The Strays’ Ashley Madekwe talks lack of opportunities for Black actors

Black British horror movies are few and far between – but Netflix is trying to change that. Ashley Madekwe – previously BAFTA nominated for her supporting role in 2019’s County Lines – plays Neve, a woman who abandons a previous life and becomes the headmaster of a private school. It’s a complicated role – and a rare one, the actor says. The Strays is streaming on Netflix now.

Video transcript

JACK SHEPHERD: I feel like, especially, Black British horror movies are quite few and far between. But Netflix is profiling this, "His House." Does it feel like there has been a change, a positive change, in the industry at all with those kind of things being made more?

JORDEN MYRIE: Yeah, definitely. I think there's more diversity in the stories that we're telling and the characters that are in that. I think, as well, with making more content and more films, there's more chance to tell different stories.

ASHLEY MADEKWE: Yeah, there's more space for them, yeah.

JACK SHEPHERD: Are you seeing more opportunities out there then?

ASHLEY MADEKWE: Yes and no. I think that-- unfortunately, I think sometimes leading roles are still not as prevalent as, perhaps, I would like them to be. And that's just because I think sometimes, we're not telling stories from a Black perspective. Sometime-- there are a lot more-- there are a lot more Black characters in stories, but not always are the stories told from a Black perspective.


ASHLEY MADEKWE: And from any ethnicity's perspective, I guess, is a fairer way to put it.

JACK SHEPHERD: Why do you think that is? Why aren't we seeing those perspectives?

ASHLEY MADEKWE: I think it starts from behind the camera. I think there has been a push to put more people of color in front of the camera. But really, it's going to have to start from behind. Who's getting the chance to tell the stories? And so I think it's great that someone like Nathaniel, who has a really strong voice and a clear vision, is getting a chance to tell a story like this.