Sheyi Cole was still in his first year of drama school when he saw the casting call for Small Axe.
Small Axe is Steve McQueen’s new anthology series streaming on Amazon Prime. The series follows five stories of the West Indian experience in London over different decades. Even though auditioning for professional roles while still in school was “frowned upon”, Cole knew this was a once in a lifetime chance to get himself in front of Steve McQueen. Luckily for him, this was a risk that paid off.
Sheyi Cole beat out hundreds of other young men for the role of Alex Wheatle in the movie of the same name. Alex Wheatle is the fourth film in the Small Axe series, and it details the author’s life growing up in London’s foster care system before moving to a youth hostel in Brixton where he developed his crucial rocker sound. After being arrested during the Brixton riots, Wheatle met a Rastafarian, Simeon, who helped him change his path and influence him into the person he is today. Cole sat down with The Knockturnal to talk about how he felt when he learned he got the role and what it means to him to be a part of Small Axe.