Interviews

Tonto Dike Opens Up About Her Controversial Role In Soft Porn Movie

by NMN (Staff) / 2,373 Views

Star actress, Tonto Dikeh is always an issue in the industry, especially when it comes to her controversial roles in some movies including 'Dirty Secrets' and yet to be released 'Strippers in Love'.

In a recent interview, she talks about her role in the movie "Strippers in Love” and other issues.


Excerpts from the interview:



All this while, why haven’t you produced a movie to call your own?

I would say I have only done one jointly with another person. I have not shot any personal movie since I started out.

Why?

Nothing, maybe because I have been busy with other peoples work all this while. I believe any time I am free, I would have some time to myself. It’s then I can start something on my own movie. But for now, that’s not my priority.

What would you say is the factor responsible for your unstoppable rise in the industry?

I can’t really say, I just understand that once you take mystery away from a product or a brand, it makes it empty. I don’t know if it’s the mystery of whom I am or why I am who I am. I really don’t know, I just have to thank God the way everything is.

If you’re paid a fortune, can you go completely nude on set?

I don’t think I can do that. Not because of what people may say but because of the fact that I may not be comfortable within myself doing that. And at the same time, it’s uncultured, it’s not part of our tradition.

But it depends on the intensity of what it is. There are some roles that you have to go nude but it doesn’t mean you are having s*x.

You could be nude and dying. So, it depends on how the script goes. But I am very sure I will be very shy doing that.

In most cases, you’re comfortable kissing endlessly in movies, what’s your reaction on that?

To me, that’s very easy. I take things like that for granted. So, far it’s over, it’s over. It doesn’t reflect in my life. Immediately I am through with that kind of role, I leave and start thinking of what next to do.

Does that mean kissing on set doesn’t go the extra mile as some people are made to believe?

It doesn’t at all. Everthing is just acting and it’s like a family thing. Although, we don’t really love ourselves 100 percent, we still have a family in Nollywood. We know one another.

So, it’s just like being around who you know 100 percent. Only when I was new in the industry that such little things appeared somehow but when I got matured with time I became used to them.

Let’s go back to your roles in movies, recently you participated in a movie, entitled 'Strippers in Love which has been keeping movie buff tongues wagging even before its release, what exactly is the role you interpreted in the movie?

Strippers in Love is a very different movie. It’s not like Dirty Secrets in its totality. What the story line is all about is something different, it is about a different problem, you can change a particular habit. It’s a beautiful story and I don’t believe people will criticize it when they start seeing it.

If I am going to do a movie, I put all my heart into it since I am a thriller, so that it can attract people to buy the movie. So,you can judge the whole movie from the two-minute scene in its advertisement on TV.

I don’t think anybody made me who I am today. I just came out and God took control. Even though, he had to use men to do His work on earth.

It doesn’t matter what you say about me, I believe there are thousands of people out there that love me with what I am doing.

My private life has nothing to do with my profession. The day I stop being a good actress, then I know that something has gone wrong with my career. Nothing either said or written by a man can bring my career down. It’s the work of God, I am not bragging about it.

Let’s talk a little about your love life now?

(Cuts in) I am not going to talk about that, it’s my private life. If I have a man, I will celebrate him.

You’re a radiant actress, no doubt about that, what is the secret of your beauty?

Nothing. One thing is that I don’t really like using make-up a lot unless I am on a set. I just try to keep my skin alive.

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RITA DOMINIC EXCLUSIVE: ‘I LOVE CONFIDENT MEN’

by NMN (Staff) / 1,902 Views

She’s one of the top women in the movie industry that has managed to stay away from controversies. A screen goddess in her right, Rita Dominic has risen from an average actress to a Nollywood star on the road to ‘Diva status’. Nigerian Entertainment Today had a chat with the Nollywood hottie who celebrated her birthday on Tuesday, July 13, 2011.

Read the excerpts:


Tell us how you got into Nollywood?
I studied drama in the University of Port-Harcourt and when I was through I came to Lagos. I met Basorge Tariah Jnr. who was my senior in school. Basorge introduced me into Nollywood and cast me in my first movie where i played the lead role. He is the reason why I am here, I owe him a lot.

