Interview with Olisa Odele who plays Yemi

Category: Press Pack Article

What is Big Boys and who is Yemi?

I'm sure we've all been answered this question in different ways. For me, Big Boys is about unlikely friendships. These are people who without the glue of Jack or the situation of university, would not have become friends. But because of those things we get to see them fall in love, do life with each other and all the deliciousness that brings. Yemi is very confident in his identity and sexuality, he’s an ambitious fashion student and president of the LGBTQ+ society. He’s always doing his hustle while socially and emotionally investing in new people, I think each episode he invests a little bit more. Yemi reveals things about himself in moments to help someone. There are three different moments in the show where he personally reveals things, he won't be like ‘oh, I went through this and here's my story’. He doesn't need to do that. He's so beyond that. There's precedent, in a moment where it feels like – ‘when I explain this part of myself, you understand this about yourself’ especially with Jack and Danny. I feel like his season one relationship with Jack was like an advisor in the sense.

Do you think Yemi feels a sense of responsibility to guide Jack after coming out?

I think he does, but not in the way that I'm going to hold your hand, I don't think that’s useful. It’s more I need you to go and have experiences, I've given you my thoughts, now go and get some d*ck. Like you're an attractive Caucasian white boy, the world is built for you. The things that Yemi has been through being a black queer means that there are parts of Jack's journey that are different. There’s definitely empathy and support but it's not the same experience. It's very much like you go do your thing and flirt with a cute guy. Even though he's giving off the exterior like I don't care for your business, he’s watching out for what choices Jack is going to make, I feel like if Jack went too far Yemi would be the first person to question it.  

And what about the dynamic with the other characters?

Some of the stuff that Corinne goes through are not things that Yemi has. It's the first time you see him walking through things that he's not really experienced himself. He doesn't want to say the wrong thing. It is very much uncharted territory which he takes very seriously and wants to get it right. He wants to support her. And when it comes to the whole gang - I think they all either needed to find a family or understand the value of family. In the same way that the character Jack brings us together, the real Jack has brought all of us together in the same way, there's a real friendship amongst the cast in this show which is unlike anything I've ever experienced before. There's real support going on behind the camera that carries through on screen. We are so connected to the vision and the story and seeing each other’s greatness. I think the interpersonal relationships amongst us all that we've developed over the years really show, add that to the writing, and the story at the core of this show, where you have something that really matters to Jack, but also matters to all of us – it makes a real difference.

What’s your standout moment from filming Big Boys?

I remember one day filming a scene with Harriet, Izuka, Camille and Annette and I just stopped acting, I was just watching them like, f**king hell – they are beasts, I’m so lucky to be here watching them, watching their artistry – it makes you want to be your best. There's also a scene we filmed in the blue shed where the bloopers that day are outrageous. Like we had to stop, we really stopped filming which hasn’t happened because you know, we’re professional, but there were things that happened on that day, things that were said… I’m begging release the blooper reel. There's a particular scene with Dylan, Jon, and Izuka in the blue shed that was one of the funniest days I've ever had on set. And I think people need to see the unedited version. I want to have it out there so I can have it and look at it for the rest of my life and never forget that day.