British actor Sheyi Cole has a prominent role in Thea Sharrock’s Netflix original film “The Beautiful Game,” which revolves around the Homeless World Cup, an annual soccer tournament that brings together displaced or dispossessed players from nearly 50 countries. Cole plays Jason, a character who undergoes a sharp #MeToo education when he inappropriately comes onto a fellow player. Cole highlights that director Thea was hands-on and willing to address any concerns the cast had surrounding Jason’s character, emphasizing his naivety and innocence rather than malice.

The bulk of the film is set in Rome, and the cast underwent a boot camp under soccer choreographer Mike Delaney’s guidance. Cole shares that Jason’s behavior is influenced by a lack of role models, unlike his own life where he had plenty of inspiration, including the likes of Sidney Poitier, Daniel Kaluuya, Denzel Washington, and Leonardo DiCaprio. Cole studied at the BRIT School and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and found representation with The Artists Partnership, leading to his big break in Steve McQueen’s “Small Axe” anthology film in 2020.

In “Small Axe,” Cole played the title role of Alex Wheatle, a Black British novelist who was incarcerated after the 1981 Brixton uprising. Working with Steve McQueen, Cole felt a sense of responsibility and nerves, but the experience taught him valuable lessons and allowed him to explore different aspects of his craft. Cole credits McQueen for giving him his space in the industry and helping him grow as an actor. His role in “Small Axe” opened doors for future roles in projects like Donald Glover’s “Atlanta,” Steven Soderbergh’s “Full Circle,” and the romcom film “Boxing Day.”

Looking ahead, Cole has several independent films in the works and is also pursuing his first love, music. He describes working with Steve McQueen as a transformative experience that set the tone for his career. Cole acknowledges McQueen as a mentor and role model in the industry, recognizing the impact of working with an auteur of McQueen’s caliber. “The Beautiful Game” is now available for streaming on Netflix, showcasing Cole’s talent and versatility as an actor. Sheyi Cole is represented by The Artists Partnership and WME, continuing to make his mark in the entertainment industry with a promising future ahead.

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