Ncuti Gatwa Got Told by Producers That White People Wouldn’t Understand His ‘Sex Education’ Ad-Libs. He Fired Back: ‘It’s Not For White People’

Ncuti Gatwa is gearing up for a busy back half of 2023 thanks to his supporting role in “Barbie” (opening in theaters July 21), his fourth and final season of Netflix’s “Sex Education” (coming in the fall) and his introduction as the title character of “Doctor Who” (coming this Christmas). Gatwa touched upon all of these roles in a new British Vogue interview, revealing that a producer on the first season of “Sex Education” once approached him with a warning about ad-libbing lines of dialogue in character.

“There were producers coming up to me like, ‘This ad-lib, I don’t feel like white people will understand it,’” Gatwa said. “And I was like, ‘It’s not for white people to understand. There are many white people in this show for white people to understand, but I want this other group of people to understand Eric. And that’s what you want too.’ And they got that. We were all constantly learning on that job.”

Gatwa received his acting breakthrough on “Sex Education” thanks to the role of Eric, a gay Nigerian-Ghanaian teenager.

“When the show first came out, I was living in Tottenham, and the amount of young boys from the block that would come up to me and be like, ‘Oi, I love Eric you know!’ I was like, ‘Wow,’” Gatwa said. “I used to train at this gym with a lot of ex-cons and bodybuilders, and these guys would come up to me like, ‘Eric’s my favorite character,’ or ‘You’re my girlfriend’s favorite character,’ and I’m like, ‘Don’t lie!’ It was so cool because I could see the show opening up people’s minds.”

Gatwa would not spoil any plot points from his upcoming “Sex Education” season, but he did say that Eric “gets the ending I wanted for him.”

“Things get tied up. And there was one scene that I particularly fought for, and I managed to get it in, which was great,” Gatwa said. “Aimee [Lee Wood] and I wrote it, and we were redrafting it until like 3 a.m. the day before. I’ve never written for Eric before so that felt big, and it was a scene that meant a lot to me in terms of Eric’s journey and relationships. It felt very necessary.”

“Sex Education” is expected to stream on Netflix sometime this fall. The streamer has yet to announce an official release date.

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