The hidden stars of the award season: who is Bukky Bakray?

In 2019, Bukky Bakray made her acting debut as the lead in the widely praised coming-of-age drama Rocks. In the movie, Bukky plays Olushola, nicknamed “Rocks”, a Black British teenage girl living in Hackney, London, whose single mother abandons her and her younger brother Emmanuel, forcing them to try and avoid being taken into care. The most ironic fact about Bukky Bakray is that she had never acted before! Bukky was barely even 16 when the movie was released during the London Film Festival! Read on to find out more about this youthful, inspiring actress.

How did Bukky get scouted?

Credit: The Times

Director Sarah Gavron and Casting Director Pardee scouted for the right girl to cast by visiting numerous Hackney secondary schools. They observed the young women’s interactions for nine months, studying their dynamics to construct a deeply honest film. ‘I didn’t know what they were looking for,’ says Bukky at the beginning of her nine-month auditioning process. Bukky goes on to say that ‘they were just two ladies at the back of my classroom.’

Was Bukky experienced before shooting the film?

Credit: At The Theatre

Before Rocks, Bukky had not done much acting at all. In an interview, Bukky laughs and expresses that she ‘didn’t take Drama as a GCSE, so my teacher was very shocked when I got cast!’

How did Bukky celebrate when she found out she had been cast?

Credit: The Guardian

Did she throw a party or call those closest to her to share the good news? No! Bukky firstly took on a more relaxed approach as she wanted to stay composed. When the cast was taken to a café in Islington, London, she remained calm, but she ‘literally screamed’ as she walked out. Bukky ‘ended up running past Finsbury Park station still screaming!’ Would you blame her? This was now the start of a very successful career ahead of her!

Did Bukky enjoy filming the movie?

Credit: Evening Standard

Bukky thoroughly enjoyed filming this movie, especially because it was filmed on her home soil in Hackney. This meant that Bukky could take on her role to her fullest capability as she felt as if it ‘was like home.’ Bukky expresses, ‘it was so good to be telling this story in my area, knowing it would be on screen.’ This familiarity truly enabled Bukky to fit into her role in the film. It looks very natural, and it’s as if it’s not a film. I particularly enjoyed the parts filmed on the phones as it shows a modern approach to the recording of films. You get to view the film’s locations from a closer, more relatable lens. Do you agree? 

What was Bukky’s favourite scene to record in the movie?

Credit: Los Angeles Times

Bukky’s favourite scene was the food fight in the classroom! Bukky exclaims that she ‘forgot the cameras were there, it was just like being back in school. It was time to let loose.’ This is definitely an entertaining scene and if you haven’t managed to see the film yet, then head over to Netflix to experience the brilliance for yourself!

What are Bukky’s plans now?

Credit: Digital Spy

Bukky states that she is ‘really reluctant to get up to go to school now.’ She also expresses that she ‘never really had that problem when [she] had to get up for 5 am starts on set. That’s how she knows that [acting] is a real passion!’ Now, with a London Critic’s Circle Film award, two BIFA nominations, and a BAFTA win under her belt, Bukky is sure to be a star. Watch out for this beautiful actress on your screens in the future!

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