*DISCLAIMER* This interview was conducted prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike.
In the new Max series Full Circle, Adia plays Natalia, with episodes currently being released on the platform, and she worked alongside a cast including Zazie Beetz, Jharrel Jerome, Claire Danes and Dennis Quaid, and was directed by Steven Soderbergh. Last year, Adia made her acting debut when she was cast as one of the main characters Cheri in The Midnight Club for Netflix, working across all episodes in the horror mystery-thriller series, with the show following terminally ill teenage patients at a hospice. We caught up with Adia before the actors’ strike, who talked to us about being in the cast of Full Circle, what it was like filming as Natalia and making her acting debut in The Midnight Club.
Can you tell us about the new series Full Circle and your character Natalia?
At the crux of the story, it’s a botched kidnapping gone wrong and then you get invited into a world where this one singular event affects so many lives in unimaginable ways. You never truly know what’s going to happen until it happens and that’s the beauty of this show. Ed Solomon really asks the viewers to be completely and fully present with each character. Natalia, the character I play, tries desperately to right the wrongs her brother and herself have found themselves in. What I love about Natalia is her willingness to risk everything in the name of saving her little brother and maybe even her own morals. It was as if I was holding a mirror up to my face – she’s fiercely protective and loving, sometimes a little harsh but never out of malice – a lot like me.
What was the show like to film and how was it reading the scripts for the first time?
I had such a wonderful time filming – I wish I could go back in time. Everyone from the PAs to the hair and makeup team, to the ADs – man, those people warmed my heart. They made the experience all the better and we became a family. I will also say, working on a Soderbergh project is like no other, you’re going to have a bomb-ass time. I don’t know how he does it, maybe just from working with a lot of the same people but being on set is truly an experience. I’m not sure I’ll ever experience anything like it.
As for reading the scripts for the first time, there was so much going on you really had to pay attention to what was happening and connect the mental dots. It was like reading a really intricate novel, never quite knowing where things would turn and constantly being surprised by the outcomes.
How did you find the experience being directed by Steven Soderbergh and being in a cast which includes Zazie Beetz, Jharrel Jerome, Claire Danes and Dennis Quaid?
Working with Steven was life-changing. Contrary to popular belief, he didn’t “direct” in the sense most might think. His approach was very hands off and trusting of his actors and their instinct. At first, it was a little confusing especially being a new actress, I was really surprised at how fast he could get a shot. He’d do one take and say, “ok got that”. I mean, I was shocked but then very grateful because those quick shots allowed us to get home quickly and sometimes at a reasonable hour.
Being in a cast with actors that are highly regarded in the industry, I mean, it’s crazy that my name is even amongst theirs – it’s a huge honour and very surreal. As the audience will come to find, a lot of characters always come into cross proximity with each other but never actually meet. That was also mostly the case behind the scenes. It wasn’t often that I saw other cast members outside of the Guyanese-playing actors. I’m not even sure it’s really even “hit me” that I’m amongst some greats.
How do you feel now the series is being released on Max and what are you looking forward to for viewers to see the series?
Overall, I’m very excited for the world to see this one. Everyone involved in this show worked so hard on this show. This was not easy to film, and everyone pulled their weight so to now see our hard work come to fruition, it’s like watching a little seed grow and bloom into a beautiful flower.
What I find beautiful about this show and what I think others will also enjoy is the many layers and complexities each character possesses. Ed does such a wonderful job creating these “human” characters that all have flaws and redeeming qualities. No one person is better than the other so you may find that while watching the show, you have conflicting emotions because nothing is black and white.
Who do you think will enjoy watching Full Circle?
Anyone that loves a good mentally stimulating story. Just like in The Wire, you have to pay attention. I think on the surface anyone could watch it (except probably kids, whose minds are still developing), but to fully appreciate the show, you have to listen.
You made your acting debut in last year’s Netflix series The Midnight Club as Cheri, how would you describe the character and what was she like to play?
Cheri was fun to play. She was deeply misunderstood, lonely, and a little volatile. Like Natalia, she’s faced with a huge life change and she’s just trying to figure herself out. She’s kind of estranged from her family so to be in hospice care and no parents present to support, it’s a lot of emotions that you have to sift through and as a teenager is even harder.
How did you feel finding out you’d booked the role for your first regular character?
I didn’t think it was real. I asked my manager to make sure they had the right person because I just didn’t think I could book a job so quickly like that. Especially a series regular role that was part of the main ensemble.
What was it like seeing the fan response to The Midnight Club and what did you enjoy most about being part of the show?
I guess I’m still seeing the fan responses and I probably haven’t seen the last of it. I’ve had so many people reach out to me and other cast members thanking us for giving them strength and hope through their own hardships/life challenges. It’s extremely humbling and inspirational and the best part of being a part of that show. The visibility and awareness to kids who are experiencing a very visceral and poignant part of life.
What are some of your favourite memories from working on The Midnight Club and filming with the rest of the cast?
It may seem small but those crafty runs and little naps in between scenes on a long day? Top tier. Working with the cast was dope; we all became a little family that supported each other and loved a good prank or two.
How did you get into acting and was it something you always wanted to do?
I only really started actively pursuing acting as a career about four years ago. Prior to that, I was a dancer, and I was set on becoming a professional dancer. I got injured, which thwarted those dreams, and it felt as though an essential part of me disappeared. I took an acting class in my senior year of high school and that void that I felt virtually disappeared whenever I had an opportunity to act. It’s become a huge passion in my life, and I’m fortunate enough to say that this is what I do for work.
Do you have any favourite films and TV shows to watch?
Let me put y’all on: The Wiz, Kirikou, Whale Rider, Lilo & Stitch, The Boondocks, Call the Midwife, Hunter x Hunter, and funnily enough, I find Death Note comforting even though it can be dark.
We understand you are a supporter of the Moses West Foundation and an advocate on the water crisis in America, can you tell us about this?
People need water. Simple as that. It shouldn’t be that in a nation such as the United States of America, lack of clean water is the NORM. There’s nothing normal or right about that. Everyone deserves clean water. What the Moses West Foundation has created is an Atmospheric Generator that pulls air into its chambers and allows the condensation captured to pool, creating clean drinking water. The MWF has been able to support communities around the country: Flint, Michigan, and Jackson, Mississippi.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I’m a nature girlie through and through so if I’m not home reading a book, I’m generally in the woods with my dog. Sometimes my cat joins us. If I’m ever near water, I love free diving as well. Something about the underwater world is so mesmerising for me.
What are you hoping the rest of the year brings for you?
I really want to dive deeper into the birth world. Start working more as a birth doula, assisting birthing bodies through its natural process. Also, some radical rest would be nice. Deep in the woods somewhere or on an island away from people for like a month or something.
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