Nse Ikpe Etim Interview: I Left Banking For Nollywood

by NMN (Staff) / 1,809 Views

Nse Ikpe Etim as a former banking official, was a beneficiary of the fat salary that most bankers get as monthly salary alongside the extended renumeration package that comes along with it. But the winds of Nollywood came blowing and she joined the bandwagon, ditching her banking job. Why? Well, Nse sheds light on that as well as her perspective on love below...

What gave birth to your phenomena rise in the movie industry?

I will take that as a compliment. But I’ll ascribe it to working with the right people, having the right attitude and being professional about work. I know that talent cannot take you anywhere except having the right attitude and the grace of God which should always come with everything.

Are you through with the Royal Art Academy?
No, I have only done five movies out of 18 with the Royal Art Academy.

Were they done simultaneously?
No, they were done at different times. If a production speaks well, it speaks well. So you can’t say because Royal Academy has chosen to be bringing out movie in a certain class or calibre and another hasn’t I haven’t done other movies. I have worked in everywhere I should have worked.

What is your definition of a good actress?
A good actress is someone who can interpret a role without seemingly looking as if she is acting. So what happens is that she becomes a character. If I can tell that you are acting, then you haven’t done anything for real.

How can you connect your childhood ambition to what you are doing now?
Having the kind of childhood I had basically would be one of the adverse effects today because growing up as a child was all about reading a lot. I started reading at a very early age and I started playing a lot of educational games. I wasn’t the regular kind of kid. Life experiences could help one connect well with movie characters as an actor.

At what point did you see acting as your calling?
That was when I did the movie Reloaded and I said to myself, if everyone is working, perhaps I should give this a shot.
What are the right things that helped you get instant recognition within a short time?

Reloaded was shot about four years ago and you call that short?
But there are some actresses, who are still struggling for the limelight after 15 years or more.
I am growing at the rate I should grow because I think the industry has a lot more tentacles than it used to have. If you strive to do well, people will notice you.

Nse Ikpe Etim, Nollywood actress
Most of the characters you play in movies are always about broken heart, playing games and more. what normally informs your choice of scripts?

If the dialogue is good, then there is a big possibility of my doing the script, I am a dialogue freak and I also insist that even it is 10 words and I can use my eyes to convey it, I do a script like that.

How do you see love?
Love is a beautiful thing, I believe in love.

When was the first time you were in love?
I am still in love.

You actually started four years ago, where were you before then?
I was in different industries.

Can you talk more about that?
I have been into the banking and fashion. I have done a bit of TV and radio, and the first time I came to this industry was a long time ago but left.

Because I was a young girl looking for satisfaction. As a young girl, you look for what will satisfy you.

Are you happy where you are now?
Yea, I am happy at where I am now.

How many flicks have you done to date?
I did Reloaded, Guilty Pleasures, Erika, that has to do with a child with witchcraft that used to happen in our states, Memories of my Heart, Kiss and Tell, I played a small role in Black Gold and Inale, and a host of others.

Having been in a lot of industries, what have been your challenges before settling for the movie world?
It was just like a man who went out looking for a woman to marry, he now found one and married her. (Laughs). That’s what happened to me. There is nothing I saw that I will still not see in the movie industry. I think the only thing which is peculiar with all the industries is just different in names.

What is your beauty routine?
None in particular.

What informs what you wear?
choose to dress according to how I feel

What about perfume?
I tend to go for older ones instead of the new ones; I use more of old ones. Are you trying to tell me that I smell nice abi? (General laughter).

How was your first time on set like?
Every day I go on set is like a first time for me.

How was your first pay like?
Better than what first timer would have collected.

Nse Ikpe
What do look out for in a man?

I like a man who has a sense of humour, has the ability to tell the truth even when it looks as if you are going to get angry.

You said earlier that you are still in love; at what age did you fall in love?
You want to know how old I am. Both…. I will not tell you.

Haven’t you heard that it is not right to ask a woman her age?
I fell in love at the right age, when I met him; I fell in love (laughs).

What is your view about smooching, cuddling, kissing in movies? Is it happening in real life?
Movies depict real life that is what movies do abi? If you kiss in real life and they show it in a film, it is depicting what happened not necessarily meaning I am kissing a man, it means that a character has kissed the other character.

If you are to date anybody in the industry, who would that be?
Normally some of us don’t like to move around in the same circle.

How would you explain that?
I don’t know. I have not seen anybody; they are too fine for me.

