Arnold Oceng on filming The Good Lie


Oceng plays Mamere (centre)

Oceng plays Mamere (centre)

Arnold Oceng, the leader of ‘the Lost Boys of Sudan’ in The Good Lie, came to a Q&A about the drama after a screening. The film is about refugees who trek thousands of miles from South Sudan to a refugee camp in Kenya to escape the civil war. They are later resettled in America and have to adapt to a new way of life.

Here is what I learned from Oceng about the movie:

– He visited the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya to research and says “nothing could have prepared him” for the experience. A very small amount of filming was done in the actual camp and it was mostly recreated back in Atlanta, which stood in for Kansas City. His co-star Reese Witherspoon and a lot of the production team also went to get a feel for the place and learn about being a refugee.

– Oceng was not accepted with the rest of the Sudanese cast straight away because he is British Ugandan. The other cast in the tribe were resettled refugees themselves or their parents were. A lot of them were in awe of how close the script came to their experience despite the writer Magaret Nagle not coming from that background

– Not being from Sudan meant Oceng had a tougher job getting the accent right. He also had to lose a lot of weight.

– For further research, he stayed with a group of real ‘lost boys’ in Kansas City

– The cast cried for real in some moments during filming, especially during scenes in the airport. The director never pushed them to haul in their tears and gave them time to get it all out

– Nagle had to fight with producers to keep the first 30-45 minutes of the film about the children’s trek from south Sudan to Kenya. She believed it was essential for the audience to understand what they had been through before transitioning to America.

The Good Lie is a beautiful film and tells a very important story. It is released in the U.K. on Friday. Read my review here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: