He was, to say the least, a shoo-in for Variety magazine’s 10 Brits to Watch in 2019 feature. Having become a familiar face on British screens with a role in the soap opera EastEnders, as well in the English-speaking world with appearances in Doctor Who, Joivan Wade has since hit the big time: in last year’s American action-horror flick The First Purge, a gritty franchise prequel about a society blighted by annual 12-hour periods of state-sanctioned anarchy, he played vengeance-seeking dealer Isaiah; in this year’s spin-off DC Comics superhero series Doom Patrol, he portrays a half-human, half-machine coming to terms — in the style of Frankenstein’s monster — with his duality.
The Rake caught up with Joivan during one of his regular visits to his native London, and found him to be a man on a mission that goes well beyond critical plaudits and box office receipts. “I don’t believe that filmmaking is being taken advantage of if there’s not some kind of message that is being relayed,” he tells us, and we’d bet a tidy sum that he proves, over the decades to come, as good as his word.
You’re a stylish guy… Was today’s shoot all in sync with your own style preferences? Totally. Every outfit I saw, it was like, ‘I would wear this. Which designer created that?’
You’ve done plenty of gritty realism in your career, and now you’re donning a superhero costume. Is it tricky to act in? [Laughs] I’ve never done anything like it. The suit is almost as heavy as it looks. When it comes to the cybernetics side of my face, I can’t physically see through that eye while I’m acting because it’s covered. There’s a magnetic rubber gasket glued to my face every morning, which a mask is then fixed on to. There’s no peripheral vision or depth of field — I’ll do a scene where I’m playing baseball and the ball’s coming at me at 90m.p.h., and with one eye you can’t gauge when it’s actually at the point to swing.