Aml Ameen abruptly quit Netflix’s Sense8 during the filming of season 2 and was replaced by Toby Onwumere. Here’s why the actor left the show.
Capheus was recast during Sense8 season 2 — but why did the original actor Aml Ameen leave? The Wachowski sisters (The Matrix) created Sense8, which follows 8 strangers from different countries and cultures who come to realize they have a psychic connection and can share emotions, knowledge, and skills with each other. They belong to a rare breed of human beings known as “sensates,” but their shared connection soon leads to them being hunted down by shadowy forces.
Sense8 was a high-concept idea from the Wachowskis and arguably their best work since the original Matrix. The show was high-minded sci-fi, which was both emotional and action-packed. That’s one of the reasons it quickly gathered a loyal fanbase, but Sense8’s expense — which apparently came to $9 million per episode during filming on Sense8 season 2 — led to it being canceled. In a rare move, the overwhelming fan outcry over Sense8’s cancelation led Netflix to greenlight a series finale to give the show a proper ending.
It was announced prior to the arrival of Sense8 season 2 that Aml Ameen, who played Capheus “Van Damme,” quit the show and would be replaced by Toby Onwumere. With Aml Ameen’s sudden departure from Sense8 there were quickly rumblings of creative differences and rumors began to grow of some darker reasons for the character’s recasting. So what really happened to lead Aml Ameen to leave Sense8?
Why Aml Ameen Left Sense8
According to the original report, Ameen clashed with co-creator Lana Wachowski during a table read for season 2 and their relationship worsened from there. The actor actually filmed for a couple of episodes of Sense8 season 2 but left after tensions between him and Wachowski failed to improve. While his replacement was well received, the show was canceled before Sense8 season 3 could be filmed.
While the public line behind Aml Ameen’s sudden departure was creative differences about the direction of the character during Sense8 season 2, some darker rumors came to the foreground over time. The Wachowski sisters are both trans women and when Aml Ameen’s recasting was announced, one of his co-stars, the trans actress Jamie Clayton (slated to appear in the Hellraiser reboot) posted on social media that she was excited about the change. Other reports listed Ameen’s departure, not as a decision over creative differences, but as a firing of the actor. All of this added fuel to the speculation around his exit, and some commenters quickly began to speculate that Aml Ameen might have been guilty of transphobic comments and attitudes during production. However, Clayton was quick to clarify that had absolutely nothing to do with Ameen leaving Sense8. She explained Wachowski and Ameen simply had creative differences in how they approached the character and suggested the actor may have had “limitations” on the type of material he was willing to perform.
Other reports suggested the actor might have felt uncomfortable with the amount of nudity and sex scenes required of the character in Sense8 season 2. The question of why did Aml Ameen leave Sense8 appears to simply come down to creative tension, with the actor and showrunner Lana Wachowski failing to overcome their differences during filming. Maybe someday the actor will elaborate on what the exact issues were that led to his departure, but ultimately, Sense8 continued to be great following his exit, so perhaps the change was best for all involved.
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