount. This was Hope’s first interview and I wanted to make this a positive experience for him.
A little bit about Hope:
I grew up in Hackney, born and raised in Homerton and I currently study at sixth form balancing my studies and acting career.
Sam: When did you start acting and how did you get into it?
Hope: I used to act when I was younger, I used to go to performing arts where we did dancing, singing and acting when I was about 11. I was in a theatre play of ‘Beauty and the Beast‘ but I stopped acting for a while after that. I only recently got back into it when ‘Top Boy‘ was coming back. I joined the Silvia Young agency and from there that’s when I got the Top Boy audition.
Sam: So that happened quite quick then?
Hope: Yeah it was quite quick, that was last year January when I joined Silvia Young, and then the ‘Top Boy‘ auditions were around May/June.
Sam: So was ‘Beauty and the Beast‘ your first acting role?
Hope: Yeah it was a full length play, it wasn’t a major talking role it was more dancing.
Sam: And was that your first introduction to musical theatre?
Hope: Yeah it was, I think I was 9/10 years old.
Sam: Who were your inspirations, who made you think yeah I want to act and do what they do?
Hope: Erm, from back in the day, Damson Idris, now it’s more John Boyega, Daniel Kaluuya or actors that are more my age and from similar backgrounds.
Sam: What is something you have experienced in the entertainment industry that you wouldn’t have experienced somewhere else?
Hope: I’ll say it’s more the fame, I’ll be walking down the road, going shop and stuff and people will stop me. Even if I’m just going shopping for normal clothes people will say the same sentence “Oh are you on Top Boy?” and I say yes and they give me discounts and things like that. It’s changed, just because I’ve been on the show really, it’s changed everything. I think that is one of the main things that I wouldn’t have experienced if I wasn’t in this industry.
Sam: Are you enjoying all the benefits?
Hope: Yeah, but it took adjusting.
Sam: So going through that transition and adjusting, how did you find it? Was it hard to deal with?
Hope: It wasn’t that it was hard, it was just unexpected, so obviously people were saying “Ah Yeah when it comes out your gonna blow!” But it’s different when people say it’s going to happen, and then it actually happens. I think the first week it came out I went to a charity basketball match, which was the day after ‘Top Boy‘ came out – It came out on the Friday and then the charity match was on Saturday. Literally the day after it came out people were already coming up to me asking for pictures and saying “Ah I’ve seen you, I’ve only watched like one episode but I’ve seen you in it” and its just crazy how it changes so quickly… Thursday nobody knew who I was, Top Boy came out Friday and then Saturday everyone knew who I was!
Sam: I’m guessing you must have had quite a few conversations with the older actors during the filming of Top Boy, what was the best piece of advice you received?
Hope: The main piece of advice I took was from Ashley (Walters) and he said “Be nice to everyone” and thats more inside work than outside, like whenever you’re on set, everyone you speak to on set. If you’re interacting with the crew, make up, lighting etc just be nice and polite. Whenever we was on set Ashley had this energy about him, it was very good for the crew.
Sam: You played the role of Aaron in Top Boy, is his character similar to how you are as a person?
Hope: Yeah I think we are similar, especially where I come from Hackney, there are a lot of people that I know, that are my age, that are involved in that culture. But, me, I’ve always wanted to go to school and focus on other stuff rather than get involved in that lifestyle. That is literally Aaron’s whole storyline, he wants to excel at uni, stay out of trouble and keep his head down so yeah I think I am very similar to him in that way.
Sam: When you were told that you had the part, how did you feel?
Hope: I didn’t know how to feel, I couldn’t even fully process it… I was on NCS and my agent called me and said “yeah they’re gonna call you” and no one had been told anything yet. They called me and said they were offering me the role of Aaron. I froze and I didn’t know what to say I was just like “Yeah, yeah, cool, ok?!” After I was like WOW. I didn’t fully deep it at the time.
Sam: Are you currently taking on any other acting roles?
Hope: Yeah, I just finished filming for Bulletproof which will be coming out early 2020 – I’m guest starring in an episode, it was good to work alongside Ashley (Walters) again. Quite a lot of the crew from ‘Top Boy‘ were involved, so it was a nice environment to work in again.
I’m also starring in a film that I have the lead role in, also coming out early 2020 it’s called Faith. I haven’t finished filming that yet, we’ve done most of the scenes but it’s not finished yet.
Sam: So we will all have to keep an eye out for your feature and first lead role in Faith. Do you have any funny BTS moments you’d like to share with us?
hope: Anytime that I was with Michael (Jamie – Top Boy) and Araloyin (Stefan – Top Boy) we always made jokes, we had probably the best chemistry, because I already knew Araloyin from school and Michael’s cousin goes to the same school as well so we already knew of each other. We just got on really well, and behind the scenes, off set or while we were waiting to film a scene we’d just have banter and mess around.
Sam: Do you have any passion’s outside of acting?
Hope: I’d like to get into writing, I do English A levels so I’ve always enjoyed writing stories. I like writing and watching films, I don’t like reading books much, but I like writing scripts.
Sam: Finishing up the interview now, I have one last question, it’s an obligatory music industry question… What is your favourite track right now?
Hope: It’s gotta be ‘Must Be – J Hus‘ I like that song.
It was great to meet and interview Hope Ikpoku – A real level headed guy with a bright future! Follow Hope Ikpoku here and make sure you stay updated for the release of bulletproof and Hope’s lead role in ‘Faith’.
Post by: Sammi Swinton