You‘ve slowed down on Nollywood movie features, what ís the reason?
I am sure you’ve noticed that it is not just me. The quality of the stories and productions started going down drastically and at some point you have to remember why you went into the profession in the first place. If all these years we don’t improve, then there is no reason to continue. I am glad a new Nollywood is emerging and we are all trying to do better work.

Why did you think you were chosen as a co-host for The Headies 2011 awards?
Your guess is as good as mine but I intend to soak it all up and enjoy the experience. I already love the energy of the people that work for the company that produces the event so it’s all good.

Do you have any plans to direct and produce your own movie?
Co-produce yes but not direct at this time. I still feel that there is so much I can do as an actor. Maybe later down the line, I will direct something but I still enjoy acting so much.

Define the Rita Factor that differentiates you from other female Nollywood actresses?
I feel like that question is one for others to answer. Every human being is uniquely blessed by God and I try to be true to myself by being me.

You showed enthusiasm during the April polls, how much do you see Nigeria becoming greater than she is now?
Nigeria has so much potential. We have no choice but to strive to reach our potential. This will only happen when we as a people make it a priority to become greater.

If you are offered a job in the government, would you take it up?
No with a capital N at this time but you can never tell what the future holds. I cannot even handle the politics that goes on in Nollywood not to talk of Government. Sometimes I feel like public service should be a higher calling like people get called to serve God.

Do you have any movie you are working on now?
Yes, I am going to Nairobi in a few days to shoot a film. The working title is ‘Shattered’ and it’s produced by Carol Nguta for Dream House Productions. I am looking forward to it because it is quite a challenging one.

Looking at the great change in Nollywood movies today, is there anything you would like to change as a person or add to it?
We can get always better in terms of the quality of the stories we tell and the way we tell them. I am producing my first film soon and I am doing my best to do a good job.

Male actors in Nollywood are cute, which do you find it hard to work with when trying to avoid emotional attachments?
Lol, you think our male actors are cute? Good for you! When I go to work, it is not my intention to go fishing for emotional attachments so I cannot say there is any male actor I find hard working with for the reasons you have stated.

Talking about classics like Ripples, Behind the Clouds, Checkmate and the others. Do you have any soaps from the past that you still miss?
I remember watching Checkmate and enjoying RMD’s (Richard Mofe Damijo) character. I also liked the late Francis Agu’s character as well.

If you win a lotto today, which of the Nollywood actresses would you enjoying spending it with?
(Laughs) they know themselves and they are very fun people, no airs whatsoever. Two live in Abuja and one is in Lagos so figure it out if you can.

Off the record, if not burgers and fries, which African dish are you very good at making?
I am good at making different dishes but I will say Egusi and Oha soup. Do you ask male artists these questions?

Tell us something you think the press don’t know about you already...
Are you for real? They know too much already!

We hear a lot of celebrity broken marriages round the world, what exactly would you say turns you off about Nigerian men?
I don’t know about turn off but generally, a man that says what he means and means what he says is a big turn on for me. I love a confident and purposeful man.

Do you have a problem with being dominated by a guy?
(sighs) ‘Dominated’ is a word that can mean so many things to so many different people. You would have to rephrase that question.

Would you ever act in a movie for free?
Ohhh yes! If I see that dream role I definitely would do it but that is why we have management. They stop you from doing silly stuff like that (laughs). If not a lot of artistes would starve for their art.

Which artiste in Nigeria would you date if he asked nicely?
Yeah right, like I would really tell you!

What is the cheapest amount you ever received for a movie?
Zero naira. There are still some producers owing me from back in the day.

If President Jonathan let you have his seat for two days, what would you change and how much would you like to be paid?
Ah, two days is too short to do anything! First I don’t want to be paid for those two days and I will focus on four things. I would fix the power issue. It is one of the most embarrassing problems we face as nation and I don’t understand why they treat it so lightly. I would make sure the freedom of information act is properly enforced so that we can find the people who having been stealing from Nigeria since 1960. Free quality healthcare for women and children across the country and lastly I would take steps to secure our boarders and protect the citizens of Nigeria from harm.

What brand of car makes you go ‘WOW’ every time it’s being driven by?
The Rolls Phantom Drop Head Coupe is lovely.