How do you unwind?
I play scrabble, read, write and cook. Let’s pick one of your memorable moments… That was when I resigned as a banker and I packed my things, moved to South Africa not knowing what I wanted to do with my life.

As a degree holder in Theatre Arts, what were you doing in the banking industry?
I wanted to prove that anybody could be a bank worker

Why did you quit banking considering the fat salary?
Bankers earn what I’m earning in seven days in 30 days. To be sincere I quit banking job because I wasn’t satisfied. Read more »

The Story of Jenifa, Funke Akindele Exclusive Interview

by NMN (Staff) / 2,580 Views

The superstar actress has risen, in such short time, from just one of the numerous actresses around, to become ‘the’ actress – thanks to her movie Jenifa, which catapulted her from obscurity into mainstream prominence.

Now a Globacom ambassador, and a multi award-winning actress-producer, the UNILAG alumnus is back with a new project The Return of Jenifa (TROJ). And, one week after a star-studded premier in Lagos, the star actress sat down with Nigeria Entertainment Today correspondent for a quikie. Read the excerpts:

How do you cope with so much work?
It’s by the grace of God. I sleep like seven hours in the night and crash like one hour in the car.

Six, seven hours?
I have to because of the stress of my job. We’re always on set acting. The light is really hot. And it won’t be good if you don’t eat and sleep. So I try my best to eat and sleep well. I need that energy to keep pushing on.

Let’s go way back, probably to the time you were born. Give me a brief description of your family. Where you grew up?
I grew up in Lagos, I come from Lagos. I have three siblings. Two girls and a boy.

Where in Lagos did you grow up?
Somolu, Surulere. My mum is a gynaecologist, my father, an educationist. Growing up was fun, I was more of a tom boy, playful. I had fun.

How much did television at that point in time influenced you, your mum being a gynaecologist and dad educationist, were they strict? Did you have access to TV, comics?
Yeah, definitely I was given access to watch TV and read comics. We were given access to it. Just make sure you’re silent. You read your books. You do the right thing at the right time.

So from primary school to secondary school; Which secondary school?
Lagos state model college, Igbo-okuta.

Let’s fast forward to when you were featured in the very popular ‘I Need To Know’ series. How did that come about?
Well my first experience for the camera was on Opa Williams set, ‘Naked Wire’. I featured in a film.

How did you get the role?
I just attended the audition and Opa Williams is such a gentle man. I heard about the audition then, I was given a role. After then, I was on I.T at APCON I just told my boss, ‘oga I want to go for this audition’. He was like, ‘go, go, go’.

How old were you then?
I was past teenage years. I went, and I got a role.

So in the series you had to play down your age, the character in the script was quite younger than you were. How did you manage it?
At first I found it a bit difficult. My director was always complaining on set. You’re not talking like a teenager. You need to talk like a teenager. I got home a bit sad. And my younger sister said ‘why are you worried?’. ‘They’re going to take the role from me o’, I would answer. Then she would take a look at my script. ‘What are you supposed to say?’ ‘No mummy, yes mummy’. Just say it like that, and I went back and I did it like that, and I got the role. So she taught me how to play like a teenager.

The other people you were working with they were also playing younger roles...
Yes, they were young. They were fairly young.

So they were playing their part?
Yes, they were young. They were teenagers. Averagely you were above their age.

How long did the series last?
Still on air. It lasted for two to five years.
I think the first two, three years was very fantastic. And I don’t know what happened...
They brought in new people.

So after ‘I Need To Know’ there were a few years of…
Trying to get roles.

Tell us about it...
That was a very trying moment. It was really tough.

So you went straight into Nollywood?
Yes, I went into Nollywood. I met Kunle Coker. He helped me to get roles. He was supportive. But it was difficult to get roles on television. You’ll talk, talk, read, read, but they wouldn’t give you the role.

Why didn’t you move straight to series that were airing on TV as at that time?
I tried. I was on ‘Every Day People’. I was on I think ‘Izozo’, but they weren’t like ‘I Need to Know’.

So you rather went for Nollywood?
Yes, when I didn’t get the big break.

What was the first Yoruba movie you featured in?
It was Kolade Alabi’s ‘Iroka’. The producer told me about the movie at an event. I was part of the movie in Osogbo. I played a very minor role. It was in Ayo Adesanya’s ‘Heart Breaker’, after then I crossed over to the faculty where you have Yinka Quadri, Ogogo, Abe Lanre, Yemi Alabi. They welcomed me, featured me in their movies, and I started my first major role. My first lead role was in ‘Ojo Ketala’. Coincidentally, that was my first experience as a producer.

