Supacell Is Rapman’s South London Take On TV Classic Heroes: ‘It Was A Massive Inspiration’


by Ben Travis |
Published on

For his follow-up to Blue Story, Rapman is going big. The multi-talented creator announced himself as a filmmaker to watch with his hit debut feature film – earning sizeable box office and a raft of positive reviews, despite controversial cinema bans on his tale of childhood friends driven apart by gang violence. (A screening of the film in Birmingham was itself the site of a conflict, sparking a safety outcry.) His latest project, Supacell, isn’t a film but a Netflix series – an original show about a group of South Londoners who develop superpowers, exploring how their lives are forever changed.

While the idea of ordinary people receiving extraordinary abilities is a familiar format, Rapman is bringing his own personal perspective to it – while drawing from what came before in beloved shows like Heroes and Misfits. “I loved Heroes,” he tells Empire. “It was the closest to my image of what I thought a show about superpowers should be like. It was a massive inspiration.” And while he’s bringing in genre elements, the realistic underpinnings of Blue Story are set to remain. “I’ve always been a massive fan of superheroes,” he says. “I just wanted to do something a little more grounded. Something you could watch and think, ‘If I had powers, I would probably end up doing what he’s doing.’”

Among the sprawling cast of characters, there’s Tosin Cole’s time-travelling Michael, Nadine Mills’ telekinetic Sabrina – and, as seen above, Josh Tedeku’s Tazer. He’s a character who begins as the leader of a street gang – but has a bigger destiny in store. “People say, ‘We’ve had enough of this gang stuff,’ and I get it,” Rapman says. “I could never write a show in South London, and not show that world. I saw that world for 20 years of my life. For me not to put that in, I would be hiding a piece of myself that I know exists.” He has long-term plans for where the character goes next. “I’ve got such a journey I want Tazer to go down. I want to take this guy out of this world. But you can’t ever reach any teenagers or kids doing this if they don’t believe them from the beginning.”

Make no mistake: the ambition in Supacell is major. And ambition has always been Rapman’s thing. “When I was doing YouTube, no-one thought I would get to have my movie in a cinema,” he says. “People probably thought that my next step would be ‘Blue Story 2’. I was like, ‘Nah nah nah — I’m trying to grow. I’m trying to go to the next step.’ I got a big budget with Netflix and I said, ‘I’m gonna go off and do something that I couldn’t have done before.’” Bring on Rapman’s next evolution.

Empire Summer 2024 cover – Deadpool & Wolverine

Read Empire’s full Supacell feature – going on set and speaking to Rapman and his cast – in the Deadpool & Wolverine issue, on sale now. Order a copy online here. Supacell comes to Netflix in June.

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