Check out our exclusive interview with the stars of “Blue Story”, Stephen Odubola, and Karla-Simone Spence!
“Blue Story”, a feature film adaptation of Rapman’s YouTube series, follows two best friends, Marco and Timmy, who attend the same high school in south-east London. When Marco is beaten up by Timmy’s primary school friends, they become rivals in a never-ending cycle of gang war in south-east London. Stephen Odubola stars as Timmy and Karla-Simone Spence plays Leah, Timmy’s moral compass, and love interest. We got a chance to speak with both of them and get their thoughts on filming the movie, check it out below!
The Knockturnal: What pulled you into this story? It’s so raw and gritty but it also has a message. What part about the story made you sign on?
Stephen Odubola: I was quite familiar with Rapman, I knew about his YouTube short films and I was very aware of the message he was trying to put out because I’ve seen the YouTube version. When I saw that it had a positive message to it, I instantly wanted to get on board because there aren’t many stories like this being told.
Karla-Simone Spence: For me, I was interested because she wasn’t just a token character which can happen with films like this with females. She’s very much the voice of the film, she’s the moral compass and she’s very strong-willed and stands up for Timmy which I really love.
The Knockturnal: Can you talk about filming in the confined space, the truck scene towards the end of the movie? What was it like working around the cameras but also being so emotionally concentrated?
Stephen Odubola: It was difficult. I really tried my hardest to get into the character of Timmy and get into that mindset of someone who is about to die. So it was difficult and just shooting it was emotional. It made me feel like someone who was really in that situation.
The Knockturnal: What do you know about the south-east part of London that helped frame your understanding and perspective of the role?
Karla-Simone Spence: I grew up in south-east London, but Leah pretty much reminds me of me. She was innocent, very studious, she wasn’t involved with the life, it was just happening around her and that’s the case for many people in London. It’s just happening around you, you’re just kind of indirectly affected by it.
Stephen Odubola: I was brought up in south-east London, born and raised there so I was very familiar with the story he was trying to put out there and the atmosphere and characters of south-east London. So, I kind of just used what I know to get into the character of Timmy.
The Knockturnal: Your character has such a beautiful singing voice, which we discover later in the movie. Was that your actual voice and was it always written into the role that you’d get to showcase it?
Karla-Simone Spence: Yeah, it was me! I had to sing at my audition and I had to sing on set. It was very funny, I was just sitting there and I was like “Oh, time to break out into song.” But yeah, I like singing and it was a part of the role.
The Knockturnal: There’s a chilling image with Timmy and Leah at the end of the major fight scene and I think it lands home and serves as a huge turning point. How did you two prepare on set to bring that portion of the film to life, from showing the chemistry between you two to learning the fighting sequence?
Stephen Odubola: It was kind of funny. We didn’t know each other before so what Rapman did was he kind of just took me and Karla on this date and just left us there to try and get us to know each other. By doing that we started to get to know each other and became more comfortable with each other. After that it just flowed, it was easy.
The Knockturnal: How long did it take to get the fighting sequences right?
Stephen Odubola: We had some combat training at rehearsals so by the time we got onto the set we were prepared and it didn’t really take that long.
The Knockturnal: Without spoiling the ending, what were your thoughts about the way the film ended? It’s the ending I think we all anticipated but still didn’t expect…
Karla-Simone Spence: Well for me, when I watched it I knew what was happening but it’s really heart-wrenching. You can kind of feel like it’s coming but you just don’t want it to happen. I felt like its really important because it really just hits hard with the audience.
The Knockturnal: Michal Ward’s character, Marco has a moment towards the end where he’s sort of recalling every step he made and the timing allows a deep reflection even for the viewers. What was your reflection/reaction after watching the film and finally seeing the full picture, also having all of the characters’ motives reveal themselves?
Stephen Odubola: You know, it’s different because when you’re filming you feel like you know the whole story, but watching the picture as a whole, you actually see each character go on a journey and you become familiar with them, you don’t feel like you’re the one acting. That’s what really gets you because you start relating, you start empathizing and yeah, it just got me.
Karla-Simone Spence: For me, I felt like I was watching the whole film with like, bated breath; I couldn’t breathe. I laughed in the same places, I jumped in the same places even though I know it’s coming. Especially the experience in the cinema, it’s very interactive with the audience and people really go through the rollercoaster of emotions.
The Knockturnal: These characters put their life on the line for the one/s they love, and even though they are just in high school, the love is still strong. Did you have a high school sweetheart or a first crush you’re willing to share/ talk about?
Stephen Odubola: Nah, not the way Timmy did, unfortunately. But yeah, obviously you’re a young boy, you have a crush on so many girls. We won’t get into that.
Karla-Simone Spence: Well I know what it’s like to be in love and it’s a weird thing. Without spoiling it, there’s this part where Leah really goes to the defense of Timmy and in most cases, a lot of people would not do that because it is a scary thing to do. It’s just showing what people would do for the ones they love, I think, is really prevalent in the film.
The Knockturnal: Knowing that the film has and will cause some controversy, what are you hoping people will take away from its ending?
Stephen Odubola: Yeah, we’ve always said that in this film we don’t aim to glorify violence in any shape or form. Any act of violence doesn’t go unpunished. We just want people to be educated in the sense that anybody can get caught up in it. We saw Timmy come from a loving Christian home and get caught up in the lifestyle because of certain circumstances.
Karla-Simone Spence: And most importantly, it is art and everyone has the right to tell their truth and it is the truth of many people in London and around the world and it is loosely based around an event in Rapman’s life. So yeah, just telling stories is the most important thing.
The Knockturnal: There’s a sweet moment with Timmy and Leah when they “watch” Game of Thrones together. Do you watch Game of Thrones? If not, what’s a binge-worthy show you’re as enthusiastic about?
Stephen Odubola: I definitely watch Game of Thrones. That’s one show I always recommend!
Karla-Simone Spence: Always. I’m not team Lannister though. Absolutely not.
Blue Story will be available to purchase or rent beginning on May 5 on PARTICIPATING DIGITAL PLATFORMS | Apple TV, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, Sony PlayStation Video, FandangoNOW, and more.
* Availability of bonus content varies by digital retailer.