Letitia Wright says Aisha gives ‘voice to the unheard’

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By Creative Media News

Aisha, starring Letitia Wright, is about a young Nigerian woman seeking asylum in Ireland who must navigate a labyrinth of social services and bureaucracy. She prepared for the role by interviewing people who had experienced similar challenges as her character.

After starring in the highly anticipated Black Panther sequel Wakanda Forever, Letitia Wright can now be seen in a film about loss and how we treat people from other nations.

Aisha, however, is not set in a fictional world where superheroes keep the peace but rather examines the very real immigration system in Ireland.

The drama, written and directed by socially conscious filmmaker Frank Berry, stars Letitia Wright as Aisha, a Nigerian lady seeking asylum in Ireland who befriends a former prisoner (The Crown’s Josh O’Connor), but whose future in the country is threatened.

Wright stated that to prepare for the role, she consulted with several individuals who had experienced similar difficulties.

Letitia wright says aisha gives 'voice to the unheard'
Letitia wright says aisha gives 'voice to the unheard'

“Frank [Berry] was able to connect me to the folks he’s been interacting with for the previous four or five years while writing the script and putting it together, so I was able to have real dialogues with women who’ve had similar scenarios as Aisha,” she said.

“I had to immerse myself in the films and the research material brought to me by Frank and our production firm, and I had to let myself be a receptacle for these experiences and incorporate them into Aisha’s persona.

“Because the work is pretty much done for you on the page, and it’s on the page, and it’s fantastic – but it’s even better when you’re chatting to them in person.

“It channels the scene, it channels you as an actor to be more sensitive, and it does something for you in the scene – it brings a reality and a truth that you can’t find by just reading it or not speaking to people on a real level.”

As viewers see Aisha struggle to begin her life in Ireland, the facts of how the system works (or appears not to operate) make for frustrating viewing.

Wright states that she has retained the work.

“When I portray a person on TV, I regard it as the reality,” she explained. “When speaking to these women and these young men and children who have been through so much within the system, you realize that this story is pieced together from all of their voices, but we found a linear way to guide you through that journey in the form of a documentary.

“However, it does stay with you, and it enables you to see that your project is enabling you to give a voice to the voiceless, which is vital to our journey.”

Berry, who is Irish, says the idea for the film came to him during research for his previous film about the Irish prison system when he discovered that the prison system was administered by the same government agency as the immigration system.

According to him, he then began “listening and meeting people over a long period” to make Aisha as accurate as possible.

“It stems from a documentary impulse, as my background is in the documentary – so it’s really to create a space for dialogue,” he explained.

“And if it’s not close to reality, then it’s undermined… the goals and purpose of the entire endeavor are to generate conversation; this is the driving force behind all my work, it’s what motivates me.”

Wright states that she wanted to participate because Aisha’s character felt so genuine.

“I’m drawn to stories that explore characters on a human level and have multiple layers – I thrive on that, I thirst for that, and I try to find it in every project,” she said.

“Aisha is a beautiful addition to my catalog of truth-telling, but yes, I try to find projects and characters that will move you because filmmaking is a difficult endeavor.

“So, you want to make it fun, you want it to have an impact, and you want your audience to feel something; therefore, my goal in life is to do something meaningful.”

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