He dated only one woman before he got married. He has never strayed into another woman’s arms all the way since 2004. Then he met Genevieve Nnaji and was so struck that he offered to carry her bag and become her personal assistant but he has no qualms about showing his butt in movies.
In fact, he’ll do it again. It’s all in a day’s job. Majid Michel is one hell of a guy. Find out more about the half-Ghanian, half-Lebanese star actor, in this interview he had with SAM OLATUNJI in Ghana. Read the excerpt:
I can see that you are passionately liked, is there something else about you other than a talented actor?
Yes, but I am not just about talent. I went to acting school here in Ghana. We have lecturers from all over the world, excluding Africa. For two years I studied broadcasting, performance, editing, writing, acting. I majored in directing.
What acting school did you attend?
I went to Academy of Screen Acting.
When you act, you bring this vivacious personality on the screen, is it just to impress or that is just you?
I will say I just try as much as possible to make it believable, so when you actually think, you don’t think you are watching a movie, you will think what you are watching is actually happening. I watched Sin of a Soul and I actually forgot that I was watching a movie. I thought the situation was really happening and that is what I like when I am watching a movie. It captivates you; you are lost in thought. I am happy being an actor because it is all I have ever wanted to do.
Very, very much but I have certain things to do to get 100% fulfillment and I am working towards it. Every actor and actress has this thing; they want to direct one day. I just want to direct a couple of movies. After that I will be fulfilled.
It doesn’t look like you’ve made much impact in Nigerian cinema?
Well, I have had three premieres in Nigeria; Guilty Pleasure, Bursting Out and Silent Scandal. So I was actually part of three Nigerian movies that were premiered. But I don’t shoot too often there.
And why is that?
I hate flying, but if the script is tight enough, I will come.
So because you hate flying that is why you’ve not been shooting movies in Nigeria?
Yes and because I need an extra ordinary story that will blow me away. It just has to be a wonderful story but then I still have to think of the plane.
It’s not because some people were threatening in Nigeria?
No, I was not threatened. I just decided to stay away from Nigeria. No one has ever threatened me. I don’t know where that story came from.
Are you aware that Lancelot said it is only you and Mercy Johnson he considered method actors? You share his sentiment?
I think Mercy Johnson is a phenomenal actor. I have worked with her twice, one in Nigeria, once in Ghana and I think she is one of my favorites. Actually she is in a class of her own. If you put her in a proper and international establishment, she will be one of the best in the world.
What about you?
Me, I am still learning. There are a lot of things I have to learn more to get really rooted in the industry and I am still working on it. I want to know my weak points, where I fall short. So whatever you see now, I am just warming up.
Who are your favorite directors?
The one I work with every time in Ghana is Frank Rajah Arase. He simplifies my job before we go on location. He makes it very easy for me to run through all my lines. I also liked Amafor.
What about producers?
All producers, obviously Abdul Salam and other good guys doing well. They are all great producers to work with.
Is Majid actually married?
Yes I am married. I have been married since 2004. I am married with two daughters.
How old are your girls?
One is three, one is six.
But I’ve heard people say that you are a play boy?
People talk a lot, so you should expect anything from them.
So Majid is not a play boy?
No, of course I am not a play boy.
Well one actress has actually complained to me and said you are a playboy. She was just talking. She was just being funny, just to make you laugh.
Even looking at you, you look like a play boy...
No, I’m just a friendly person and very easy to be with.
You’re seen with Jim Iyke a lot...
Yeah, Jim Iyke is my friend, he is a very good friend in Nigeria and we are quite close.
Who are the other guys you are close to in Nigeria?
I hang out with Ramsey. I just met Mike Ezuruonye and he is an amazing guy.
Lancelot said you once told him that you’d faint if you work with Genevieve?
Yes, I really thought Genevieve was an incredible figure on the screen, I just love the way she acts. I said if I ever get to work with Genevieve I don’t think I will be able to act as I will be gazing into her face. By the way Lancelot is very close to me as well, he is a friend.
When you met Genevieve what came to your mind and what did you do?
Everything stood still. I didn’t exist anymore. The world was on a pause, Nothing else was moving apart from me, I guess, watching everything. I offered to carry her bag, she said she had a PA. I told her I would love to be her PA.
When you worked together, I’m sure you kissed in the movie. When you did, what was passing through your mind?
Nothing, truthfully there was nothing. Genevieve is so professional and she knows what she needs to do. We had both discussed the script together and she knew the entire scene very well. That was not the first time I was kissing in a movie. Kissing her was not the high point but meeting her was the high point of it. We were just being as professional as we could to portray the movie well. So, don’t let anything run through your mind.
Is it true you two are dating?
It is a normal thing for people to talk like that and it will not be the first or the last. People talk about those things every time.
So, you never dated her?
No, she is just a good friend of mine.
When was the last time you saw each other?
I saw her at the last Ghana Movie Awards
What is it with you and Van Vicker? Heard you have issues.
I don’t know where that is also coming from. I know that we relate well with each other and we still spoke the last time we saw each other.
But it is in the papers and it was said that you are even pushing him out of Ghana?
Please don’t believe everything you read in the papers. I wonder where they got all that from.
So how do you feel hearing all these stories about yourself?
