Fri | Apr 19, 2024

Naomi Cowan talks acting and authenticity

Eyes album release; more film roles in future

Published:Wednesday | February 28, 2024 | 12:10 AMShanel Lemmie/Staff Reporter
Naomi Cowan (left), and her acting coach Olunike Adeliyi.
Naomi Cowan (left), and her acting coach Olunike Adeliyi.
Naomi Cowan poses backstage at Saturday’s Lost in Time Festival.
Naomi Cowan poses backstage at Saturday’s Lost in Time Festival.

Fresh off the press run of her first major film role, reggae darling Naomi Cowan says the Bob Marley: One Love is hopefully just the tip of the iceberg for her.

Equating the experience to a massive music video shoot, she explained, “This was just at the highest level in terms of everything. You could see that this was a world-class production and more than anything I was just really excited to be able to represent my character Marcia Griffiths and represent Jamaica in that space.

After taking the stage is a surprise appearance at the recent Lost in Time Festival held at Hope Gardens in St Andrew, Cowan recalled the pride she felt in embodying reggae legend Marcia Griffiths.

“I feel like I represented my character well,” she began. “I have been studying her for a long time without even knowing about this movie, I’ve just been studying her. So to be able to step into that role, it felt really natural for me and I think with acting, the more authentic you are, the better. It’s less about performing and putting on, it’s more about actually being yourself in that character. When I watched it, I felt really proud of myself for being myself and I do feel like a modern-day Marcia Griffiths if I’m [being] honest.”

She continued, “Is my aunty dat. I talk to her all the time. I’ve always been in touch with her but when I got the role, I was like ‘stay close to her’. After the premiere, we talked and she was beaming and I was beaming. She was like ‘you are a star’.”

Acting mostly alongside Lashana Lynch and fellow local reggae star Sevana, Cowan said having that support during the cold London winter made all the difference for her.

“Her trailer was beside mine, so of course between takes and stuff,” she said referring to Sevana.

“For me it was great because we also were singing live the whole movie, so it was just nice because we both love to sing. And also when we experienced any personal challenges, it was just nice to have that support, because it was cold. We were in London for a long time in the worst time, November, December then January, February, so it was very cold, very dreary, very challenging in different ways. So for me, it was just us checking on each other.”

Referring to the more seasoned acting in their trio, Cowan explained, “Lashana is such a light, she is a beautiful person. So what I loved about her is I think she spent a lot of time working on the character, so when the movie time came she was very relaxed. She really wasn’t worried about whether or not she was good enough but truthfully that is because she put in the work.”

After weeks of acquainting with mainly each other, the reggae legacy explained their chemistry created opportunities of true connection that made it on screen.

“The scene on the bus, I didn’t know they were recording that. I thought we were rehearsing, because they literally said, ‘running a rehearsal, start the rehearsal’ and then after we did it three times thinking that we’re ready to shoot, they said ‘cut’ and I was like ‘what? You sure?’”

Thinking back to seeing the scene for the first time in Kingston, Cowan said, “I was actually freaking out about that cause it’s one of the few lines I have but it worked out perfectly. And even that party scene, everybody is calling me the ‘side-eye girl’ which is hilarious.”

While the Paradise Plum singer says this year her plan is to release the album she recorded while working on the film, she is hopeful that more film roles will be in her future.

“I would love to (act again), I think for me it [is] more about picking the right projects. I am open to it and there are different things that have come but for me and my team we just wanna make sure that we [are] just making moves that are authentic to me.”