GIFTED actor, Alex Usifo, is one role interpreter that has come a long way in the industry. With more than 100 movies to his credit, many still remember him for his role as Talab Abass in the defunct soap, Ripples. Recently, the Edo born role interpreter revealed to ENCOMIUM Weekly the difference between the hardened character of Alex Usifo in movies and that of his real self. He equally spoke on his career, some issues bordering on the movie industry and more…
You’re one of the A-list actors, how does that make you feel?
I see it as a matter of opinion. So, I just feel good about myself. I’m just talking like Alex Usifo and I like what God is doing in my life.
What are you working on currently?
It is difficult for me to answer that because I’ve done quite a lot recently. And so, I can’t start enumerating them. Again, these days, producers don’t give titles because I understand people steal them (the titles). So, it is quite difficult for me to start telling you the titles of the movies I have done, but I’ve done quite a lot and more are on the way.
How have you been able to adapt to the roles you have played in your career?
It is simple. The moment I’m given a script, I go through it and try to understand the entire story. And as I read on, I try to understand the character and pay special attention to it. So, once I am able to dissect the character properly, I will be able to fit in. So, that’s exactly what I do.
What are those things you consider before picking any role?
A lot of things. The first thing I do is to read the script to ensure that the storyline is good. Then, I think about the people that are behind the production to know how experienced they are. The producer may not really be experienced, but the director must be good. And I also put into consideration the artists that I will be working with and maybe the kind of equipment they are using. I equally make sure that the role is not dirty in terms of morals. I also try to avoid the character where I will do some funny things that will make me look irresponsible.
What about the financial aspect of it?
You should know that that aspect is equally important, but we don’t disclose what we earn. Sometimes, sentiments come in because I’m yet to see a job that I’m involved in that people will not come begging me to help them out. Although in such case, I consider them and accept whatever they offer me because I know they cannot pay me.
You always play the mean character in movies, has it got anything to do with your real self?
Maybe I should just say no. It has got nothing to do with my real person.
So, what is the difference between Alex Usifo in movies and in real life?
Outside the set, I am a born again Christian and so, I’m God fearing. So, you do not expect someone who knows and fears God to do the things the character who has no fear of God does.
What is your comment on the quality of movies produced nowadays?
To me, that’s a blanket question because we have good ones and equally the terrible ones. But I must tell you that some are quite terrible.
How would you rate the movie industry at the moment?
The movie industry is growing. A lot of the blunders that we committed in the past are still there, but we are quite optimistic that going by the fact that we are aware that something is wrong means that we will have cause to make serious effort to change the system from what it is right now.
What is the greatest challenge facing Nollywood?
There are so many challenges, especially in the area of casting. We still have sentiments as regards casting. Money is also a major challenge. This is because here in Nigeria, you see someone who spent N6m to N10m to produce a film complaining of spending too much when it is nothing compared to what someone in India receives for playing an extra role. So, here, money is a major problem because people are in a hurry to do movies without proper plan. There is also the problem of quacks who have invaded the industry. They just do things without knowing exactly what they are supposed to do.
Recently, the Federal Government promised to support the showbiz industry with $200m, what is your comment on that?
For now, we’re still waiting for the Federal Government to fulfil its promise. But when they are ready to do so, they should channel it to the right sources. You know most of the citizens of this county are corrupt. I am saying it without any apology to anyone. The Federal Government should make sure it gets to the right people. But for now, we thank God for the fund He’s been providing the movie makers to work with.
What is your comment on some actors who have delved into politics?
I have no problem with that. After all, man is a political animal by nature. So, whoever is interested in politics can join any party he or she likes. But my only advise is that it should be done in the right way.
Do you have any intention of joining politics?
Not at all. I’m comfortable with what I am doing and I thank God for the position I am today.
What has been your driving force all these years?
It is God that has kept me all these while. I will equally say that it is the passion I have for the job I do and my fans who are quite appreciative of me.
If you’re not on set, what else would you be doing?
I will be relaxing around my family. Of course, my family is intrinsically part of me. I also attend church programmes.
What are the other things you do at your leisure?
I read good books, the inspirational ones. But the fact remains that I read a lot and listen to good music.
What is your philosophy of life?
Live and let live. But above all, love God and fear Him.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, February 1, 2011