Adetomiwa “Tomiwa” Edun is a British actor of Nigerian and Ghanaian origin. He is best known for his roles as Sir Elyan in the television show Merlin,Marcus Young in Bates Motel and the popular Alex Hunter in Fifa The Journey.
Edun was born in Lagos, to a Nigerian father and a mother with Ghanaian and English ancestry. Edun moved to the United Kingdom at the age of 11. He attended Eton College from the age of 13, before reading Classics at Christ’s College, Cambridge (University of Cambridge). In his final year at Christ’s College, he won the dissertation prize for his thesis on Homer’s Odyssey.
His father, a financier, encouraged Edun to enter banking as a career, and he interned with Citigroup. He considered studying for a Master of Philosophy degree, but decided to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) instead.
In 2000, Edun appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as the character Clifford in the show Kassandra by Ivo Stourton. Edun attended RADA, appearing in several productions and graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Acting in 2008. Following his graduation from RADA, he played small parts in productions at the Almeida Theatre and the Liverpool Playhouse. He also played Macbeth in a production of the eponymous play by the National Theatre, earning praise for being “charismatic” and a “fine verse speaker”. In 2009, Edun became only the second black actor to play Romeo at the Globe Theatre when he was cast in Dominic Dromgoole’s production of Romeo and Juliet. He also appeared in Slaves, a play by Rex Obano.
Edun has also appeared in several television shows. In 2009, he appeared in an episode of The Fixer, before a role in Law & Order: UK as a soldier returning from the war in Afghanistan. During series three of Merlin, Edun appeared as Elyan in three episodes, and was upgraded to a recurring character in series four. Elyan was killed off during the fifth and final series of Merlin in 2012. In 2011, he appeared in two episodes of The Hour as the character Sey, and reprised the role for three episodes in 2012. In 2015, Edun had a recurring role on the third season of Bates Motel as Marcus Young, a candidate for sheriff of White Pine Bay, which he followed with roles in Lucifer, Legends, and Death in Paradise. He also appeared as Mr Brocks in the 2016 Doctor Who Christmas Special in 2016. The following year, Edun portrayed a war criminal in an episode of Elementary.
Edun performed motion capture and voiced the role of Alex Hunter in the video game FIFA 17.
For most people who venture into this field, they have an attraction to the stage or the screen for Edun, it was the love of theatre. He recalls some of his earliest memories of theatre being from Lagos at the National Stadium. He says, “I remember these moments of outrage, of seeing someone being duped on stage and wanting to do something about it. I guess I had the impetus to be involved it wasn’t until his meeting with a the late influential director in Cambridge by the name of Annie Castledine who he says, “- was the one that first of all suggested that this could be a career and secondly was instrumental in pushing me along the path…And like they say, I never looked back.”
Being a member of the theatre and film industry in as much as they are under one industry, Edun describes the feeling of being on the stage and on screen. “Every night, the performances are essentially different because the composition of the people involved in the conversation is different and there is something wonderful about being able to start at the beginning of a story and take it to the end with no interruptions.” Talking about film he says, “Onscreen, I feel it is more like catching these moments of truth of human experience and the director assembles all these moments that we’ve caught over the process of the course of the film to tell a story that hopefully connects with cinema audiences emotionally.” In an ideal world according to him, he would love to do both.
Edun recently featured in Banana Island Ghost, a movie which featured Chigul as the lead actress and Edun as her boyfriend. Considering this is his first movie in Nigeria, he admits that, “I have been trying to do that for years. We have taken things to various stages and for whatever reason, they haven’t quite worked out.” Finally working here due to the right conditions and approach from Biola Alabi and BB Sasore, he was attracted to the script because according to him, “It was a lot of fun! The sort of abundant joyfulness of it just jumped off the page.” Laughing as he reminisces about being on set he adds, “We had a great team, it was a real privilege. The crew, the co-stars. There were a lot of laughs on set and hopefully there will be even more for the audience.”
Describing the movie as a global industry, Edun goes on to say that “We have so many stories that need to be told and I will love to do more work here (Nigeria)”. When asked about the experience shooting in Nigeria, his answer is a little bit shocking but refreshing as he says, “I think being on set is pretty much standard everywhere. You are always short of time, inevitably. No matter how well you can, you are always chasing the clock.” Laughing, he adds, “We have fun issues like losing light, all those challenges you have to deal with here that perhaps you don’t have to deal with elsewhere.”
If careers were left to the fate of a Nigerian parent, at least one child would become a professional football player, preferably playing with the big clubs and sending money back home.
Well, Edun is eating his cake and having it in the role of Alex Hunter in the FIFA 17 – The Journey which allows players embark on professional careers as Hunter. Edun describes it as a “surreal experience” he goes on to say, “Basically it has given me the opportunity to live out a boyhood fantasy. I mean who amongst us would not be a professional footballer of the highest level if we could do it and I have sort of gotten to live that dream which is amazing.” Talking on his journey while playing this role he says, “We shot in this massive warehouse in Vancouver in winter and then seven, eight months later the material that started off as us dressed in these weird motion capture suits, interacting with very few real sets, props and scenery turns out into this beautifully polished pseudo-movie.”
Speaking of the effect of this unique introduction to entertainment, he says, “I will say that the greatest validation of our work was watching my friends or brothers play this thing that I have been working on for all this time and seeing them pulled in that they are now reacting emotively and spontaneously.” Playing Alex Hunter has been instrumental in his career as he says, “This FIFA thing has opened up doors that ten years ago we wouldn’t have known would be there.” Regardless, he admits to being blessed, saying,
“I am proud of the variety of material that I have been able to do. It’s great to have been able to work in all these different market’s.”