Welcome to Inside Red, a series of exclusive interviews with actors, writers, directors and the other talented people who create the Red shows you love. Today we’re talking to Destiny Ekaragha, director of ‘Danny & The Human Zoo’ on BBC One. Written by Lenny Henry, the semi-autobiographical follows the rise of Dudley teenager Danny Fearon as he rises to fame as an impressionist in the 1970s.
RED: What attracted you to this script?
DESTINY: The thing that attracted me to the script was Lenny Henry! I grew up watching him so I jumped at the chance. The second thing was the story itself. I had never seen a story quite like it before, especially one set in the UK. I thought that it was an important story that is relevant to today.
RED: Did you find a difference between making a feature film and making a television project?
DESTINY: There wasn’t really that much of a difference. I approached it the same way that I’ve approached all my projects. The story comes first, I just try to figure the best way to tell it all visually.
RED: From the first scene onwards, ‘Danny & The Human Zoo’ has a unique visual style and colour palette. How did you develop the look of the project?
DESTINY: I love to play with colour in films. I like the colours to set the tone for each scene and each mood so I spent time with the production designer Grenville Horner talking about the look of each location. He and his team did an amazing job. I also would discuss the look of the film with Simon Tindall, the DOP. I showed him references for the look that I was going for and he just made it happen. Like a magic trick, he’s incredible. I also spoke to Yvonne, the costume designer. She has this encyclopaedic knowledge of what people wore back then. We went through all the colours that I liked and that helped to push the colour palette even more. She was amazing, everyone was!
RED: Where do you draw inspiration from as a director?
DESTINY: Life mostly. I love to tell stories about life and the people that live it. There is so much to tell! I want to either see or tell them.
RED: What’s your favourite memory from the making of ‘Danny & The Human Zoo’?
DESTINY: All of it! Seriously, I couldn’t pick just one. I had an amazing crew and an incredible cast. I love them, it sounds mushy but I really do!