Back to first grade for book­worm

Evening Express (City Final) - The Guide - - BIG SCREEN -

IT’S hard to imag­ine that Naomie Har­ris, a stun­ning, con­fi­dent ac­tress who’s now in the run­ning to play the next Bond girl, was once a self-con­fessed nerd. “I was al­ways a nerd and a book­worm at school – I worked a bit too hard,” says Naomie, who stars in the new movie The First Grader. The work paid off though. At 34, Naomie sprang to fame in the 2002 TV adap­ta­tion of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, be­fore be­ing al­most un­recog­nis­able as a voodoo priest­ess in two Pi­rates Of The Caribbean films. Her lat­est role couldn’t be fur­ther from the high­oc­tane, Mar­tini-in­fused 007 films. In The First Grader, based on a true story about an 84-year-old Kenyan who de­cides to go back to school, Har­ris plays in­spi­ra­tional head teacher Jane Obinchu, along­side Oliver Li­tondo as Ki­mani Maruge. “It was a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence but def­i­nitely very chal­leng­ing,” she says. “We live in an in­cred­i­bly ageist so­ci­ety, it’s al­most like you pass 35 and you’re over the hill, your life should be over. “It’s so nice to hear a story about some­one who’s 84 and says, ’This is when my life be­gins and I have the pos­si­bil­ity to learn how to read and write’. “At any age it’s pos­si­ble to re­alise your dreams.”

ED­U­CA­TION: Naomie Har­ris and Oliver Li­tondo.

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