Who made your best dress?
Data for JD7.

Boots and Boys, which do you find fun in?
Huh? I love boots and I love boys so there you have it!

By Osagie Alonge, TheNet Read more »

Nollywood needs to attract core financial investors - RMD

by NMN (Staff) / 1,050 Views

Nollywood interviews on Nigeria Movie Network!

Richard Mofe Damijo, popularly known as RMD, is an actor, film maker, former journalist, lawyer and public servant. Arguably one of the top actors in the Nigerian film industry, Richard won the Best Actor in a Leading Role award at the maiden edition of the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) in 2005. Prior to the evolution of what is today known as Nollywood, he had featured in several stage and television drama productions. He was a former president of the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP).

In January 2009 he was appointed Commissioner for Culture and Tourism in Delta State, Nigeria. For his colleagues, teeming fans and admirers, the feeling was that he may have abandoned acting finally. However, Mofe-Damijo says he never left acting, but only expanded his scope. He also speaks of his experience in the public service, his expectations for Nollywood, from government and the private sector for the arts, and wants stakeholders in the arts and culture sector to consider going into politics. In a recent interview he granted, Richard had this to say:

[Nollywood Veteran: Richard Mofe-Damijo]


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Mirror for the resurgence of Nollywood -Obi Emelonye

by NMN (Staff) / 1,450 Views

Director Obi Emenloye has been talking up the uniqueness of his film, ‘The Mirror Boy’ which premieres in Nigeria on August 5. Starring Genevieve Nnaji, Osita Iheme, Ugandan Edward Kagutuzi and Gambian Fatima Jabbe amongst others, the movie has beenshown to appreciative audiences in the UK, Gambia and Ghana.



An adventure movie, ‘The Mirror Boy’ is about a London boy taken back to The Gambia, his mother’s country, as punishment for getting involved in a street fight. He gets lost in a forest in the West African country while following a mystery boy first sighted in a mirror and later in a crowded market in Banjul.

For the young
The London-based director, who was in town recently to promote the movie, said he made the film to cater to a section of Nollywood often overlooked in productions. “First, it is not often that you see Nollywood stories told from the point of view of a young person. I wanted to tell a story from the point of view of a young person to see if you can capture a younger audience for Nollywood. We wanted to see if we can appeal to them because they are the future of the industry. The second was observing my son who is seven in the UK trying to balance his dual nationality. At school he is a British boy; at home he is a Nigerian boy.

For some people it’s very confusing, especially if there is no father-figure to help them cope. So, I tried to explore the disconnect between first generation Africans and maybe first and second generation children born in the Diaspora. We are trying to tell those children, including the ones in Africa, that Africa might not be perfect but this is where you are from. At the end, our protagonist fell in love with Africa in spite of all the problems he encountered. He discovered who he was.”

Going to Gambia
Though Nigerian filmmakers shoot at locations in the West and parts of Africa, Emenloye scored a first by shooting a significant part of ‘The Mirror Boy’ in The Gambia and the remaining scenes in the UK. The Theatre Arts graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, who also studied and practised Law in the UK, originally wanted to shoot the movie at the Obudu Cattle Ranch in Cross River State. He had earlier met the state’s commissioner for tourism and written a proposal requesting logistic support. Things didn’t work out when Cross River lost some of its oil wells to Akwa Ibom and thus could not support his venture. Luckily, the actress Fatima Jabbe facilitated shooting in The Gambia.

“She said why don’t you come to Gambia? She said, ‘Give me a list of what you want and I will make it happen.’ The next day she called me and I spoke to the president. He said we don’t have money but we will give you what we have. In fact, they did more than they promised. A lot of people said they gave us money, there was no money but what they gave us was more than money. We are very grateful to the president of Gambia and we hope that other African leaders can emulate that to help midwife a new emergence in African cinema.”

Shooting the movie in the tiny, tourism-driven West African country, the director disclosed, was stress-free. “80 percent of the film was shot in Gambia with the support of the president so that reduced our stress. I live in the UK and the bulk of the crew came from the UK. It was Genevieve and some few others that came to London for the London bit. We shot 10 days in Gambia and three days in London.”

