Meet Hammed Animashaun who plays Kay in BBC One's Black Ops
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How did you get involved in this project?
It’s quite a funny one. Just before the pandemic I met AK at an event and I've always been a big fan of AK’s for the longest time, and Gbemi’s – I would just watch from afar. Anyway, we met for the first time and exchanged contact details, and then quite soon afterwards he messaged me, “There's a script I want you to read. Do you want to read it?” And I was like, “Yeah sure, I’ll read it.” So, he sends me a script, I thought it was hilarious and I text him going, “Thanks for the script, I think it’s really funny.” And he was like, “I’m really glad, there’s a read through I would like you to be a part of, could you attend?” And I was like, “Yeah, I can attend, like maybe as an audience member or whatever.” And he replied, “No, as Kay.” I was like, “Okay, sure, sure” thinking that I was helping out somebody who I admired.
What at the read through?
When I turned up, there was all these really important people – I didn’t realise how big it was because he played it down really well. He was just like, “It's just a small thing” but it really wasn't, it was this huge deal. And I did the read through and then a couple of weeks later, he was like, “Oh, are you free to shoot the pilot?” And I was like, “Oh, yep, sure, I'm free.” Again, not thinking anything of it. So, we shot the pilot in six days and then I went about my business. I was doing other projects and then called me in to do ADR for the pilot, and then he was like, “Yeah so the show's been commissioned.” I was like, “Oh my gosh, congratulations! That's so huge for you and Gbemi.” And then he said, “So, do you want to do it?”
Were you shocked?
Yeah! I mean there was not one point where I thought I'm a part of this thing. I just hoped that somebody who I really admired, down the line, we would work together. It didn't really compute in my head that I was actually working with him or collaborating with him during all those moments. So, I was really taken aback.
How would you describe your character, Kay?
He’s the nicest guy you would ever meet, but also the most naive and gullible. He can't help it, he just sees the good in everyone but that gets him in trouble throughout the series. He’s a very God-fearing man and that helps him a lot in the series as well. It also kind of hinders him, but he is who he is, and he never shies away from that.
Why did he become a PCSO?
I think he just wants to help people. You know coming from the church and being like, “Help yourself by helping other people.” If there’s some way he can be at one with the community, this is the perfect job for him to do it. So, it was a no brainer for Kay to become a PCSO.
What attracted you to the role?
The prospect of working with Gbemisola and AK, because I'm such huge fans of them. And, also, the authenticity of it, I was able to play somebody who was like a version of me – you know, Kay’s Nigerian-ness, and being able to play that and be true to that part of him. Also, you don't really see a buddy cop comedy thriller with two black leads on TV, that was very appealing to me as well – the idea that that was a possibility, that it could happen. I was like, “Yeah, I definitely want to be a part of that” especially on a platform like the BBC. I just thought, you don't you see that very often and to be in that conversation, or to be a part of that world, I was definitely intrigued by that. I think as a show, even though it’s really funny and dark at times, I think it will get people talking.
Are there any similarities between you and Kay?
I think Kay is very similar to the younger me. In a sense that he chooses to see the good in people and wants everyone to be happy. But I feel like if you cross Kay the first time, then he will give you another chance. With me, you’ve got one chance and then I’m walking!
What's the dynamic like between him and Dom?
Gbemi gave it a name, a ‘bro-sis-mance’. It's a very tumultuous sibling relationship. And I think that's another thing we’ve touched upon in the show, it's not a romance. You see a duo together and you always have that thing of will-they-won’t-they, whereas in this show it’s definitely, absolutely not!
They’re definitely more like brother and sister.
Yeah, they are like siblings, they bicker, and they don't get on, but there is love there – a platonic love that can't be broken, especially on the journey they go through in the show. So, yes, the dynamics between Dom and Kay are very interesting because it's Dom very much beating him down and Kay is like, “No, but, but, but…” It's just really cool. And working with Gbemi, that's definitely something I can tick off the bucket list because I think she's one of the best out there. Not just an actor, writer, creator, but an all-round creative. To be able to spend time with her and work with her and be on set with her, I learned so much. I hope you can see the chemistry on screen as well, because we had a really good time, and we couldn't stop laughing.