It is disheartening and when you think about it. It dampens your spirit. You just have to learn to live with it.
What story did you see in the papers that really made you want to shoot someone?
It was the one that said I was arrested; arrested for what? What was that headline for? It is just not fair when something like that never happened and you wonder what people will think when they read it.
So what happened in Lebanon?
The guy just asked to check my passport and I had to wait because I got two passports with different names and he said he just wanted to confirm my name on the list and asked me if I was coming from London and I said yes. That was all.
How does your wife take all these?
She takes it very well and she knows it is the media that write anything they want. We are always together and she ignores most of the things they write. Miracles and good things happen every where we go and you just see somebody write bad things about you and they think it is a joke but it is no joke. If it is true fine but when you lie it is not good.
Where exactly are you from?
I am a Ghanaian, born and bred in Ghana. My mum is from Ghana and my Dad is from Lebanon.
Tell us about your Dad...
He died in 1992.
How close were you to him?
We were quite close. I used to dream about him a lot when he died. He died shortly after I came back from Switzerland. He died from a heart problem. He was a wonderful man and he was really nice. I really wish he was alive.
Have you always dreamt of being an actor?
Yes I have. I used to act with my sisters at home and I have always wanted to be an actor. Watching those movies when I was so young, I always feel I could do one particular role better than it was done. It is by no chance that I am an actor.
Tell me about your mum, did she re-marry after your dad died?
No she did not. She is 60yrs old now.
How old were you in 1992?
From 1992 to date is like 19yrs?
And since then there has been no father figure around?
No, none whatsoever.
How has that been?
My mum did not make it look tough at all. She made it look all so simple and cool. She made my sisters and I so comfortable
How many are you?
Ten of us.
Your parents gave birth to ten of you?
Yes. They are in the states, just four us here in Ghana.
Your mum and dad gave birth to 10 children?
No, my mum gave birth to two but my father had ten. I am the last born.
I have never seen a polygamous Lebanese before...
He did not marry them at once.
Okay, how’s your relationship with your siblings?
We are close, very close. We communicate a lot; they are all great and we are fortunate to have each other. And we have reunions every year.
Let’s get a little personal; have you ever cheated on your wife?
No, I haven’t
Since you got married in 2004?
No, I am like a mini-god.
Are you kidding me? What about all these ladies that flock around you all the time?
God won’t let me and I just can’t see myself doing something like that.
But some will still say you are lying...
I know, but the guilt will be too much for me to carry and I know it is just wrong. Maybe it is the way I grew up and the churches that put that fear in me and make me believe I can’t do it.
You did not sleep with another woman before you married your wife?
I dated only one girl before I marry my wife and since then there has been no one else. We have been together for 11years now and she is the best thing that can happen to me and the most beautiful woman for me.
What does she do?
She is a designer. She designs for pregnant women; she is a maternity designer.
Are you happy that you are married?
Yes, so happy and glad that I am married.
Have you ever been approached by a desperate lady who really wanted to sleep with you at all cost?
Of course, but I have a way of handling those issues and you know I love to be in the midst of women to marvel at what God created out of them and this makes me understand how to deal with them.
So, you have never have taken advantage of situations like that?
No, I haven’t. And I hope I don’t because it is not right.
Has your wife ever doubted your loyalty?
Never, she is always there at all occasions with me and she knows what I am going to do even before I do it because we read the scripts together and go through the scenes too.
Why do you kiss so passionately in movies?
I told you before; movie is a slice of life. It has to look believable and it’s either you are doing it or you are not doing it at all. Like when it looks as if I was having sex on screen and I assure you, I did nothing. I just wanted people to feel it’s real.
What did your wife say about it?
Heart of Men is one of her favorite movie.
Why is pornography prominent in Ghanaian films?
It is all about the script. I would do a pornography scene if it connects with the film and it’s important for the film.
Then you won’t show your backside again?
If there is need, I will.
Then can you do the whole nude thing?
That will be a tough challenge and I’m telling you it is going to be tough but I can if I am really connected with the script and there is really a need for it.
Don’t you feel a little bit queasy with a lot of people there?
The director always uses as minimal number of people as possible for such roles when shooting.
But the actress playing opposite you will see you naked...
No, I wasn’t completely naked and she did not see my front and she was fully clothed.
What does the future hold for Majid?
I don’t know. I leave that to God to decide. I have my dreams and I will just continue to do what I do and pray that my dreams come true.
What are your dreams?
Just like every other producer and actors; to put a great film together and to always have something epic to show for it.
What is your relationship with your colleagues here in Ghana like?
I am cordial with everybody and we all enjoy what we do.
When you play love scene in movies, do you get carried away emotionally?
Yes, you have to put yourself there to make it look so real and try not to be a fake because when you are a fake, the viewers will see you and that’s not good. When the movie is over, it is over. But at that moment when you are acting it, you have to show the emotions. When you are on set and they say a woman is your wife then you need to treat her like one and when it is over you go back to being yourself.
When did you start acting?
1999. And I started from radio drama and I grew from there to where I am today. I then went to school of acting for a formal training.
Why did you not go to a conventional school to learn this?
It was because they don’t have what I wanted to study.
By SAM OLATUNJI
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