Sophie Okonedo revels in her guest appearance in Sinbad as a cannibal queen with murderous intentions…
How would you describe Razia, the terrifying warrior queen who captures Sinbad and his friends?
“I’d say my character is a cross between Medusa and Eartha Kitt – or at least, that’s who I was channelling! Razia is queen of the water thieves and they all worship her.”
Was it fun being worshipped?
“I had so much fun being queen! The first day of filming was the most memorable for me. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the character. When I walked onto the extraordinary set to do my first scene all the water thieves bowed down and started worshipping me – and we hadn’t even started filming! It took me by surprise and I got into the role immediately!”
So you didn’t have to prepare much for the role, then?
“The wonderful Make-Up and Costume Departments gave me a lot of her, and I just played around in front of the camera and had fun with it. It’s great playing a baddie!”
Did working in Malta add to your enjoyment?
“Filming in Malta was lovely. The people were very warm – as was the weather! After the dreary weather in London it was nice to go somewhere with such a beautiful sky and light. But as I was mostly filming at night, I slept all day so didn’t get a to see much of Malta.”
Was it easy to get along with the rest of the cast?
“The main cast had already been filming for some time before I arrived in Malta and I have to say they were extraordinary. Such a talented bunch and really committed to the project – it was a privilege to work with them. They had also really bonded and were very supportive of each other. It felt like a little family – and they let me join them for a week.”
What do you think is the enduring quality of fairy tales and myths?
“I think myths and fairy tails are necessary to help us understand and interpret the darker, stickier aspects of our nature. Sometimes it is easier to understand less digestible parts of ourselves through fairy tales and myths – they bring colour, meaning, creativity and ultimately understanding.”
Catch Sophie Okonedo in Sinbad on Sunday July 15 at 7pm on BBC1.