Letitia Wright has been in several British television shows, including a role in The Wire-esque Top Boy, but Americans will meet the 22-year-old actress this spring when she appears in Logo’s two new series, Cucumber and Banana. The shows are connected, both from Queer as Folk creator Russell T. Davies, and will also air in the UK on Channel 4 beginning January 22. Cucumber follows an older male couple and their friends, which has smaller roles for Letitia and younger characters, while Banana gives the younger characters their own half-hour episodes. In Scotty’s episode, she becomes enamored with an older woman she comes across at the grocery store where she works, and decides to call her and hang up several times while also sitting outside of her house and watching her from her car.
“When she was doing it, I didn’t think that she was a stalker, because I couldn’t judge her for being stalker-y. Because she’s my girl, my character!” Letitia said. “But I did think in the back of my mind that she’s weird, she’s really weird. But I didn’t put that into it. She just likes this lady. But I watched my episode for the first time when I got to LA, and looking at it from an outside perspective and leaving it alone; She’s weird. She’s weird! I texted Russell, ‘She’s weird!’ Russell said, ‘I love her! She’s mad. We all have madness in us!'”
Scotty has only the best intentions, though, and her interest in the woman (who has a husband) is not so different from anyone of us who might meet someone we become interested in and then look them up on Facebook.
“Her way of doing it is just a bit creepy,” Letitia said. “I guess in general when you see someone you like, [it’s like] I’ve done that before! Oh my god, I’ve done that before! Not the sitting outside the house, but meeting someone and being like, ‘Damn, wow, let me check you out on Twitter!'”
Letitia doesn’t subscribe to labels for her own personal life, but is happy to be playing a character who is content in herself and her sexuality.
“Well, when I read the script, on the page [she has a] cool relationship with her mom. I could relate to that because I have a cool relationship with my mom,” Letitia said. “As far as the backstory, yeah, I created it a little bit. I felt that in this time in 21st century, it’s OK to go, ‘I’m different.’ Because I have different mates: I have gay friends, straight friends, bisexual friends—whatever, I don’t care, you’re a person. Scotty is kinda like that. … She can say ‘This is who I am.'”
Scotty takes care of her mother, who has an undefined illness that keeps her confined to the house, and most often the bed. It’s clear that Scotty’s mom completely supports her and her dating women, but also knows she can be a little, well, awkward about her crushes.
“[Her mom] can tell her daughter is still vulnerable, so she has to reassure her to not do things again,” Letitia said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight—your mom wants the best for you.”
Scotty is tender-hearted, if a little bit naive. But that’s part of what attracted Letitia to the role, and why she thinks Scotty becomes easily attracted to a much older married woman she’s never spoken to.
“Scotty is vulnerable, so seeing someone’s kindness—she doesn’t really know her as well so whatever she’s grabbing from her, seeing her at the supermarket. I think that’s the attraction—someone being kind,” Letitia said. “There’s always something someone does for you that makes you feel more alive. Anything that you take from someone’s soul or someone’s vibe and I think she takes that kindness [from her].”
That vulnerability is something Letitia said she shares with her character.
“I wear my heart on my sleeve. I get a bit heartbroken sometimes!” she said. “I can relate to that thing where you want something you can’t have. And you’re a bit naive about it, it’s OK, but then you need to grow up a bit. Scotty’s a bit naive, and in terms of love really, she’s exploring that. She’s had a few bad ones in the past but now she’s falling in love with people she can’t have. She does have that, everyone has that. Wanting something you can’t have in terms of people.”
Letitia said Scotty is not the only queer woman on the two shows. There are two women in a long-term relationship whose storyline is about the difficulties of living with your partner, and a character named Vanessa who is like a second-mother to Scotty. Out actor/writer Sue Perkins is also a writer on the show.
“The woman that I work for, Vanessa, is a character in the series that is a lesbian and she has a lesbian daughter in the series,” Letitia said. “So that relationship, your mom is gay then you’re gay, so you’re kinda competing with each other and you coexist as well. She’s also a mother figure there, supporting me with a job and such, just being there. Yeah there’s a lot of diverse women, lesbians, transgender, but it’s not about the boys all the time.”
Cucumber and Banana premiere January 22 on Channel 4 and on April 13 on Logo.