New resurgence
Emenloye, who played professional football with Rangers and Julius Berger and had trials with Charlton Athletics and West Ham United in the UK before committing himself fully to filmmaking, is happy with what he has achieved with ‘The Mirror Boy’ so far. Earlier this year, Kagutuzi won a statuette at the AMAA Awards for Best Young Actor while Genevieve Nnaji recently won Best Breakthrough Artist at the Monaco Film Festival. The movie’s run at the cinema in the UK and its potential impact also gladdens the director’s heart.

“Nollywood has stagnated a little bit but there is a new resurgence and I’m happy that ‘The Mirror Boy’ has taken this resurgence to a broader audience, especially with what we have done in the UK where we have been in the cinema for three weeks. We had a premiere in Ghana and it went very well. We have another coming up in Kenya, South Africa and the US.

We are trying to take this film around because we want people to see it. It’s a good spiritual journey and for children who have not been opportune to come to Africa, it shows them what it is like. It is not a perfect picture but it is a beautiful place and it shows who we are. This is where we have connection. We mention umbilical cord a lot in the movie and it is because we are connected to our land by that umbilical cord. Whether it is beautiful, hot, cold or unsafe, this is where we are from and it’s a beautiful place.”

Top cast
The director also discloses the motivation behind his casting. According to him, “Genevieve is a very committed actress and has shown herself to be at the top of her game. When I was writing the script, I knew that barring contractual and scheduling difficulties, she was going to play the role and she delivered with aplomb. I wrote the role for Osita. There was a temptation to bring Aki and Pawpaw together but I felt they would bring a lot of baggage from their past so I needed to separate them and use Osita because of the way he looks. I wanted a cheeky mischievous face on this mystical character.

“Edward Kagutuzi was the most difficult to cast because we were looking for a 12-year-old boy who can carry the film. It was very difficult, we had two auditions and weren’t any closer until an agent sent us Edward’s photograph. Edward was 19 at the time but looked 12. He was in first year at the university and as soon as we saw him, we felt he would bring certain level of interpretation to what is a child’s role.”

On why the film is premiering in Nigeria last, the director, whose next movie is going to be shot on 3D in Tinapa, Cross River State, said, “We chose Nigeria last because this is our biggest constituency. Everything we have done in Ghana and the UK is in preparation for this because we learnt from those experiences.”

Written by Akintayo Abodunrin Read more »

Politics? Count Me Out! - says Genevieve Nnaji

by NMN (Staff) / 1,139 Views

When Genevieve Nnaji emerged onto the poolside of the Four Points by Sheraton, Lekki for our interview, it was with the aura of a screen diva. With a face and a body that make many women envious and make men’s jaws drop in awe, Nnaji, 32, maintains that she is your girl next door. This screen goddess remains grounded even with all of her achievements garnered over 12 years of acting in Nollywood, Nigeria’s straight-to-video film industry.


Her roles in films, performed with utmost believability, have been known to bring tears to the eyes of many young and old. In the last two years, however, Nnaji has been working on feature films as a way of taking her art to a wider audience. The accolades have come in from abroad and she has not gone unnoticed in some of the biggest movie circles. Early this year she won the award for her breakthrough performance in The Mirror Boy at the Monaco Film Festival, France where Hollywood star Robert De Niro made a pleasant remark about her talents. This whipped up frenzy in online forums of an impending role in an upcoming James Bond movie. Nnaji, effusing humility, says she’s expecting the best from the rumours and is waiting for a call from the producers of the spy movie.

Having been described by no other person than talk show legend Oprah Winfrey as the Julia Roberts of Africa, Nnaji has found fame unnerving some times with its attendant headaches. Every day in the life of someone as popular as she is brings its problems and this has made her a little reclusive. When other people go out, she stays indoors as an opportunity to unwind away from public glare. Mother to a 16-year-old girl, fashion designer, one-time singer, inconstant writer, serial single and a tabloid delight, Nnaji crams so much into her one life that makes her a pleasure to talk to. And she’s also got interesting ideas about politics.

If you thought the adorable movie star was just a pretty face, you had it all wrong as she gave her first interview to TELL, a magazine that she grew up reading at her dad’s bedside. Nnaji shared her success secrets and more with Ololade Adewuyi, senior assistant editor and Omoregbe Igiebor recently. Excerpts:


What is it about Genevieve Nnaji that makes her tick?
I think (it is) just being me.

