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Muna Otaru

25th January 2024

Interview: Lizzie Cooper

Muna Otaru co-stars on the BBC series “Dreaming Whilst Black" where the show has just been nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. Otaru tells us all about the show, hidden talents and we ask if she could create her own dream movie what would it be.

Hello Muna! Congratulations on your BBC/A24/Showtime series “Dreaming Whilst Black.”  What drew you to this project and can you tell us a little bit more about the premise.

Hi!  And thank you so much!  Dreaming Whilst Black is a comedy/drama about a young, Black British filmmaker, Kwabena, trying to make it the film industry in the U.K.  My character Stephanie, is friends with Grace, Kwab’s mum. She is concerned about her son, Dorvin and is not comfortable with the new friends he’s been hanging out with, so she asks Kwab’s to look out for him.

It was a satisfying discovery to read the scripts and see how archetypal characters like Stephanie and Dorvin were being viewed through the lens of their human desires and dreams and then a filter is put on, so to speak and we see how they are often depicted in cinema and the agendas behind those depictions.

The series has recently been nominated for Independent Spirit Awards. What does it feel like to have this project receive that kind of recognition? What should viewers takeaway from season 1?

I can’t even be coy about this; I was so excited!  I have a massive respect for the Independent Spirit Awards.  I feel like it’s a recognition of excellence in storytelling. Over the years, I feel like that projects that have been nominated are the ones where the artists have laid their souls bare and the writers and filmmakers and cast all came together and created alchemy.  I feel the awards are an appreciation and acknowledgement of that.

Tell us a little bit more about you, any hidden talents?

I am a big dreamer.  It’s everyone’s birth right to dream and be given the space to realise their innermost desires.  Since we are getting to know each other, my dream is to pick up my pole-dancing again and finally master the caterpillar climb backwards up the pole and then glide into the bow and arrow (no hands).  It’s so pretty.

If you could craft your dream project, plot, director, co-stars, what would it be?

Funny you should I ask. I am currently writing a script and I know who my dream cast is.  It’s me, Jeffrey Wright, Shohreh Angdashloo and another, young, black male co-star who is TBC.

Favorites: Book, Movie, TV Show, Song?

My favourite book because it really did shift the trajectory of my life in a positive direction, is Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Love. 

I don’t have a favourite movie; however, Boogie Nights has one of the best ensemble cast.  That tracking shot in the opening sequence to the film is pure witchcraft.  

My favourite TV Show is Frasier, the old version.  

My favourite song is Ribbon in the Sky by Stevie Wonder.  That song used to make cry as a child, my little soul was so moved.  Who am I kidding, it still makes me cry but a good, hopeful cry.

Lastly, if you had the opportunity to ReVamp anything in the world, what would it be and why?

May I have two things I would ReVamp please?

Every public toilet around the world would be spotlessly clean and provide sanitary pads and tampons for free just like loo rolls.

That people refer to African countries by the individual country’s name.  It amazes me when people actually visit an African country and they come back and they go, “I was just in Africa.” Every country is unique and beautiful in its own right.  Call it by its name please and thank you.

Dreaming Whilst Black is streaming on BBC iPlayer and Paramount+

Check out the trailer to 'Dreaming Whilst Black'.

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