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Interview | Josh Tedeku

June 27, 2024 7 min read



The South London-set Netflix smash is a fresh take on the superhero genre, and the 21-year-old actor is at its heart.


Photography by Alex Ingram, styling by Pricilla Owusu-Ansah, grooming by Tarik Bennafla


Earlier this year, Josh Tedeku stole audiences' hearts with his warm and quick-witted portrayal of schoolboy Jaheim in the hit BBC comedy, Boarders. “In a cast full of characters who are somewhat caricatures and larger than life, I wanted Jaheim to be grounded and play the real-life element of his story while also having lots of fun with it. People really warmed to him, and I really love that.” Fast-forward a few months, and the 21-year-old can now be seen swapping school scholarships for superpowers, starring as troubled South-Londoner, Tazer, in Netflix sci-fi triumph, Supacell.

Penned by renowned British screenwriter Rapman (Shiro’s Story, Blue Story), the deftly-executed drama approaches the superhero genre with a degree of realism it’s not often associated with. It’s a refreshed lexicon that sees the show, situated in South London, richly documenting its five-strong cast of leads’ kaleidoscopic daily lives, with challenges spanning the supernatural and all-too-real kind at play. They each navigate the fate of being granted a superpower, whether they like it or not, (Tazer’s being invisibility), but realities of sickle cell disease and knife crime are among issues also given airtime. “It was a big change [from Boarders] and so fun to explore,” Tedeku says. “I had so much fun playing around with the wires and the green screen. Tazer is very different from Jaheim, but I always enjoy that variety.”

With two seismic 2024 projects already graced with Tedeku’s acting chops, it’s unsurprising that he’s a man with sights firmly set on the long road ahead. “There are so many people I admire who love what they do and love their craft,” he says. “I want to keep working with people who really care about their work and dive into their brains.”

Tedeku speaks to us about how he actively campaigned for a role inSupacell, his love for the sci-fi genre, and the continuing importance of Black representation on screen.



Hi Josh, how’s your year going so far?
Well, it's been a bit weird, obviously, because I had Boarderscome out in February, so just dealing with all of that in the first half of the year was fun. The reaction to it wasn't expected in a way, but everybody really took to it very well. People have been supporting us outside, and just being able to be proud of that work has been nice. But yeah, I've been going on a lot of holidays, just trying to reset, because we knew that we were going back to do season two in the summer. So before getting back to work, I just wanted to enjoy it. Now everything's gearing up with Supacell and going back to [Boarders] season two at the same time, so it's all work, work, work right now.

Congratulations on Supacell! How did you first get involved in the project?
Like a year before auditions, I saw Rapman post on his Instagram that he was casting something for Netflix, so I screen-shotted it and sent it to my agent. I was like, ‘Yo, get me in this room now! One year on, I didn't know it was auditioning, but one of my friends asked me to help him audition for a show called, Supacell. So I went to harass my agent. I got to take a look at the brief, where I saw that my character was in a gang and I wasn’t really keen on that, but then he explained all the layers to him and how the superpowers come into it, and I was sold. It was the best decision I could've made.

Supacell is a completely different beast from Boarders, especially with it being rooted in the sci-fi/superhero genre. Do you consider yourself a sci-fi fan?
Yeah, I'm a big sci-fi fan, man. Nobody ever expects it, but growing up, Doctor Whowas one of my favourite shows; it's still one of my favourite shows. I like superheroes, Marvel, DC. Right now my favourite shows are Invincible and The Boys. It's such an escape, and you can do so many cool things with it. So going into Supacell was like, ‘I’m finally getting to play a superhero,’ but then I had to realise these characters aren't superheroes; they just happen to have superhuman powers. These people are very self-indulgent, especially Tazer, and it's really just a story about what you would do if you got superpowers in real life and how to navigate that.

There’s a particular uniqueness to this show as it's entirely a Black story about Black superheroes by a Black creative, which is such a rarity in regard to representation both on and behind the screens. How was that experience for you?
Oh, it was definitely huge. Just stepping onto the set, I felt much more comfortable and more at home. In terms of vibe, it’s probably the best I’ve stepped onto. It was so easy, free and loose, and I think we need to see more of it. It’s definitely a step in the right direction, and it’s important for the future of the industry that we did that. Even the camera we had was so specific to Black skin. It was amazing to be a part of.

Did you discover any similarities with yourself and your character, Tazer, during the creative process?
I'm definitely on a different spectrum from Tazer. I would never do a lot of the things he does, and I don’t mess with a lot of the things he’s surrounded by. The one similarity we do have is that we’re both introverted. He's very much in his own mind and in his own head and rarely speaks, and when he does, he's quite blunt. I was like that a couple of years ago, where I just wasn't really speaking to anyone. I was just in my own vibe where I didn’t really want to leave my house. Stepping into Tazer was quite easy in that respect.



Photography by Ashley Verse

How does Tazer fit into the wider story?
I’m not sure how much I can say, but Michael (Tosin Cole) wants to find all five of us, and Tazer's probably the hardest to get on side because of his surroundings and what he does. We see Michael struggle with that a lot, but Tazer’s not too worried as he's only concerned about the people he loves, which are his boys and his grandma. We see him struggle with his personal life while being hunted down and being told he can save someone’s life. He has a lot of ups and downs throughout the series, and he goes on a really beautiful journey.

I suppose it's quite a cliché question, but what superhero power would you like to have if you could have one?
I've been asked this quite a bit, and at first, I was saying time manipulation, but then I wanted to change it up. What I wouldn’t want is definitely the power I've got in the show, but I can’t say too much about that. It’s a hard question, but I would like to read minds, but at the time of my choosing, so it’s not uncontrollable and you can’t hear everyone’s thoughts all the time.

You also mentioned Rapman a bit earlier, who’s the creative mind behind the show. Were you familiar with his work before working with him, and if so, did that add any pressure to your performance?
Yeah, I think everyone in our community definitely knows Rapman from Shiral’s Story, which was huge when I was in school. Everybody loved it, and then when Blue Story came out, that was massive too. As soon as I booked Supacell, I knew it was going to be a big opportunity, but I couldn’t think about it too much because of the pressure. When you’re performing, especially in a role like this one, you need a clear mind, but I was always aware of how much of an opportunity this was and that it was such a big responsibility.

Do you have any other inspirations you’d love to work with?
My mind is blanking, but for sure Jordan Peele. One of my favourite actors of all time is Chiwetel Ejiofor. I love him, and he’s such a great actor. I just want to be on camera with him. Delroy Lindo is also a legend and someone I think I could learn so much from. There are just so, so many! Obviously, I don’t want to be bait, but Denzel Washington is a no-brainer as well.

Congratulations are also in order on the success of Boarders. Are you excited to be going back for Season 2?
I finally broke the season one curse! People love these characters and, the first time around, you’re doing it for yourself and for the love of acting but now, I have the responsibility to keep Jaheim the same for the fans. I have a responsibility to deliver that for them again, but I love having that responsibility.

Looking beyond Supacell, what’s next on the cards for you?
So Boarders season two will be filming. Literally, as soon as Supacell drops, we'll be going out to Bristol to start shooting. Other than that, we’ll see what happens going into the new year. I always want to do something completely different from my last thing, so now I have to find something that's not a school thing and not a thing about the school. It will be interesting to see where I end up next, but it's definitely an exciting part of the journey, for sure.

Supacell is available to stream on Netflix today



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