What kind of person are you outside of the TV screen?
I’m actually your everyday girl. I’m your regular next-door girl. I don’t think there’s anything necessarily special outside of the God-given talent that I have and that I’ve decided to put to use. Despite my shortcomings, despite my imperfection and it has worked for me. I just think I’ve been able to manage and make do with what I have and basically be content with what I have and make it work for me; and being able to do that regardless of naysayers and doubters and lack of support to keep my fans happy.

You started out as a regular girl. Twelve years down the line you’re the biggest actress in Nigeria, what is the secret of your success in acting?
It has been nothing short of staying true to the art. I have stayed as professional as I can. I have given my work and my craft as much attention as it needed. I have respected myself as an artiste. I think just giving it your all and not deviating from the fact that all you want to do is act. That’s all I focus on and you can tell that from my movies.

Times have changed, there was a time you were a constant face in all the movies we had, now we hardly see you, can you tell us what you’re working on these days? The reason for the change is that Nollywood was all about quantity in the beginning and it’s growing and evolving. With evolving comes change and with change we hope, comes improvement. I’ve decided that I want to be among the change in time. I’m going to help it improve and in doing that you have to watch out for the kind of jobs you do, the kind of jobs you want Nollywood to shell out. You support the kind of movies you want people to see Nollywood producing. So far, I’ve been privileged to have done a few features like Ije, Tango With Me (that is in cinemas now) and The Mirror Boy, which is going to be premiered here soon. I have enjoyed working in a professional environment and I don’t see myself going back into that mediocrity that we were so used to in Nollywood.

How has The Mirror Boy impacted on your career?
It has done the same thing Ije and Tango With Me have done. It was less challenging than Ije and Tango, to be honest. But it was a good thing because it was the first time I was shooting in the UK and it was the first time I was visiting The Gambia. So it was good to play somebody outside a Nigerian because I played a Gambian (woman). I don’t think I did anything extraordinarily necessarily because the script was originally written for a Nigerian setting.

Let me take you to Ije where you starred opposite Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, over time there have been stories of an intense rivalry between the two of you, the biggest female actors in Nollywood. Was there really a rivalry?
There’s competition in any field. Rivalry is a personal thing, you choose who you want to see as your rival. I do not see anyone as a rival but I have competition. There’s competition out there because you know the only actress who is good but when you see someone as your rival, it means the person intimidates you. I’m sorry, but I’m not one of those because I think everybody is unique in (his or her) own way and all I do is focus on what I can do. I will never try to outdo anyone. I’m going to try to continue being the best I can but I’m not going to work with somebody as a yardstick or somebody I want to outplay. Because if you do, you will either over-act or under-act and you just won’t be yourself. So in terms of rivalry, no it was a rumour.

When you acted with Omotola in Ije, how was your relationship on set?
Omotola and I are colleagues. We are not friends in the sense that she’s one of the people I hang out with – my buddies. In the entertainment industry, she’s one of the people that I respect as an actor. Acting with her is always interesting. She is a unique individual. She is very entertaining and you just have to learn to deal with everybody individually. And that applies to her and everyone else.

Where is Nollywood heading 10 years from now?
It’s a slow and steady process and we are getting there. I see a recession right now and there is a change that is coming to Nollywood. It’s obvious. Having had such great attention from President Goodluck Jonathan, just that embrace from the private sector, from the banking sector, from a lot of people who are coming in now and showing lots of interest that means there is room for change. Even having the funds that the President has given us to help improve production shows that change is coming. The change will come, (but) not everybody might be part of it but a new industry is building and it has to be one that would only carry along people who are passionate about the craft and not people who are there for the fame and the money but basically true talents.

You’ve made recent movies Ije and The Mirror Boy whose producers have been based in the West for a long time. Do you think the salvation of Nollywood will come from abroad?
Nollywood was built by people who trained here. Nollywood is about originality. Sometimes even the country needs help from foreigners, so the good thing is that these people are not strangers. It might be Nigerians from the Diaspora who have learnt one or two things and are coming back to impact their knowledge which is a good thing. It’s not like we have the facility to improve on the knowledge of film making here, hence people abroad are coming in and bringing their knowledge.

