By Michelle Tiwo
Young, ambitious and sometimes reckless
Beginning her career in 2009, Letitia Wright has worked her way up the industry ladder. From online commercials to Holby City to the red carpet, Wright is going from strength to strength.
Now aged 17, the actress is one of the leads in the four-part drama, which premiers at the end of this month, as well as starring in actor, Idris Elba’s production Victim.
Top Boy, set in East London, looks at the lives of the young, ambitious and sometimes reckless. Ashley Walters and Kano’s characters, Dushane and Sully, run the local gang in Summerhouse estate, and try to prove they’ve got what it takes to be top boys. But their actions have consequences for all the people around them.
Emotional and intense
Being the only girl in a dominantly male gang usually means you’re the leader’s girlfriend or a tag along, and it’s rarely shown any other way in the UK’s urban film genre.
However, according to Wright, her character breaks the mould.
She says, “Chantelle is funny. She’s a joker, she’s fearless and she doesn’t have a female figure to look up to. So as a way to make quick money she hangs around with the boys.
“Most of the scenes are really emotional and intense and when it comes to Chantelle, it is almost like she is the comic relief of the show.
“She’s accepted. She chills with boys, she mingles with them, she has to do what they say, but at the same time they respect her.”
Her character in Victim, Nyla, is the complete opposite as she describes her as “very outspoken and more emotional.” “She has a heart and she’s just a kid that really just wants love and she knows right from wrong,” says Letitia.
Don’t take no for an answer
With another film, Brothers, out next year and heading to the top film festivals, Wright is hopeful that it won’t be long before we see her in a multimillion sci-fi film like Avatar.
“Soon you’ll see me in a massive feature film and on your TVs and know what I’m all about.”
She explains that she has never given up on her dream and anyone who wants to follow down the same path shouldn’t either.
“I still don’t think I’m in a position to inspire anyone. I’m only just starting out and still have a lot more to achieve in my career. But what I will say is, don’t take no for an answer from anyone.
“People will always say you can’t do something. When you want to go for a certain role they’ll tell you ‘no, you can’t do that’ but the minute you do it, they congratulate you.”
Top Boy premiers on October 31 at 9pm on Channel 4.