Photographer & Retoucher: Marcelle Adrianna
Styling: Mariam Sonekan
HMUA: Hannah Chambers
Lighting Assistant & Digitech: Jeremiah Clarke
Set Design:Tabitha Odutayo
The fascinating Actor Dipo Ola chats to us about his role in the brilliant HBO Landscapers alongside Olivia Coleman, we couldn’t wait to interview Dipo and find out more about his life on and off the screen.
Hi Dipo, whereabouts in the world are you today?
I’m actually in Paris for a very brief moment, visiting my brother who owns a café with his long-term girlfriend here. It’s in the 14th (Arrondissement) called OLASCAFE. I try to visit as much as humanly possible, one of the perks of having a loved one who lives abroad. Go check it out!!
You star in HBO’s Landscapers this year opposite Olivia Coleman and David Thewlis, can you tell us a bit about that?
Landscapers is about a couple called Susan played by Olivia Colman and Chris play by David Thewlis who killed their parents and buried them in the back garden and then went on the run for 15 years before essentially snitching on themselves. It’s a bit mad I can’t lie. I’m fortunate to be in a project that has these two GOATS of the industry leading it.
Shirt:Ben Sherman, Trousers:Boss, Shoes: Maverick
Can you tell us a bit about your character and the role he plays in the story?
So, my character is called Douglas and he is actually based on the real life solicitor who gave legal advice to Susan. He is kind of a window into the fantasy for the audience and he provides a grounding and warmth and the real Douglas worked with producers and writers on the project. He also has real empathy towards the two main characters who he eventually, then formed a genuine and unique bond with throughout the duration of the case.
“…Chadwick Boseman: For having the black community dressed up in traditional clothing at screenings of Black Panther, sneaking in home cooked food and for finally giving our young Kings and Queens the opportunity to enjoy Halloween as either T’Challa or members of the Dora Milaje.”
Landscapers is based on true events, did you do much research into the real life story?
I did to a point! But then once I boarded the project officially, a lot of the talking points revolved around telling our own story and not presenting a new opinion on the case or seeing it as a true crime project, although that is what it is by genre. We we’re really able to tune into the work done by Ed, Will and all those that worked on the script to take those clues for the character and play with that making sure we stayed on point for the vision the team had created. When art is drawn from real life, I always refer back to the story at hand because that’s what we’re telling.
Suit: Ted Baker, Shirt: Polo Ralph
You also starred as Baba Lenga in ‘We Hunt together’ can you tell us about your experience playing this character?
Funnily enough playing the completely fictional Baba, required more research and invention. He was someone so far from me in terms of his history and his experiences that to have not done any kind of research would’ve been a disservice to the story of people like him and their lives. It’s such a common occurrence within the U.K. and the world; people escaping overseas to seek refuge and asylum in other countries, it has history. I’m an immigrant myself but I’m hugely lucky and privileged that my experience of moving to another country was simple and facilitated. Baba demanded a different approach to Douglas, and sometimes the former was very emotionally taxing to go through. I’m very fortunate because much like on Landscapers with David, Olivia and Kate. We also had the most lovely and talented cast in Hermione, Eve and Babou. So I hope that luck continues for the rest of my career.
Shirt: Fred Perry, Trousers: Boss
What made you want to become an actor?
It was a complete accident. I used to walk home with an actor friend called Eddie Robinson, when we were at school together. But one day he was auditioning for Romeo and Juliet and basically asked if I wanted to come. I did and the rest is history. I fell in love with this ability to move into another realm, a different story. My then teacher Mrs Pender basically decided for me that I should pursue Drama Schools and I then did so I actually owe a lot to those two. I got to bring Eddie to the Landscapers premiere which was a nice full circle moment for both of us, while I still need to find a way to honour my teacher for her belief she gave me.
I essentially go into acting because I wasn’t afraid to try new things.
“I also try and tell my friends I love them more, especially my male friends. I think that’s important for masculinity and emotional sensitivity in men.”
Who are your biggest inspirations?
I think I’ll always say my Parents for giving me an amazing life, my brothers for guiding me and my friends for helping me grow. I’m also inspired by God. I’ve been re-reading the bible over the last few weeks and the story is so epic, it really taps into my creative side.
I’d also like to say Hamilton and all the people that worked on it, not just because it’s an amazing piece of art and I’d love to play Aaron Burr, but I think people don’t realise what an achievement that is. Like it’s a musical for the next 100 years and I’ve seen it’s conception in my lifetime and I’ve seen the impact it’s made. Growing up I always thought the works in this industry that stood the test of time were already in existence but I think that broke the mould a little bit.
But I can’t talk inspiration without talking about these three men we’ve sadly lost over the past 2 years that have gone on to be angels and how they’ve inspired so many.
Kobe Bryant: because he had me euro stepping before throwing balls of paper into the bin and shouting ‘Kobe!”
Chadwick Boseman: For having the black community dressed up in traditional clothing at screenings of Black Panther, sneaking in home cooked food and for finally giving our young Kings and Queens the opportunity to enjoy Halloween as either T’Challa or members of the Dora Milaje.
And Virgil Abloh, a trailblazer in fashion. If you’ve ever said the words or bought something ‘off-white’ you’re honouring him and I think that’s so beautiful.
We talk a lot about legacy, inspirations and the impact we leave behind and sometimes we wonder about who we can play or who we can emulate or inspire. But sometimes, you don’t get to play the person, or emulate someone else because you’re the one that was born to inspire. You may not get to play that person but as long as you lead from love, do the right things and work hard. Somebody might just get the opportunity to play you.
Shirt: Fred Perry
What’s next for Dipo? Do you have any new projects in the pipeline?
