'Gaming has shaped my creativity. It was my only way of ingesting stories'

The British actor Abubakar Salim, one of the stars of Ridley Scott’s Raised by Wolves, talks to The Rake about awkward auditions, his Kenyan heritage, and why the gaming world doesn’t deserve its bad reputation.

  • fashion director Veronica Perez

  • by Nick Scott

  • photography Charlie Gray

Navy Merino wool Eastfield seamless jacket, Johnstons of Elgin; blue cotton shirt, Emma Willis; navy silk woven stripe sevenfold tie, Tie Your Tie at The Rake; grey wool trouser, Anderson & Sheppard; navy leather Oxford shoes, Christian Louboutin.

He was an ordinary second-generation British kid of Kenyan descent, growing up in a modest street in an anonymous town around 20 miles north of central London. Then one day, Abubakar Salim picked up a games console controller, and a love of narrative — the more phantasmagorical and outlandish, the better — gripped his imagination.

Fondness for fiction became fondness for acting in his teens, and small parts in British T.V. shows soon came rolling in 24: Live Another Day in 2014; Charlie Brooker’s disarmingly intelligent dystopian drama Black Mirror in 2016; Jamestown, a period drama about English settlers in America, two years later; and voice work in gaming (namely, releases in the Assassin’s Creed and World of Warcraft franchises).

Most recently, a bolt from the blue: the chance of a leading role in HBO’s Raised by Wolves, Ridley Scott’s small-screen debut, in which androids on a distant planet are assigned the task of raising human children sent there on a humanity-preserving mission.

Extraterrestrial on-screen shenanigans notwithstanding, Abu (as he calls himself) could not be more down to earth. Actually, let’s make that one of the most affable, as well as articulate, humans ever to enter The Rake’s distinctly earthly orbit. For the sake of context, it should be noted that the conversation outlined on these pages is peppered with belly laughs from both parties…

Published

December 2020

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