With acting heavyweights Suranne Jones, Letitia Wright, and Lesley Manville in tow, Dominic Savage’s BAFTA-winning series I Am returned to high praise when the second season was released earlier this month. In three-standalone episodes, the Channel 4 series details three women in moments that are “emotionally raw, thought-provoking and personal.”
For I Am Danielle, the second episode in the trilogy, Black Panther’s Letitia Wright takes the lead as Danielle, a career-focused photographer feeling the pressure to date, who hesitantly falls deeply in love with a model, Michael, played by C.J. Beckford. Until, that is, she learns a disturbing secret about his past. As the synopsis teases, the episode will see whether Danielle can still love him “after this betrayal of trust.” But is I Am Danielle based on a true story?
While there is no hard answer to that question, I Am Danielle is said to be “a compelling reflection on the hope and heartache of falling in love in the age of social media.” Like the other episodes in the series, it was developed in a creative partnership with the leading actors, inviting Wright and Beckford to try “improvised dialogue.”
Wright described the experience as both “challenging” and “liberating,” citing the lack of scripts from which to learn lines from absorbing. “I would describe it as... firstly liberating. Literally liberating,” said Wright in a statement to Channel 4. “It’s given me new love for what I do in terms of creating stories.”
“It’s taken me to a deeper place within myself,” she added, “to ask questions that I may have buried before. It’s enhanced my whole way of thinking about acting and approaching stories but enhanced the way I think about myself too.”
It’s not said whether Wright pulled on her own experiences for the drama – it touches on themes including consent, trust, and betrayal – however the actor said she was conscious not “to bring forth emotion that’s not coming from a real place. So, you have to dig deep from within and find the truth which is within you,” she said.
Speaking about collaborating with Dominic Savage, Wright said it was an “intuitive and sensitive” process. “It’s really different because you’re not given a script to learn lines,” she describes. “You’re completely involved in the creative process.”
Meanwhile, director Dominic Savage beamed to The Hollywood Reporter that making the episode with Wright “was so exciting, invigorating, and full of creative joy.”
I Am Danielle airs on Thursday, August 12 at 9 p.m. on Channel 4.