Ncuti Gatwa says it was time to move on from Sex Education after experiences that weren’t always “joyous,” with the actor now looking ahead to how fashion, therapy and the British media are shaping his experience on Doctor Who.

Gatwa spoke broadly about several of his upcoming projects and recent appearances as part of a Rolling Stone U.K. cover story, which published on Monday. Alongside discussing his rapid rise to fame, religious upbringing and current spiritual interests, and his conflicted feelings about performing at King Charles III Coronation, he opened up about moving on from Sex Education — a show that shot him to stardom — and what awaits him as the new star of Doctor Who.

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Speaking to why ending Sex Education at season four makes sense now, the 31-year-old actor said he feels like the stars have “outgrown” the Netflix series. He also said that, like the teens it centers on, the show, which has been championed for its casting diversity, experienced some growing pains in terms of its storytelling.

“It was very hard; it was such a big show,” he said. “When you’re telling stories that haven’t been seen before, there’s always a battle as to how to tell them. It wasn’t always joyous. I feel like we’ve outgrown it, and we’ve given everything we can to it.”

He added that being cast on the show not only came with challenges in terms of being a relatively young actor thrust into the spotlight, but also a Black actor who was dealing with executives focused more on white audiences. “Being on it fast-tracked me into the downsides of this industry,” he recalled. “I remember being told by an executive producer that white people wouldn’t understand my character, Eric, which incensed me. There’s an entire show there for white people to understand.”

It’s a challenge he seemingly expects to face in some regard as he readies himself to portray the fifteenth Doctor, marking the first for a Black man in the role. Gatwa says that when it comes to the character, there’s already so much about the storyline he can relate to as a child who fled with his family to Scotland amid the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

“This person survived a genocide. This person fits in everywhere and nowhere. I am the Doctor. The Doctor is me,” the actor explained. “I decided that I had to get this role.”

But like his experience on Sex Education, Gatwa is preparing for the kind of intense media attention and scrutiny that comes with taking on such a high profile and storied part, especially as the first Black man to play the role. “The British press can be very mean,” he said of the reaction to his casting. “I just have to focus on the job and stay true to what the Doctor is: a mad scientist alien who has adventures and cares about everyone.”

He’s already gotten some help from therapy and key members of the Doctor Who creative team, as well as separately, former doctors who have offered their support and advice to Gatwa through a group chat started by David Tennant. “Russell T Davies has been amazing, too. He calms me down,” the actor said. I can get very anxious, but therapy helps, and they’ve made sure that I have time put aside to have my sessions.”

Gatwa’s identity isn’t the only thing that will make his doctor different from the others. The actor shares that his character’s fashion will be different, with the Doctor Who star promising he will have a “sick” wardrobe inspired by a partnership between a fashion designer and HBCUs.

“The day Russell invited me to meet everybody, they asked me what sort of costume I wanted. I showed them this Ralph Lauren collection that was in partnership with Historically Black Colleges in America,” Gatwa recalled. “I love those pieces, they’re so preppy and so Black. But then they asked what else, because they’d been thinking about lots of outfits, almost a different one each week. Which is new! I love it. The Doctor has travelled all of time and space; they’re going to have a sick wardrobe.”

But before he regenerates for his next TV role, Gatwa will appear in Greta Gerwig’s highly anticipated Barbie movie, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. The actor says he originally went out for a different unnamed role but didn’t get it before Gerwig — dubbing him “Ken Ncuti” — called him back in as a Ken, where he’ll star alongside his Sex Education co-star Emma Mackey.

Gatwa said he had one of the “best nights of my life” while filming the movie, thanks to Robbie, who took all the Barbies and Kens to see Magic Mike Live. “That was… I don’t know how I made it through any filming in the week after, my voice was gone from screaming so much. The videos in the group chat the next morning were the best,” he recalled. “Greta Gerwig’s assistant was pulled up on stage and given a lap dance and Greta was screaming in delight. Afterwards, we went and danced our hearts out. Margot is a very, very good party host. She’s queen of the vibes.”

Source: Hollywood

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