“Well luckily for the industry there’s a lot of VERY exciting projects floating around, and for my team and I, it’s about doing the work and seeing what that brings for us and building on it. I think every actor has that fear of what’s next but I can’t actually control it so I’ve decided to embrace it. I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t anything potentially exciting on the horizon from me. But that’s for future me to take in their stride. Right now, I’m using this free time until then to work on myself, my mental health, spending time with my loved ones and nurturing my own projects and I’ll be doing so until something changes. God’s got me, so how can I worry?
At Cool America we believe in positive changes no matter how small or big -what do you do every day to make the world a better place?
Well I thank God every day for my life. I think it’s an underrated blessing. I also try and tell my friends I love them more, especially my male friends. I think that’s important for masculinity and emotional sensitivity in men. I also try to buy my friends food as much as possible and as randomly as possible. For me, the giving is the receiving. So I try to give and encourage others not to give back, but to give to someone else.
Shirt: Peregrine, Jeans: Levi’s
Which role have you found the most challenging?
I think playing Kellerman in Baghdad Central. First Jobs are actually really hard and you can be overwhelmed so easily and yeah they’re super cool and exciting but also, it’s such a high but then can be such a low if nothing else happens for a while. I’ve been told I come across as someone who is very assured in themselves but it isn’t really the case as I can’t help being anxious and having imposter syndrome. It can also be tricky because some peoples first jobs come quicker than others and it can feel hard to celebrate because it is such a privilege to be able to work in this industry, non more-so than for the first time. So it’s easy to feel like you’re doing something wrong all the time and I had that a lot on that job, I was kinda just waiting to be sent home because they realised they got the wrong guy or maybe because I wasn’t better than my meeting or my self-tape. I wish I could go back with the confidence I have now and the knowledge I have now, but that’s life. But ultimately I got the job for a reason and I got the opportunity to work with some real OG’s and legends in the game and learn from them so I wanted to be as much of a sponge to the work as possible. I think I’ve learned something for life from every job I’ve done because of this! Also a huge shoutout to Alice Troughton and Kate Rhodes-James for giving me my first job.
“If you ever see me poorly singing and playing ‘Shallow’ in public, mind your business.”
And the easiest and most natural role you’ve slipped into?
Hands down Calvin Cooke “Inside No.9”
I’m a football fan through and through and I’d still give up my career to play one game for my beloved Aston Villa! Some roles are meant to be easy, I don’t think we as Actors accept the fact that sometimes we get it all for free. It was such a blessing to be on that set, Reece and Steve are geniuses and were absolutely welcoming and I felt so comfortable being on that set. Acting football, talking football. Just perfect for me.
What’s the funniest moment you’ve experienced on a set ?
My minds gone blank so I plead the fifth.
Jumper: Peregrine, Trousers: Ed Walters
Aside from acting, what makes Dipo tick?
I dunno I live in my head a lot, sometimes reality isn’t that appealing is it? I have a lot of thoughts, and I’m an over thinker which I think is why I’m an Actor. But I also want to write because I’m quite opinionated in my feelings…oh and to produce. In fact I’m very curious about producers. At the landscapers premiere I was like to Chris Fry (an amazing AMAZING producer on the project) “I hope this doesn’t sound stupid but what does a producer do, because nobody tells you at Drama School?”
And he kinda laughed and gave this beautiful, amazing answer about bringing a team together filled with different skillsets. And I just went “so you’re kinda like Nick Fury?”
And 1) I’m not actually sure why I decided to say that, I think it proves kinda how I go on tangents and how my mind works
And 2) it was actually a nice moment, because I think I like to put myself in positions to learn without judgement or bad intention, and in the end it was a connection. I’m a really curious person, which goes hand in hand with the overthinking but I love making connections with people who are just really nice, really honest and really giving. I’ve been very fortunate to have many of those connections around me.
What do you get up to in your spare time?
MUSIC AND PLAYSTATION 4 (sorry XBOX) I play games religiously, I love them so much because for me they’re the best storytelling experience in existence. The Last of Us 1&2? Inject it in my veins, expeditiously. In fact I wish I could erase those games from memory so I can experience them for the first time again because that first play is of a great game is *chefs kiss*. Music is also a huge part of my existence, I even make it from time to time in secret, but my music isn’t very good. I just like the creative freedom without any pressure so I make one song a year and pat myself on the back. I’m also into writing, I’m trying to write a fantasy novel at the moment. I’m also trying to learn the keyboard in the hope I can I play it and sing it on one of the pianos dotted around central London….actually that would be a good Reality TV show wouldn’t it?
If you ever see me poorly singing and playing ‘Shallow’ in public, mind your business.
Suit: Ted Baker, Shirt: Polo Ralph, Shoes: Steve Madden
What’s your favourite film ever ?
You’re wrong for this! I love too many, my range is wild. I go from Marvel, to City of God and end up on High School Musical.
If I had to pick….
I’d say Drive by Nicolas Winding-Refn. For me it had everything I’ve always wanted to do in a movie and I really think it’s what Cinema should aim for. Originality, Boldness and Heart.
What’s your favourite outfit ?
I don’t have any, I do that thing when every 3 months I hate all my clothes, donate my old ones and order new ones online.
Shirt: Ben Sherman, Trousers: Boss
What do you find cool about America?
The Landscapes. It’s such a huge and beautiful country. I went to LA pre-covid and hired a car and drove around just taking in the sights and marvelling at how Romantic the city can be bow how it really was something out of a movie. Went on the hikes, to the beach…the hills. I loved it. I will be back!
And finally tell us what’s cool about you?
Sadly nothing is very cool about me. I’m actually pretty boring and I’m such a homebody, I don’t really leave the house. I think the coolest thing about me is that I have the same birthday as my Pops, so technically I was a ‘gift’. Does that count?
Credit: Landscapers is now available on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW