With a tongue-in-cheek introduction as Sense8’s new Capheus, Toby Onwumere proves he’s one to watch
When the long-awaited Sense8 Christmas special aired this past December, audiences quickly noted one major change to their favorite homosensoriums. Capheus, the young man from Nairobi nicknamed “Van Damme” by his fans, had taken on a decidedly different form in the opening episode of season two. In a moment of genius, The Wachowskis addressed the situation head on by having Jela point out Capheus’s new look, to which he responds that he visited a “new barbershop.” With that, fans were introduced to the actor taking over the role of our favorite bus driver – Toby Onwumere. This Capheus may have a taller build and a serious countenance, but his heart and his personality remain as big as ever. It didn’t take long for us to take to the newcomer, and by episode’s end, it felt like he was always there.
Toby phoned into TV After Dark to talk about stepping into the role of our favorite underdog, getting along with other cast members, and what’s in store for Capheus in season two. We even get a little treat when Miguel Angel Silvestre, better known as Lito Rodriguez, joins in on the fun! Want to know more? Listen to the audio of our goosebumps revelations on our interview with Toby Onwumere below:
TV After Dark | We all know that last season, Capheus was introduced to us by Aml Ameen. In taking on this character, did you consciously decide to put your own stamp on the character, or was there any concern about playing someone that audiences already had a clear picture of in their minds?
Toby Onwumere | No not really, actually. The beautiful thing about walking into it when I did is you kind of have the whole first season as like, you know, a research packet of sorts. I got to enjoy it and then I got to look at all the backstory of all these eight beautiful characters and then I kind of just went in and you know, yeah, did my own thing. I really didn’t think about any other out typing, kind of just living in the moment and going with the flow with what either James or Lana or Tom wanted. The transition was actually pretty easy for me.
Capheus has faced down many less than desirable choices in his journey so far. Are there any that you have resonated with so far? Are there any in the coming new season?
Yeah, so in the season he meets somebody, and then this woman then kind of opens his circle up to the political arena. As of right now, Capheus is kind of like the small town hero and just kind of seeing his level of influence…the radius of his influence kind of increases and expand is interesting, and you’re thrust into the limelight a little bit. Kind of feels like what I’m going through right now, which is really interesting. It’s like, oh yeah, I know how that feels! Interesting.
How was it for you to meet the cast members for the first time? Was there anyone you bonded with right away? Anyone who surprised you?
Doona! Doona really surprised me. I’ve gotten so so so close with her, and not even just because of what the script calls for. I mean, she’s got this like goofy streak to her, and I’m a huge goofball. I love whenever we’re playing the piano and we call each other our nicknames, it’s just like really goofy sibling stuff which I was like, Oh! This is pleasant…so pleasant!
Is there a scene in an episode that you are most proud of in the upcoming season that you can share without spoiling it too much?
I mean, considering this is my first foray into this I’m pretty happy with everything, but later on in the season there’s a whole big thing that I do not want to give away but…again, talking about Capheus’s radius of influence increases and you kind of seeing him in a high position. I remember going through ADR and seeing what Lana did with it and the lighting, and she sets it up for people to really knock it out of the park and I’m just really really proud of my work.
Fans from Italy want to know if you have any plans to visit and if you have any crazy, funny, or on set experience you can share?
(Miguel jumps in to answer for both of them) Oh Italy, you mean Italy? We went to Positano, which is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been in my life. We used to wake up in the morning having the the first coffee in the morning, even though it was 6AM and you have to go to work, but to get that coffee – looking at the Mediterranean Sea in Positano, that is priceless. That was an amazing thing. But I’m trying to remember, because Toby and I…one of the things I think Toby and I have the same method of working as actors, and one of the things that I remember the most is not even the scene. It’s the time at the hotel when Toby and I gather together and he played for me, and we get to examine and I played for him, and “brother, how do you like that, this way or this way” – ”oh, I like this way” (Toby agrees) – eh brother, and then we got to the scene and we do it and we talk about it and we get excited about it and hopefully she edits this, because brother that was so nice. So I think those are the moments I remember with Toby.