Since Bulletproof started in 2018 on Sky One, Florisa Kamara has been playing Donna Pike throughout both series, the daughter of one of the lead characters Ronnie Pike, who is played by Ashley Walters who also co-created the show. Most recently, Florisa appeared in the TV movie Sitting in Limbo for BBC as Lateesha, who is the granddaughter of Anthony Bryan, who the film is focused on and was a victim of the Windrush scandal. During her career so far, Florisa has also worked on productions including Silent Witness and Year of the Rabbit, and had voiceover experience as Valerie in Floogals. Chatting to us, Florisa talks about playing Donna in Bulletproof, filming for Sitting in Limbo and working on Silent Witness.
How did you feel booking the role of Donna Pike in Bulletproof and what is she like to play?
I was very excited when I found out that I booked the role of Donna Pike because I had been auditioning for so many different roles at the time and jobs just weren’t coming through, so booking the role of Donna was a breakthrough. When I got on set I was so excited, the atmosphere was great, she was an interesting character to take on and fun to perform.
What’s it like working with your onscreen family which includes one of the show’s creators Ashley Walters as your father?
It was fun to work with such experienced and great actors and see the different techniques they use to analyse their lines. At times when I am on set, I didn’t even feel like I was acting anymore because we all just had such a great time doing what we do best. It was nice to see how the other actors instantly got into character when filming.
How was it returning to film the second series?
I was looking forward to this series as Donna is more mature and mischievous. In Series One, Donna was very quiet, but Series Two we see her sassier side.
What do you enjoy most about playing the character and being on set of the show?
I enjoyed putting myself in the shoes of a girl and giving her life. I enjoyed adding my own twist to her. Being on set with such fabulous people just makes a dream a reality, as I said before, the atmosphere was amazing, the cast were friendly, patient, and always had such great vibes. I was well looked after.
Can you say what it was like to film as Lateesha in BBC One’s Sitting in Limbo?
Playing the role of Lateesha gave me a sense of pride knowing that I was a part of recreating such an important story, and the director, Stella, and the rest of the cast really helped me understand the character, they were so patient and loving, we bonded really well.
Who is your character and what was it like being part of such a big story?
My character is Lateesha, the granddaughter of Anthony Bryan, a victim of the Windrush scandal. Being part of such a well-known story made me feel proud to know that I was a part of recreating such a well-known part of history, and yes, this film is about a horrendous betrayal on behalf of this country to the Caribbean people invited here to rebuild after the war but it is also a story about unity and family.
Can you tell us about your character Ella in Silent Witness?
I would say Ella is quite an interesting character to play. This character is very young but not too young to understand the tension between her mum and dad. Ella is a very lovable character who is always up for a trip with family.
How was it filming for a long-running BBC show?
It was really fun and such a great experience. Everyone was so nice, the crew and cast were so easy to approach. When I was having a hard time with my lines or needed a breakdown of a scene, I didn’t have second thoughts approaching the director and asking her for her thoughts. I was so excited as well as Silent Witness is something that my family has been watching for years.
How did you find the experience of filming for Year of the Rabbit?
Filming Year of the Rabbit was really such a great experience because it was so nice to see a change of set because, usually, I’m on sets that are modern day and Year of the Rabbit was the direct opposite seeing how they created this olden day set from makeup to wardrobe to props, it was surreal to see A WHOLE NEW WORLD in a limited amount of space.
You have experience in voiceover with voicing the role of Valerie in Floogals, what was this like to do?
It was so interesting, and I learned a lot whilst doing that too because prior to that I’d never done any voice work other than ADR (additional dialogue recording). The microphone picked up everything, even the slightest of movements, and just doing different things with my voice I never knew I could do before was quite interesting and eye-opening.
How did you get into acting and can you say about your training?
I got into acting at the very young age of four. It all started off with me going to an after school drama club and the teacher there noticed that I was very good at acting and spoke to my mum, next thing you know I had an agent. I was ecstatic when my mum told me I had an agent because it was my chance to be a movie star but later on I found out that you don’t become a movie star by getting an agent, you have to work hard and persevere.
My training is continuous hard work from learning about breaking the fourth wall to Meisner and Stanislavski. It was a lot to take in but when I started putting the techniques in use. It helped me find out more about my character which made it easier for me to perform.
What do you enjoy most about being an actor?
What I enjoy the most about being an actor is just being able to give myself the challenge of trying to be someone else, putting myself in the shoes of someone else. I enjoy that because it’s always an adventure, it’s always so interesting and I’m someone who’s always up for an adventure, and above all, I’m forever learning different techniques.
How do you prepare for auditions?
When preparing for an audition, I usually read the character brief, then HIGHLIGHT THE SCRIPT. I would then get into character. What helps me get into character is a technique called the seven questions. Some of these questions are questions like where am I? What is my objective in this scene? Etc.
What TV shows and films do you enjoy watching?
My favourite TV shows are Don’t Tell the Bride, Victorious, Come Dine with Me, 24 hours in A&E and Extreme Cake Makers – this TV show confirmed that there is no limit to creativity. The Greatest Showman is my favourite film. The musical elements in that are amazing and the songs are so uplifting.
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