Kay just wants to be Dom’s friend, but she constantly rejects him, doesn’t she?
100%. He wants them to be a partnership but she's only working with him because she's forced to. It’s those two opposing forces. It's really funny to watch on screen because she's just trying to palm him off all the time.
At one point she calls him a chocolate teapot, which is unkind, but also untrue. It hurts him to think that someone he cares about thinks of him that way. It does bother him, and it sits with him for a long time because he wants to be helpful, and he wants to make a difference. But when someone he truly admires and cares about says something like that about him, it eats away at him a little bit. It comes out early on in the series and he says, “I’m not a chocolate teapot, I can do stuff” and evidently, he can’t… until he does.
Is he excited to go undercover?
He's excited to go undercover with Dom and he's excited about the accolades that he could probably get at the end. I don't think he really understands what he's getting himself into. I think as long as he’s working with his best friend and he gets some sort of prize at the end for his work, then he's in – but I don't think he really gauges what's happening.
There's a conflict between his job and his faith, which he begins to question because of his pastor, doesn’t he?
Yeah, again, it comes back to his naivety, but like I said he’s a very God-fearing man and nothing can shake his faith. But then when he starts to question his pastor, everything starts to flip, and he starts to question things more. Things are not as simple as they used to be, things are more complicated. For Kay things are very much black and white and when you start to add a bit of grey, he starts to get really confused.
What can you tell us about the situation with his pastor?
It starts to rear its head in episode three. He doesn't feel like he's been manipulated or used or anything like that. He feels like he's doing good because there's a man of God who's telling him to do these things, and he’s like, “Well, I have to do these things in order to stay a good person.” And, so, when he realises that those things are not necessarily true, I think he starts to see the world in a different way. As the series goes on, he starts to question things that he never used to question before. I think it's funny, but it also changes Kay, in a way. It makes him a better officer in some ways as before he never questioned anything, and now he asks a couple of questions. So, yeah, episode three is definitely a turning point for Kay.
In the first episode, there's a funny scene where Kay gets his bum out. Did you have a stunt bum double, or was that you?
So, when I read that in the script, I was like, “I'm doing it. I'm doing that stunt.” And then they were like, “Okay, okay, sure Hammed, we can do that if you want to do it.” And I was like, “Great, I'm in!” And then we actually shot that in Luton Town Centre and there was like a crowd of people. I was ready to do it, I was so on it, and then they turned and said “For health and safety reasons we can't allow you to do it. So, we're going to get you a stunt double.”
What health and safety?
I don't know, but because there is a police car doing donuts in the street at high speed, I completely understood that for health and safety reasons maybe I shouldn't be in that car. So, I did have a bum stunt double but I want everyone to know I was willing to get my bum out. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again!
Filming seemed a lot of fun, were there any other stand out moments?
All the stuff on the estate was really fun to do, me and Gbemi improvised a lot. But there was one day in particular on the estate, we're shooting a scene and we had some supporting artists with us, and they’re all great on the show, really cool. But there was one day when we had a couple of supporting artists who were really good at their job – maybe too good. Me and Gbemi were doing a scene and in the background all we heard was [makes groaning noise] and we were like, “What?” We carried on and we just kept hearing these like groaning sounds and I couldn't help it, I had to turn around. And these supporting artists who were acting as drug addicts were looking like they were coming out of The Walking Dead. And it was just, like, the wildest thing I've ever seen. They were really going for it, really like dragging their foot along. I just burst out laughing, I couldn’t hold it in. Hopefully they'll keep those as bloopers because it was hilarious. But yeah, there were so many great moments, it was good fun. We just didn't stop laughing.
Who’s the first to corpse?
Me, because the majority of the time I'm trying to get Gbemi to laugh, but she just doesn't crack. There was a couple of times I got her to a laugh. A couple.
Finally, do you think there could be a second series?
I don't know, no one's told me anything. I would love to do another series; I would say yes in a heartbeat.
Black Ops debuts on BBC One on Friday 5th May at 9:30pm.
The six-part series will then continue airing episodes at the same time each Friday evening.
Source BBC One
April 27, 2023 4:00am ET by BBC One