Style/ Beauty

Rye Lane Star Vivian Oparah Talks Disrupting Romcom Gender Roles And Being “Unapologetically Messy”

Romcom lovers of the world, unite. Indie film Rye Lane is here to steal all of our hearts.

The film follows unlucky-in-love Dom and Yas and their misguided adventures over a day in and around South London’s Rye Lane market. After Yas meets Dom (Industry’s David Jonsson) crying in a toilet cubicle over his ex, the duo decide to help each other through their respective break up dramas. A day of hilarity and, dare we say it, a spark of romance ensues.  

Watch out for a blink-and-you’ll miss it appearance from It’s A Sin star Omari Douglas, as well as a cameo from a true romcom legend that GLAMOUR won’t spoil. 

Vivian Oparah’s Yas is full of sass and quick quips about how to get over a “binfire of man” and move on. But her bluster and confidence is not all that it seems. As her and Dom become closer, we see her defences dissolve, and the possibility for a new connection beckons.

This is Oparah’s time – after an array of exciting TV roles, including a small part in Michaela Coel’s I Will Destroy YouRye Lane is set to put her on the road to stardom.

GLAMOUR sat down with Vivian, who opened up about the important equality and “fluidity” between the gender roles in Rye Lane, her experience of starring as a female black lead in a romcom and her take in romance.

What first attracted you to the role of Yas?

When I read the script, I just was like, ‘why would she make decisions like that?’. As an actor you always want to do something that is a bit far away from yourself, and I could not personally get the speed that Yas moves at, and her curiosity for the world around her – the neuroses, at times. 

I just wanted to understand what was underneath such a strong escapist intention. And once I got into the heart of her, I was really endeared towards her. Some people are just unapologetically messy, and I respect that.

So many romcoms can feel a bit sterile or dry, but Rye Lane is full of so much flavour and fun. What do you think it’s bringing to the romcom world?

I hope it’s disrupting the idea that romcom characters need to adhere to certain types of conventions. Yas isn’t your typical romcom female lead – she’s a bit of a dick! She makes mistakes, she’s messy. 

And there’s fluidity between the two characters – sometimes Dom takes the lead and sometimes Yas takes the lead. Dom hops on the back of Yas’ moped, for example. Both characters take time to wear the hero cape and the devil horns, you know? I like that this shows that it could be anyone’s turn at any point.

You and David Jonsson have amazing onscreen chemistry. Did you have to do a chemistry read? 

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