The First Purge: Joivan Wade talks new movie…and more


Joivan Wade is someone who doesn’t need any introduction, from Mandem On The Wall which has hit over 1.8 million views to now starring in a Hollywood film ‘The First Purge’, the Lewisham raised actor is beginning to achieve the things which he has always dreamed of. After a private viewing of The First Purge, I had the pleasure of meeting and learning more about the star boy and the filming of The First Purge.

So you went from chilling on a wall with your friends, to then pursuing Hollywood. How did you feel when you found that you had got the role in ‘The First Purge’ as Isaiah?

( Joivan Wade) I felt a real sense of accomplishment and I felt like it was a testament to my belief system, you know that hard work beats all. And as long as you work hard and you have belief in what you do and you take active steps in order to accomplish it then anything is possible. For me it was a big opportunity to be like yes I have my case study now, I can say to young people look focus on what you want to do and yes you might be in a situation now where you have nothing or haven’t done anything in the same way I was, you know 6/7 years ago. But of the back of that with hard work and innovation you can be in the position you want to be in and you can create great work and get to the highest that you want to get to.

Was there a moment of realisation of how far you’ve come like an oh my god what is going on moment?

( Joivan Wade) I’m still like oh my god what is going on now! I don’t know when the whole thing will sink in, maybe at some point, maybe when the film comes out and has been in the cinema.

So can you tell me about your character Isaiah how did you feel adapting to that role? Did you find it difficult?

( Joivan Wade) Playing an American was the hardest thing to adapt to because I’ve never played an American before. The actual character was not too far away from home you know, he’s a young 18 year old boy, he’s urban, he’s grown up on the projects New York. I can identify to a lot of that, I grew up in estates in London but the fact that he’s in this world which is crazy and the government is crazy, those are the things that we don’t experience and those are the elements which I looked at and was like oh hold on a minute this is where I have no identification. I can’t look at my background and where I am at being a black British guy because the worst we got is Brexit. They’ve got Trump stopping kids from being with their parents and you know I had to get into that sort of mind set. You see the scene with the church when the church gets run up on, like that’s happened in real life, there’s so many things within American society that has taken place that I had to understand.

What was it like being in America?

( Joivan Wade) I love LA, I spend a lot of time there and I really enjoy it. I’ve got a real good centric group of friends which are American whose experiences I drew up on and tried to understand their culture. I had the base of the US accent but it helped me learn how to get it more specific to New York. I stopped listening to UK music which is pretty much all I listen to, which was hard but you know I needed to I couldn’t take myself out of the zone.

So can you explain your relationship with Nya and do you have any siblings of your own which made it easier to show that relationship?

( Joivan Wade) The relationship with Nya is she is basically the big sister but at the same time Isaiah feels like he’s the big brother and he wants to protect and provide for the family and be the man of the house. They don’t have their parents so she’s trying to provide and protect him but at the same time he’s trying to do the same for her and he’s trying to do right by her and in doing so he does a little bit of wrong. I have 3 brothers, 2 younger and 1 older brother you know that brother to brother, especially to the younger ones you have that protection over and responsibility to look after your siblings and that’s how Isaiah feels.

What was the best moment or experience when filming?

( Joivan Wade) I loved the stunts they were dope. Even the little things like using a gun I haven’t done any of that stuff before. It was great fun and a good opportunity. The set was tense because we had created this atmosphere that this is the purge but at the same time we were trying to have fun, I loved filming.

Was there any bad moments or experiences during filming?

( Joivan Wade) There were no bad experiences just after 3 and half months of filming I went to the crew and spoke in my regular accent and they all felt betrayed.

You have now basically experienced the Purge say it was going to happen in the UK what advice would you give us?

( Joivan Wade) Stay in your yard, stay in your house like why you going out there for. Stay in your yard!

What do you have planned for yourself now?

( Joivan Wade) I have another film coming out which is called Verses which is a rap battle film which is directed by Ed Lilly and is out at the end of summer. Then I have my own projects, I like working on my own stuff, like Shiro’s story which is something I am working on. I’m just trying to create great work and then go for the next big thing in Hollywood and then create something there again.

What is your next big goal? What would you like to achieve?

( Joivan Wade) I want to play a superhero, I want to play Miles Morales which is the black spiderman, that would be a dream role for me.

To round this all off, what did being part of ‘The First Purge’ teach you in general and about Hollywood?

( Joivan Wade) That it isn’t about the magnitude of the project but about the team that are creating it although this was my biggest project, it felt the most relaxed due to the family we were working with, the director and the freedom which we got. You want people to see your work so you have to do it at the greatest level because everyone is going to be seeing it and hearing about it. It’s going to be talked about you don’t get that privilege with other films so this is a great opportunity to create that and I can’t wait for people to see it and for them to tell their friends to see it.

The First Purge is out in cinema’s 4th July, make sure you tell a friend to tell a friend and watch it yourself!