By Jhada Cohen
Another Jamaican actor will be gracing the small screen when Clarendon native 22-year old Sule Kamu Thelwell will appear in the Hulu/Disney+ series “Saint X”, which starts streaming in April 2023. This is his journey.
In the Beginning was Quilt
Sule’s love for acting was something he describes as an innate and inevitable path. “It was a big epiphany that I…when Rayon McLean, my manager said ‘yo know you look like somebody dah coulda do two commercials and maybe an infomercial if mi real work hard maybe a voice-over on the radio’”.
Sule started his acting journey at Jamaica’s Quilt Performing Arts Company, founded by artistic director Rayon McLean. Thelwell explained that McLean invited him and others from a drama programme to one of his Quilt meetings. Here it was like an audition to see if Sule had what it took to be a part of Rayon’s theatre company.
Quilt prepared Sule for drama school and acting in general, as well as provided him with an incredible sense of community and support. “I feel like there is no other space for creating like that, not anywhere else that I’ve been to in the world. I have never felt like that in London or America. I have only been able to experience something like that level of togetherness, collaboration, and acting at an incredibly high level of delivery only in Quilt.”
Onward to London, via Glenmuir
The next step in his journey was hopefully attending drama school. After receiving encouragement from McLean, Sule considered pursuing acting professionally. Although he originally planned to study architecture, his mother supported him in becoming an actor, but he had to prove it. Sule recalled his mother saying, “Listen, you nah pull no wool over my eyes with no frivolous dream you nuh, you going to show me dat dis is going to happen, so you doing sixth form and going to prove that this is going to work, this is what you want to do and if you can’t figure it out you will be doing architecture”. So after his graduation from Glenmuir High School in Clarendon, he attended sixth form at DeCarteret College in Mandeville, where he had those two years to figure it out.
Consequently, after doing some research Sule applied to five acting schools in London. Upon submitting his personal statement he was considered for an audition. This required him to learn two classical monologues. Thelwell got accepted to all five schools, but chose the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama otherwise called ‘Central’. He fell in love with Central due to its unique style of teaching, as well as the actors and students inducted into the school. “I have always felt that way exactly with the journey that I’m on and not having anyone directly around me doing what I wanted to do. I’ve always felt solo, felt very unique, very just by myself. So to find a school that identifies that way was amazing”, said Sule.
Sule’s journey has now brought him to land a role in “Saint X”, a new series on Hulu/Disney+. Saint X is an eight-part psychological thriller set in the Caribbean that explores the case of a young girl’s mysterious death. He recounts the process of getting the role of Desmond. “One day I was at work while at a summer job and Rayon once again called and was like do you want to audition for this Netflix thing, I was like yea… I thought all that was going to happen is people are just going to see my face and I would have been able to say I auditioned for a Netflix series which would have ended there. But it didn’t”.
Six months after he completely forgot about the audition, when he got a call saying he was being considered for a lead role in a Disney series. Sule was confused, stating that they had contacted the wrong person. He later found out it was the audition he did for Netflix, and he took them up on their offer.
During the auditions for the lead, it came down to him and one other person. Afterwards, Sule received a call notifying him that he will not be playing the lead role, but, “Everyone here loves you so we are looking for other options for you this season”. He thought, “Ok, dem love mi. Maybe wants mi walk through a scene carrying some cup and maybe want me to be comic relief”. A week later he was offered the role of Desmond.
Sule Thelwell will be appearing in seven episodes in the eight-part series “Saint X” premiering on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, streaming on Hulu/ Disney+.