When I May Destroy You became one of the defining TV series of the last decade, the attention wasn’t solely on Michaela Coel. The writer, director, star, executive producer and creator surrounded herself with a wealth of major talents – among them, Weruche Opia as Arabella’s best friend Terry Pratchard. After rising through the likes of Top Boy, Bad Education, and Inside No 9, Opia’s performance as Terry saw her BAFTA-nominated for Best Supporting Actress, and with her castmates she won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Ensemble Cast In A New Scripted Series. If a career is all about choices, joining I May Destroy You was certainly the right one.
“I’ve been blessed to have made the right decisions to this point,” she tells Empire in the British New Wave issue. “I mean, I almost didn’t do I May Destroy You! But I always think about every other role that comes afterwards – you know, will it affect me positively or negatively? I’m just grateful to be in a position where I don’t have to take everything that comes my way because I need to.”
©Empire / Rosaline Shahnavaz
In the wake of the series becoming an international hit, Opia is ready to go global – she’s spent the last six months in Canada filming her first role in a Hollywood movie, Francis Lawrence’s Slumberland. And that’s just the beginning of her plans. “I want my career to be global between Nigeria, the UK and America,” she says. “I intend to have a base in each place where, when I do want to do work, if there’s a project that reaches out to me or stands out in those three places, it will always be a priority for me. Nigeria because it’s home, UK because it’s home, and Hollywood because it’s Hollywood!” The world is waiting.
This month’s issue of Empire is a massive celebration of The British New Wave, showcasing 26 incredible directors, writers and actors driving cinema into a new era. On the cover, you’ll find Bukky Bakray, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Emerald Fennell and Riz Ahmed – and the issue also features major new interviews and exclusive new photo shoots with stars such as Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù, Olivia Cooke, Jessica Yu Li Henwick, Olly Alexander, Morfydd Clark, Jessica Yu Li Henwick, and Henry Golding, and writers and directors including Krysty Wilson-Cairns, Prano Bailey-Bond, Remi Weekes, Kate Herron, Francis Lee, and Rob Savage.