So almost immediately you became a producer. Where did you get the experience from?
I believe I could do it and I started it. I watched how they did it. I’ve been on different production sets and watched how they do it. They call people from different departments, different professionals. Finally I wrote my script, I invited the director of photography and the director. How are we going to do this, call this make-up artist, call this wardrobe person. And I gathered them together and we did the movie.

Prior to you featuring in Yoruba films, you’ve been reading scripts in English. What was it like speaking Yoruba in a movie?
I speak Yoruba very well, I speak Yoruba at home. My mum would say, ‘speak English, English is good, but speak Yoruba, ‘omo Yoruba ni e’, so it wasn’t difficult.

Who invested in your first movie?
My mum

So she believed so much in you?
She believed in me

How about your dad?
My dad wanted me to be a lawyer. So my father would just tell me then, ‘go back, go to school, go and study law’.

How does he feel now?
Now he’s cool with it.

Are you going to consider practicing Law?

Has it ever crossed your mind to make your dad happy?
Please I don’t practice Law. But it reflects in my script. It’s good that I studied law. It helped in writing my scripts.

How so?
Like if you watch my films it’s all about crime rate, arm robbery like when they want to start a case in court and all that. It helped.

So after ‘Ojo Ketala’, what was the next movie?
After ‘Ojo Ketala’ I did, I think ‘Etanu’. I met Hakeem Balogun who’s become my best producer since date.

So how many films have you produced?
Over ten films.

What Inspired the Jenifa Movie?
I just felt like impacting the youths with a solid message. A lot of girls out there do things they really shouldn’t. Some are ‘aristos’ and stand the chance of losing their lives through dangerous ways – including contacting HIV. And other things that should be set straight, I wrote the movie myself.

Why take the comedic route to preach such a serious message?
I felt I should talk about sustaining good morals but in a way one would laugh but still walk home with a message. ‘Jenifa’ isn’t boring, so you will watch and equally get the moral of the story at the end.

Did you ever looked for someone to play the role of Jenifa?
Yes I did, but couldn’t find anyone. Ronke Oshodi almost fit the role but she was too big in stature for Jenifa’s character. I wanted Jenifa to be smaller in size. I had to play the part when I couldn’t get anyone to fill up the role.

Tell us about the ‘Omo Ghetto’
Yes. I did Omo Ghetto to reach out to young people in the ghetto. That they can be responsible, they can use their God-given talent and acquired skill to better their lives, of their family and that of the nation. Because a lot of people from the ghetto – the pick pockets, touts, the young people that came to rob me when I was shooting Omo Ghetto, are so young. So young!! It was sad, but we thank God. I’m alive.

Did you try talking to them?
Yeah, yeah, even when one was trying to hit me, but his accomplice started begging like, ‘ema fo wokan yen o’. I felt so bad, so sad for them. I heard they’ve been arrested you know. And I feel bad. I hope they’ll change. I hope they’ll be given another chance. You know these are supposed to be the leaders of tomorrow, why waste away? Those are the people that inspired ‘Omo Ghetto’.

What inspired your passion for Nigerian youth?
Urm, I had an experience before Jenifa. I met this young girl. I think she’s living in Ijora. A very pretty girl. She speaks good English. She went to a public school. She knows how to braid hair. And she’s trying to get back to school. I met her. She’s so close to me. And I would give her money. ‘Are you okay?’, ‘how are you?’. So I met this young girl, and I think she’s got a good heart. I can do something for the young people. Why can’t I reach out to them through my movie and my N.G.O, The Jenifa Foundation? That’s how we started.

So which one came first? The deal with GLO or the deal with the Lagos State Government?
(Laughs) Everything came together. The only thing I can say is that I’m happy to be a Glo Ambassador. Glo is for the gbo gbo bix girls. And we have a lot to offer our subscribers, check out the…

Don’t, don’t, (Laughs).
Then Lagos state, I’m from Lagos state.

Which part in Lagos?

A lot of your peers have taken a very long time before they said, ‘I think I can produce too’. Why was your own so sure. Why was your own quite quick?
Because I knew what I wanted to do. And everything’s by God grace. Not by might.

Would you still create more characters, more movies for Jenifa? I mean there’s a ‘Return of Jenifa’. Though it kind of shows a sense of ending.
For now, but tomorrow. Like Madea, Madea was in ‘I Can Do About Myself’, she’s was in ‘Madea’s Happy Family’, we loved Madea, but she’s crazy. She’s got something for you.

Tyler Perry is the richest entertainer right now in the US. Why is she your role model? Apart from being the richest entertainer.
Not because of that. Because of his work.

