Gassed Up stars Stephen Odubola and Taz Skylar disagree with comparisons made between their film and British TV drama Top Boy.
The film, which had its premiere at the BFI London Film Festival in 2023, features Odubola as part of a moped street-gang in London, who uses his earning from thefts and robberies to support his family – but his whole world is turned upside down when a jewellery heist alerts an Albanian crime family to his crew.
Both Gassed Up and Ronan Bennett’s Top Boy feature youth on the streets of London, fighting – by any means necessary – to make ends meet, but as far as Odubola is concerned, that’s where the similarities end.
“I don’t think it’s comparable. They are both separate stories,” he explained to Digital Spy.
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Continuing, Odubola added: “Top Boy is there for entertainment, where this is … a completely different kind of story. I think the only reason people are comparing them is because both of them are set in the urban world.”
Co-star, co-writer and One Piece cast member Taz Skylar agreed, noting that the comparison is an “interesting thing” to see.
“Don’t get me wrong, I think Top Boy has done incredibly well, and it’s a great show. I’m a fan of it,” he began.
“But I think the fact that they’re being compared says kind of more about the people that are comparing them than the comparison itself. It says more about the grasp on… what are the reasons that they’re being compared? And it’s exactly what Stephen says: it’s because they’re both set in the urban world.
“When Westerns come out, they don’t all get compared to each other, they get evaluated on their own merit as a film. Or the same with action films. They don’t necessarily get compared to just other action films, they get compared on their own merit.”
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Continuing, Skylar emphasised his hope for the film – and other projects also set in “the urban world”.
“My aspiration for a movie set in the urban world, or urban landscape, is there can be enough of them, and so many of them, that they start getting compared to other films on their own merit that have nothing to do with the urban landscape.”
The film also features Steve Toussaint (House of the Dragon), former Eurovision star Mae Muller, and internet celebrities Harry Pinero and Yung Filly as well as rapper Ms Banks.
Gassed Up is released in UK cinemas on February 9.
Charlie Duncan is a freelance news reporter for Digital Spy.
Deputy Movies Editor, Digital Spy
Mireia (she/her) has been working as a movie and TV journalist for over seven years, mostly for the Spanish magazine Fotogramas.
Her work has been published in other outlets such as Esquire and Elle in Spain, and WeLoveCinema in the UK.
She is also a published author, having written the essay Biblioteca Studio Ghibli: Nicky, la aprendiz de bruja about Hayao Miyazaki’s Kiki’s Delivery Service.
During her years as a freelance journalist and film critic, Mireia has covered festivals around the world, and has interviewed high-profile talents such as Kristen Stewart, Ryan Gosling, Jake Gyllenhaal and many more. She’s also taken part in juries such as the FIPRESCI jury at Venice Film Festival and the short film jury at Kingston International Film Festival in London.
Now based in the UK, Mireia joined Digital Spy in June 2023 as Deputy Movies Editor.