Gassed Up’s Stephen Odubola on working with Yung Filly & Harry Pinero and dealing with criticism as an actor
9 February 2024, 12:00
Capital XTRA spoke exclusively to Stephen Odubola, who plays Ash in the film 'Gassed Up' about memories of filming and working with Mae Muller in her acting debut.
Listen to this article
Stephen Odubola hails from South London, where George Amponsah’s latest film Gassed Up is set. It follows Ash, a 20-year-old caught up in a high-octane pursuit of moped phone-jacking to pay for his mother’s mental health treatment.
Now released in cinemas and coming to Amazon Prime next month, Gassed Up sees Ash navigate the trials and tribulations of modern masculinity alongside a cast of Taz Skylar (Dubz), Steve Touissaint (Roy) and Mae Muller (Kelly) in her acting debut.
Odubola shot to fame in 2019’s Blue Story alongside actor Micheal Ward, where he played Timmy in the cult favourite film, which so happens to be the highest grossing British urban film of all time.
Speaking exclusively to Capital XTRA, 28-year-old Stephen Odubola shared his on-set stories with Yung Filly and Harry Pinero who make cameos, learning how to ride a moped for the first time, and how he deals with criticism as an actor.
Becoming the man of the house is a theme running throughout Gassed Up, as gang member Ash struggles with the morality of his choices, and when this reaches an all-time high, he is forced to re-evaluate all he has known. Playing Ash “brought me back to things that I had already learned as being a teenager growing up to South London,” says Stephen.
“It's a scary time, because it's trials and tribulations when you're learning things. You're just trying things out for yourself and seeing if it's right or wrong for you.”
Watch the trailer for Gassed Up
“Learning how to ride a motorcycle was fun, it was dope. I’m trying to get [a motorbike] now.”
Internet sensations Yung Filly and Harry Pineo as well as rapper Ms Banks make cameo appearances in Gassed Up. Stephen tells Capital XTRA that they “were just being themselves. I know them from before the industry and they’re my guys, they brought life into their scenes.”
Gassed Up was shot on location in South London, mainly Camberwell’s Magistrates Court, only a stone's throw away from Adubola’s childhood home in Kennington. The main chase sequences were shot in Wembley, north London, with a punchy musical score to match.
One song in particular Stephen says Ash’s character encapsulates - that of Benzz’s 2022 hit ‘Je M'appelle’. “It’s just in my head. Every time I think of Ash it is always Benzz.”
The main conflict in Gassed Up centres around Ash, who is drawn into the seedy business of moped theft, which spirals out of control as the violence escalates due to the demands of leader Shaz (Jelena Gavrilović).
Ash and his fellow gang members congregate in the unit base, a dingy underworld that is frequently visited. Behind the scenes, the base was situated next to the antithesis of this - the huge party scene.
Ash and his love interest Kelly, (played by singer Mae Muller) seal the deal at the party, which Stephen tells Capital XTRA may as well have been the real deal.
“Some of the cast and extras really drank during shooting,” revealed Stephen. “It was fun and everyone was just trying to get into character - in moderation!”
Gassed Up premiered at the London Film Festival last year, with mixed reviews from critics. This reception doesn’t faze Stephen, who tells Capital XTRA that “It's not really the target audience that we're going for.”
“I’m waiting until the film comes out for the rest of us to get the real feedback.”
As for what’s next for Stephen, he wants to play a role that is “completely different to myself. Something that's gonna put me in a whole different space. And allow me to just embody a new person.”
Gassed Up is out in UK cinemas now and will be on Amazon Prime on Friday 29th March.