Because of his work. When did you start following up?
I can’t even remember.

Okay. What next?
We’re resting now

But what next?
We’re resting. Keep your fingers crossed. The energy that we put into the ‘Return of Jenifa’, oh my God, it was crazy, it was challenging, it was tasking. Getting all the cast together. To even get the content. It was a big job. Don’t forget the expectation was also high.

How much do you charge for a movie role?
For a movie role? Ah, oma kpo gan. O to 50million.

How much last?
Ah, I can’t mention. It depends on the person. I can even do it free of charge. If the script is so strong and it’s something I can handle.

Have you ever thought taking up a role in Hollywood? Something not in Nigeria?
We all want to.

Have you gotten any call?
I don’t know. Let’s wait.

You haven’t gotten any call?
Let’s wait.

Laughs. Okay it was nice speaking with you.
God bless you dear, thank you for coming.

Culled from TheNet Read more »

I’d Love To Act In French Movies -Zack Orji

by NMN (Staff) / 2,388 Views

Zack Orji remains one of the best actors in Nollywood. He was one of the pioneers in the industry and his consistency has won many accolades for him. In this interview with ADUNOLA FASUYI, the graduate of Estate Management from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, spoke about growing up, life in general, declaring that he did not leave acting for evangelism as many think.

Read the excerpts:

Can you tell us about yourself, growing up and your educational back ground?
I was born Zachee Ama Orji in Libreville, Gabon in the 1960s. However, most people call me Zack. My first movie, Unforgiven sin, was in 1991.

I hold a B.Sc. (Hons) Estate Management degree from the University of Nigeria , Nsukka. I graduated in 1984. Fine Arts was where I made one of my best grades in secondary school. The aquarium market was dull, so I moved on to shoes. Back in my secondary school days, my principal used to call me an all-rounder. I was the senior prefect, I was speaker in senior debates, I was in the drama society, I was school champion in shot putt and discus; state champion in shot putt (1978) and went on to represent my state nationally.

I think the acting and speech-making talent had been with me all my life right, from childhood. Apart from Gabon and my fatherland Nigeria , my formative years; primary and secondary education were in Cameroon, Benin and Togo where I attended both French and English schools. This accounts for my being bilingual. Before becoming an actor, I used to design and make aquariums for sale. I am married to Ngozi Orji and blessed with three lovely children and of course we live in Nigeria.

Don’t you think your being bilingual is an added advantage? Have you thought about acting in a French movie?
You are right. I would like to act in French movies. In August 2002, I was in Kinshasa , Congo, where alongside my Congolese colleagues, I did a 5-minute promo in French for Vodacom to promote their short mail service in that country. I wouldn’t mind acting in a French movie though.

It was everywhere at some point that you have an album that you are working on, but for a while now, we have not heard anything about it, how far?
I haven’t had time to complete the album. We are almost done with it. We are just waiting to do the final mixing and mastering but it’s almost ready. And then, my son is on it too, we are actually working on that in the studio right now as well. He has more than ten songs ready but we are working on the two promotional songs that will be sent to radio stations and Dee-Jays.

What is your genre of music?
I am doing Gospel music, but my son is doing the normal D’Banj, Tuface kind of music.

How come you are just discovering the music talent in you, is it not rather late?
It’s never too late to praise God. The music I play right now is to praise God and the bible says ‘let everything that has breath praise the Lord’. So, it’s not a question of age. I am not doing it because I want to be known as a musician. I see it as part of my responsibility to praise God continuously for the rest of my life for everything he has done for me.

There was a rumour that you left the movie industry to become a pastor, how true is that?
I am not a pastor, but I am an ordained evangelist. And I have not left the industry.

Is it true that part of the reason you are not seen in movies nowadays is because of the standard of today’s movies and poor quality of script?
That is not true. It’s far from why I stayed away. Even if I did, my staying away would not solve the problem. You have to be there to work out these problems. Staying away is a defeatist attitude and I am not a quitter and I am not easily defeated. I am still very much involved.

You said you are an ordained evangelist. Are you practicing evangelism?
Yes I am. I just came back from a preaching engagement in Shepard House Assembly in Markudi, Lafia and Abuja . It’s a church pastored by Reverend and Mrs Joshua Telina. I practise what I preach.

So you are a born-again Christian?
A true believer in Christ Jesus and a practicing one indeed.

