In Conversation: Heather Agyepong
Q&A with star of Prime Video's new series, The Power, Heather Agyepong.
The Power is a global thriller based on Naomi Alderman’s award-winning novel. Suddenly teenage girls develop the power to electrocute people at will. Following characters from London to Seattle, Nigeria to Eastern Europe, the Power evolves from a tingle in teenagers’ collarbones to a complete reversal of power balance.
What was the casting process like? Had you heard of/read Naomi Alderman’s book previously?
It was a mixture of individual auditions and a chemistry test. I read the book when I had my first audition and was blown away. The way in which Naomi spoke about women, power and how that would look like around different cultures was super refreshing. Ndudi is a new character to the story so it was such a joy to collaborative create her with the writers.
You’ve done quite a bit of theatre work, married with your work as a photographer and multi-disciplinary artist. How different is your process off stage?
I think with my art work it’s creating a radical sense of empathy with a character and thinking about energy. The energy is communicated amongst a bigger surface area in theatre were film and TV is more localised. With my visual art work, that radical empathy is towards myself, digging into who I am and the energy is centralised to myself.
Your character Ndudi is highly inquisitive and takes no nonsense. How close do you feel to her personality wise?
I think Ndudi is so brave but is also a transformer. You will see in the series that she turned pain and voicelessness into something really beautiful. She's also an activist and speaks truth to power so she’s a really inspiring character to play.
The Power gives a global feel to Prime’s content - how much time did you spend abroad and what did you get up on your down days?
Filming took a long time because we had to break during the pandemic and it was filmed all over the world. I filmed in South Africa and Canada and I do really well in the sun, thankfully. I remember doing a day bike ride with a friend in the sun in Vancouver and it was the best day.
The show is all about giving women and young girls the power to fight back - how closely, if at all, do you think it relates to the modern day societal issues we face?
I mean, look at any country across the world and women are being oppressed within education, free speech, body autonomy. I mean I could go on and on. It’s an urgent conversation about patriarchy and how it affects everyone and if we can imagine a different world.
Obviously episodes 1 - 3 have now dropped and we know that she was one of the first to experience and investigate the phenomenon. What can we expect from Ndudi in the series?
She goes away to figure out what she needs. She rests and regroups and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised when you see her next.
Did you learn anything cool from the rest of the wider cast/any fun stories on set?
Nigerian jollof is actually alright.
What else can we look forward to seeing you in this year?
I have an exhibition at Centre for British Photography called Wish You Were Here and Ego Death at Belfast Exposed till 20th May.
You can catch The Power on Amazon Prime every Friday.