Paul Ogola (Jela) Sense8

I had the privilege to interview our favorite best friend and endlessly smiling optimist, Paul Ogola or Jela as most of you will know him from #Sense8.  I asked him about his part in the show, and here’s what he had to say.
How did you hear about Sense8?
I was contacted for auditions. The Kenyan casting director Nini Wacera was told by Tom Tykwer, to look for me and have me audition for the role, I was told that Tom said that “Paul is the only crazy person to try this role…” lol trust me I still do not know what that mean. So, I auditioned then after a few days I was notified that I was shortlisted and have to go for another round of audition. Went in, did my thing and the rest is history.
What drew you to the show?
First of, who I was going to work for. The makers of Matrix, Jupiter Ascending, Cloud Atlas, and Nairobi Half Life!!! Fact that I was going to work with Tom again was just a major factor because I knew that I was going to be part of another magic after the success of our previous movie, then I came to learn of the Wachowskis being the creators of the show and that just sealed my ‘deal’! Then came the script and my role was a character I am not, in real life, so I accepted the challenge. Fact that I was going to play a role in this show with a good actor like Aml Ameen was a sign that this is a huge score to my artistic profile. This was art in all its nature and I love art.
Do you work with the whole cast, or just Toby?
On season two, I was so happy to meet the whole cast for the first time on a table read in Berlin. The season brought all these beautiful people in Kenya and we worked together.
What was it like filming such a complex show, dealing with so many extras, especially the second season?
The experience was full of intensity and commitment because everyone was up and down making things work! From running lights, stunts, setting up artificial explosives, make-up and making meals all the business that comes with making a show. I remember the second season, the rally scene where there was more than 3000 people coming to support Capheus on his bid for a public office. This crowd had to be charged up the whole day, it was unbelievable how we worked together and kept the scene alive until the last minute when the lovely Lana yelled to the large audience “…It’s a wrap…”. It was hard work and fun made it possible.
Was filming the Capheus campaign as complex as it looked?
Oh! I never saw the next question when answering the previous but I will repeat! It was complex, hard work but fun made it possible and beautiful.
Did anyone get hurt during the mob scenes?
We had so much fun with everything until danger became a pet. That’s why I do not remember of any casualty!
What was your favorite scene to film?
The explosion!!! Look, that scene was a huge challenge for me personally because, this is my first ever stunt scene, a bus is going to explode behind me, 7 camera rig and only 1 bus to blow, so guess what! NO ROOM FOR TAKE 2. The super stunt guy Sir Morgan Chetcuti briefed Toby and I on steps and when it was time to go, it was up to us the bus and the crew! The drone flying up top, cameras running and boom….!!! That’s a scene.
I love Jela’s endless optimism and love of life.  Are you like that?
All I can say is that I learn from Jela every day. The most important thing is that I have a Jela in my life and she inspires my portrayal of the role.
Are you from Narobi?
Yes, I am from Nairobi.
What was filming in Africa like?
I believe that the crew had a great time in Kenya and got the best of what we can offer. Kenya is where Hollywood is missing in its productions, but I am happy that Sense 8 is blowing a pretty loud picture about the possibilities in Kenya.
Did you get to work with Lana Wachowski?
Yes, from season one! I met them then, they loved my work and the rest is history.
Have you been an actor long, or was this your first role?
I would say that Jela was my first international role. I was still acting on stage with a group in Nairobi called Galaxy players and Heartstring Kenya. Then did a movie with a production house called The Nest Collectives (google them by the way, they have beautiful works you would love), after that nothing was really happening in my acting world so I kind of resorted to being a video editor until I got the call to go audition for Jela.
How is Sense8 different than other shows?
Sense 8 is the truth, art in its original form, it is a show from muses and a true depiction of humanity.
Why do you think Sense8 touched so many people?
Because Sense 8 is the truth people forgot. Right now, everyone is searching for answers in the world through google and seeking approvals from social media just to feel accepted. But s8 brings you back to what matters, YOU.
Why do you think Sense8 was cancelled?
Economics! Economics! Economics! People must watch the show.
Why do you think Netflix gave in to give us the 2-hour special?
Because they are amazing! Reason to, the believe that the fans are going to be watching and in my opinion, Netflix and the fans can create more opportunities so that the last can be the beginning.
Do you think they’ll give the fans a third season?
The fans must watch the show all the way to the next or the end.
Are Sense8 fans different than most fans?
Sense 8 fans are FANmily! I do not know about the rest.
Is there anything you want the fans to know?
The fans must know and celebrate their power! Then Triple the energy 100times.
Would you like to say anything to the fans?
WE ARE US.
On behalf of the S8 world sidekick, cast and crew, THANK YOU SO MUCH AND WE LOVE YOU.