How did your dream of evangelizing start, did it start before the gospel music or which came first?
First of all, I am a Christian and every Christian has a responsibility to preach the word of God. Whether ordained or not. So, it’s not a question of starting at a certain time. Once you are a Christian, you can use your own personal experiences to minister to other people and encourage them to embrace Christ. It’s a responsibility that everybody has. The singing and the evangelism are both ways of winning souls for Christ, so it does not matter which came first.

Have you always had the calling before acting?
As an ordained person, I will say that I started acting before I became an evangelist. I was actually ordained an evangelist by Bishop Emma Isong.

Can you tell us why you stayed away from acting for a while as we hardly see your face around the industry or movie these days?
I have not stayed away from acting. I will just say that I have not been as active as I used to be. I worked in 2005 till 2009, but I am not as active as I used to be. The other two callings are obviously taking my time, but I’m still into acting.

What exactly is responsible for your inactivity?
I am doing other things. My wife and I are working on completing our musical work. Basically, I am into other engagements as well.

Does this mean that you want to be focusing more on your gospel music and evangelism than acting?
No. It just means that a lot of things are occupying my time now. Things like training programme for the youths, training in the area of music, my work in evangelism, my musical project and some other businesses that I am doing. So, I find myself travelling very frequently, both within and outside the country. So, sometimes when I get offers to star in movies, I am not able to honour these offers because I am not available.

How do you manage being an actor, a father, an evangelist and a musician? Everyone has his own time and place and in life, you discover that everybody is multitalented. It’s just that on a scale, there are areas that you are more talented than other areas. Those areas are what I call your zone of strength, but I believe that everybody has the responsibility to be able to explore all the ramifications of his talent and gifts. That is precisely what I am doing.

Your son is a singer too, how does this make you feel?
I feel great because its all a part of the expression of the creativity that runs in the family. You know, like father, like son. It’s a good feeling. Even before he started singing, he used to act, when he was much younger, here in Nigeria. Currently he is in England where he is studying Television and Media.

What is his full name?
His name is Leonel Emeka Orji. He is at the University of Bradford in England. Soon, his music will be on the radio and in the clubs.

What is your take on Nigerian movies taking the lead among other African movies?
I see the role of Nigerian movies as a pioneering one. Other sister African nations will follow in our footsteps and begin to do their own homegrown movies.

There will be more collaborations than we have already done with Ghana , South Africa , Cameroon and Sierra Leone , transcending language barriers.

Source: Tribune Read more »

Nollywood Actress Rita Dominic Talks About Her Romance Life

by NMN (Staff) / 2,090 Views

In this recent interview with a popular media firm, Nollywood actress Rita Dominic did not only talked about her private life, she also talks about stardom in Nollywood; hear what she had to say about the man in her life.

Read the excerpts below:

We don’t hear about whom you are dating, we don’t hear your wedding bells or if you are even interested in wedding bells?

You don’t hear about whom I am dating because I have learned how to keep my private business private. If you want to hear wedding bells, why don’t you ring it yourself?

But your fans want to know?

Not every tiny detail of my private life, I am already on twitter and facebook so they know a lot about me already. I try not to discuss my relationships because I hate what happens whenever it gets out. Every little thing becomes magnified and not many men can handle being under that kind of scrutiny. And when it does not work out, you are expected to start explaining why it did not work or start forming that you never had a relationship in the first place. No thank you.

So stardom can be quite stressful on a relationship?

Oh yes it can be especially if it is not built on a solid foundation. I have seen what it has done to people in my industry. Being in a relationship is already tough not to add the drama that we carry around as public people. Apart from that, keeping your relationship private is also a way of sorting out who really likes you for you or who wants to date you just for the publicity.

Red carpet romance?

Exactly! Oh that is good one. I will use it from now. Believe me, they are plenty out there and that is why I cherish a man who is on the same page as you, someone who is more interested in your peace of mind not causing drama every minute. Don’t get me wrong a little drama is good for a relationship but not the kind of drama that appears in newspapers.

Is your boyfriend someone we know?(laughter) Who? Is he cute?

See this woman! What does it matter if he is cute or not?

You would date an ugly man?

Don’t get me wrong, cute is cute but I don’t date a guy just for his good looks. It is about his mind, his heart, and most especially the way I feel when I am with him and the way he makes me feel. Ahhhh this interview needs to end.

Just a few more and I will wrap up. Did you spend it at an orphanage?

Even if I did, you will not know about it. The only time you will hear about something like that is when it is part of creating awareness or raising funds for the charity. Apart from that, my private charitable works is not for the public to know. It is just the same reason you don’t go to the altar waving your money for everyone to see before you put it in offering box. Read more »