Gangs of London star Sopé Dìrísù talks shocking character return

A lot of people got killed in season 1 of AMC+'s crime show Gangs of London, but no death was more surprising than that of Joe Cole's mob boss Sean Wallace who was shot in the head by Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù's undercover cop Elliot Finch during the season's finale. Except, as viewers discovered on Thursday at the end of season 2's second episode, Sean is in fact alive and well even if he has likely crossed Elliot off his Christmas card list.

Gangs of London
Gangs of London

Luke Varley/AMC/Sky UK Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù on 'Gangs of London'

Below, Dìrísù talks about Sean's return, reteaming with Cole, and why he gets breathless watching one particular season 2 moment.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, given the amount of physical punishment which your character endures on Gangs of London, let me just say it's nice to see that you are still all in one piece.

ṢỌPẸ́ DÌRÍSÙ: [Laughs] Me too, me too. And my mum's pleased as well.

I guess my first question is, what the f---, Sean Wallace is back?
I know, right? Someone asked me at the premiere, 'What's it been like this year without Joe on set?' I had to say, 'Well, it wouldn't have been the same without him,' the most sort of open-ended answer I could give. And it wouldn't have been the same without him. I love Joe, I love his work, I've known him for years, so I really respect him. I'm glad he's still a part of this journey. I knew this was going to happen from when we were shooting that final sequence of episode 9 last time 'round. Yeah, with Joe, it's better in than out.

Gangs of London Season 1
Gangs of London Season 1

AMC+ Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù and Joe Cole on 'Gangs of London'

Am I right in thinking that the original plan was to really kill off his character in season 1?
I don't think anyone would mind me saying this: He was going to have this incredible season-long arc and we were going to, you know, Sean Bean him. But he's a fan favorite. I get people in my DMs and Instagram messaging me all the time, like, 'I can't believe you killed Sean! Why is he dead?' Even people I've grown up with, like my friends from birth, have been like, 'I'm sorry, but he's my favorite character, why did you kill him?'

Has it been hard keeping his return a secret?
Not at all. I quite enjoy finding different ways to evade the answer. [Laughs]

The first time we meet your character this season is in this fantastic action sequence set in an Istanbul laundrette which has director and showrunner Corin Hardy's bloody fingers all over it. What was it like shooting that?
It was quite crazy actually because that was a later addition to the story of season 2. It wasn't necessarily supposed to be that way. It wasn't thrown together, but there was this freneticism to creating it. There was a bit of guerrilla-ness to it. It felt like we were skiing off-piste.

I love the shot of the big guy (real-life Lithuanian powerlifter Žydrūnas Savickas) falling on you as the camera follows him down.
I'm quite grateful that we didn't shoot that practically. At the same time every time I see it, because it's in a lot of the trailers and obviously I've seen the whole series with my family now, every time he lands on me I do become breathless for a moment. It hurt a lot shooting that scene anyway but it would have hurt a hell of a lot more if we'd shot that practically.

What can you say about the rest of the season?
I try as much as possible when working not to focus on scenes my character's not in, for two reasons. One, information that the character doesn't know will come up but it's not useful for the process. But also, it gives me the opportunity to sit back and watch it as a regular punter when the stuff comes out. There was so much of this season that I just enjoyed. I think, if I could give people a teaser, I would say, Orli Shuka as Luan, and Mirlinda [Dushaj] as Eri. That arc in this series is just incredible. I love the way that their scenes are written, I love Orli's execution of the scenes he goes through. People have got them to look forward to for sure.

And I assume there is going to be some sort of face-off between your character and Sean? I mean, you did shoot him in the head. He can't be very happy about that.
But he didn't die, right? Not many people get shot in the head at point blank and survive. I think there is some gratitude that should be shown for that.

Exclusively watch a scene from the third episode of Gangs of London season 3 with Dìrísù and Cole below.

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