There is this film you acted with Desmond Elliot; you acted a blind girl. What was your challenge acting that role?
Till today, that is one of the movies I’m probably the proudest about. I watched it; it’s Wind of Glory. I don’t know the titles of most of my films but I know that one. When I watch myself and I’m not convinced about my performance then I feel people too will feel I kind of messed up there. But I watched that film and I convinced myself that I was blind and I was proud and I gave myself a pat on the back that, “Yes you did well”. I’ve been asked if I did any kind of study or research for that film, to be honest I didn’t. For me, acting is all about imagination. It’s bringing to life not just the imagination of the character, but that of the imagination of the writer. You have to walk in the shoes of the character and be that character and not just pretend to be that character.

Tell us about the news making the rounds that you will be appearing in the next James Bond movie...
(Laughs) I overheard the rumour but I don’t think it’s a rumour because the movie hasn’t been shot yet and so I’m waiting for the call. I’m on standby. I always say, ‘from people’s lips to God’s ears’.

You had a brilliant music video with Dbanj in Fall in Love, you guys had great chemistry and there have been rumours that you two are an item. He was at your birthday party in London in May, if all the circumstances are right, will you say yes to marriage with Dbanj?
First of all I have to agree within myself that I actually want to get married. If I would marry him, I don’t know. I think my life is already chaotic as it is being one celebrity. So, it’s a NO.

When you talk about not getting married, what is it with marriage that you find repulsive?
No, I don’t find marriage repulsive but everyday I learn from married people about what not to do when it comes to marriage. I think I’ve just learnt the bad things about marriage before the good ones. There is constant discouragement but I just know for a fact that when I find the right person I will definitely not think about it. Marriage should be about finding the right person, finding your soul mate, not necessarily in receiving love.

You’ve not met that person yet?
I’m 32, I’ve been busy for 12 years and I’m still busy.
Seeing that you’re so busy, how can a guy break down the barriers and show love to you?
If I have to tell a guy what to do then he’s not a man! (Laughs).

Tell us about when you started out; were you ever romantically involved with any producer to get a role in movies? What would you advise young people hoping to make a living in the movie industry?
I think having God and my family behind me, and self-belief helped. I’m a firm believer in the thought that one cannot be corrupted unless one wants to be. I wasn’t sexually harassed by anybody except one time but it wasn’t like you didn’t have a choice. I think every woman has a choice. No producer in his sane mind will see raw talent and will not want to exploit it and ask for sex in return. I just think that sometimes, people get carried away and are too desperate and I’ve heard of situations where girls actually give themselves. That’s not how I started. I basically just worked. And in working I made my point so that at the end of the day you say hard work pays. And I try to improve myself as often as I can.

How do you unwind?
First of all, my life is really all about being in the public eye and having to be photographed and having to be with people and having to go to places doing the fun things, it so happens that doing the opposite is how I unwind. To unwind I don’t go out, I don’t surround myself with people. I stay indoors and catch up with TV series. I live a normal life that everybody does. I probably do mine in excess because my life is exposed in excess. I do it just being by myself and chilling.

Let us talk some politics. President Goodluck Jonathan has been elected for a four-year term, tell us your thoughts on the President?
I think it’s the first time people got up with one voice and stood behind the guy. I think this should strengthen him, to know that he was elected by the people. So he should work only for the people because he is a president made by the people.

Do you have a piece of advice for Mr President?
There’s one thing I’m particularly pushing for which is credit facilities for the citizens of this country. We pay cash for everything that we own with no help from the government or from the banks. In the West, people have credit facilities at their disposal and are assisted in one way or the other. So nobody can say that Nigerians are not strong, we are, and we’ve survived by ourselves. It’s about time we (got) that help and I hope that this regime will, in four years, help everybody with some kind of credit facility because it will go a long way to empower youths. Everything’s not about education, it’s really about empowerment.

Do you intend to join politics in the future?
I don’t know but then, I never say, never. I know politics has to do with a lot of ar… kissing, I’m not into that. I’m just too outspoken to be in politics.

By Ololade Adewuyi Read more »

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