Classics, Interviews

‘I can’t quit acting,’ says Eniola Olaniyan

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TOP actor of the Yoruba movie genre, Eniola Olaniyan has been in the movie industry for over two decades to becoming a producer and a movie director. It, however, came as a shock to fans of the dark-skinned thespian when news hit town that he was set to wave goodbye to the movie screen due to low artiste fee.  There were also claims that he had quit acting for a government job.  ENCOMIUM Weekly put a call through to the talented actor, he put us in the clear, telling us his plans and more…


How true is the news that you have quit acting?

(Laughs) Who said that?  I haven’t quit acting and I cannot quit.  Acting is what I am born to do, it’s my calling. I think what spurred the rumour was because I said I wouldn’t act when there is no money. Instead of jumping around aimlessly, denying my family some privileges, not that I will abandon acting.  I said I prefer to be an entrepreneur, the most important thing is getting a good script.  If I get a good script, a well paid script, there’s no way I will not accept it.

What else do you do aside movies?

I have actually been working for the past 24 years. I am a research scientist by profession. I am in Abuja presently. I relocated two years ago.

Why did you relocate?

I relocated because I just had to face government work and rewarding scripts are not really coming.  I don’t like begging, I prefer to work and fend for myself.  That’s basically why I made the movie. I have to fall back on something. I can’t depend on acting solely for my survival.  I am looking into the future, and taking care of my family, that’s why I’m doing something else.

As far as movies are concerned, what are you working on presently?

I’m planning to do a movie next year.  I did a movie called Kutanle sometime ago.  As far as money is concerned, it wasn’t worth it. I spent over N4 million. I was only able to get N2.5 million as return, I’m going to produce a movie which I am working on. But I wouldn’t spend as much as I did on my last movie.

What is it that you do not appreciate about the Nigerian movie industry?

The way we are treated, the marketers have taken over the industry, they do not regard the Yoruba movie industry as anything.  They do not appreciate us like they do our English counterparts.  Even when it comes to endorsements, they do not give the Yoruba movie genre any considerations.  They are always tribalistic about it most times.

What do you find fascinating about the industry?

It has to do with a lot of innovation, creativity, skills.  You must be intellectually driven, no matter how small it is, you must have something upstairs.  I have been acting for over 33 years now, it is creative and entertaining.

What do you think can be done to correct these wrongs?

I think the first and most important thing is to make our needs knows to the right people.  They should also look into the piracy issue. If the House of Assembly can do something about it that will be a very essential step and the industry will definitely move forward.


This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, May 28, 2013

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