Gassed Up premiere: On the red carpet with George Amponsah, Taz Skyler and co-stars
Gassed Up is as a thrilling new drama set against the backdrop of London’s criminal underworld, portraying the lives of young individuals ensnared by the allure of apparent wealth and glamour. Directed by documentary filmmaker George Amponsah, marking his first foray behind the camera for a feature-length project, the movie digs beyond the headlines, where phones being nicked by young kids on mopeds became daily news in the UK capital, to tell the story of how such petty crimes end up being committed. The narrative hinges around Ash, played by Blue Story‘s Stephen Odubola, and it’s through his eyes we see how a world of easy cash, social media boasting and a way to support his mum in need of rehab, quickly descends into a nightmare, leaving him thigh deep in a moral quagmire. There’s a fantastic chemistry between the young cast, with each character being shown to have their own motivations and context to navigate, with One Piece‘s Taz Skyler both on co-writing and co-starring duties. At once an adrenaline-fuelled dive into today’s London youth culture, a stark warning to where wrong decisions can lead you and a wake-up call that more needs to be done to support the next generation to avoid such tough life choices, it’s certainly a thrilling and thought-provoking ride.
The Upcoming hit the red carpet at Picturehouse Central to hear from the cast and director about the making of the movie. Skylar highlighted the movie’s blend of fun, bikes and music, while exploring youthful uncertainty and belonging. He related to his determined character, praised the instant cast chemistry, and aimed for audience enjoyment over delivering messages.
Odubola spoke about the film’s action and authenticity to South London life and explained Ash’s struggle to provide for his family while being tempted by a fast-paced lifestyle. He praised the unique perspective on crime and its backstory exploration, his chemistry with the cast and the film’s cautionary message to youth against choosing a dangerous path. He also touched upon societal issues and his excitement about the premiere.
The director described his film as a thrilling, engaging ride with a message for all ages. He co-created the script after a documentary he made caught the attention of producers. Despite initial reservations, he aimed to humanise characters often seen negatively. He praised his cast, especially Odubola, and expressed hope that the film leaves a lasting impression, prompting mindfulness and reflection.
Jelena Gavrilovic told us about her role in the movie, portraying a charismatic yet dangerous Albanian woman. She described the film’s exploration of diverse London life and the criminal underworld. Preparation involved a significant transformation, supported by the director. Gavrilovic emphasised the film’s realism and hopes it conveys the difficult paths leading to life choices. She’s excited for the premiere and is currently working on Disney projects.
Craige Middleburg also chatted about his role as Roach, describing the character’s depth beyond his “bad boy” facade, and how he related to him through his own upbringing and friends. His spoke about how the film’s authenticity resonated with him, addressing the reasons behind youth crime, and the on-set chemistry with the cast felt natural, contributing to the film’s realism. He shared insights into filming action scenes and the importance of understanding the background of troubled youth, with the story aiming to highlight societal issues and the need for community support. Middleburg is excited about his future projects and feels proud to present the film in London, marking a personal transformation.
Tobias Jowett told us about his role as Mole in what he describes as a fun, gritty London-based film. He portrays the group’s joker, who he created a backstory for through cast discussions. Chemistry reads fostered on-screen relationships, enhancing the film’s visceral feel, especially during moped scenes. The film subtly warns against gang glamour, highlighting systemic issues affecting youth. Next, Jowett stars in William Tell.
Steve Toussaint stopped to chat about playing mentor Roy, guiding the lead character away from crime. Toussaint highlighted the film’s relevance, the allure of crime and the importance of societal values. He praised the cast, especially working with Odubola, and touched on broader issues of materialism and systemic failure. He mentioned his work on House of the Dragon and the need for diverse storytelling in cinema.
Rawdat Quadri discussed how she could relate to her character Jazz’s strength and independence. She appreciated the sass and coolness of characters, the dynamic set and the excitement of seeing the bikes and everyone’s energy on screen.
Gassed Up is released nationwide on 9th February 2024.
Watch the trailer for Gassed Up here: