-Admits FIFTY grossed N400 million
Former Mr. Nigeria, Emmanuel Ikubese is living his dreams. He has been climbing the ladder of success daily with his acting prowess. He was one of the lead actors in FIFTY, the top grossing movie in Nigeria today.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had an interview with him about his much talked about role in the movie, FIFTY, his plans for Project RAW and more…
What have you been up to lately?
I have been working on a couple of movie projects. I have been on tour of higher schools in Ogun state. We went with Project RAW initiatives. We tried to pass the message to young people. I have also been on set. I have also been doing a couple of things as an ambassador to Brandy Almondia. I have been busy really
Do you think you can really achieve your aim with War Against Violence with the kind of society we are in and the gender quality bill recently rejected…
Even with the gender equality thing, it doesn’t change anything. There are some women who beat men. My concern about it is that women are often the victims. I feel it is the man’s duty to protect the woman. When the man does otherwise, I think there is a problem. That is why I am focused on campaigning against domestic violence.
What plans do you have for RAW this year?
I wouldn’t lie to you, one of the issues we are having now is financial constraint. I am just an actor, I make money from filming. It is really difficult to get people to buy your dream. That is why things are a bit slow. We are trying to partner other NGOs who have similar dreams with us.
Towards the end of the year, we hope to do a second edition. We will raise money to do that. I am also looking at doing a movie that will address the issue with the hope that the awareness will continue to go round. We also hope to help women who have been abused in their relationships. One of the challenges these women face is that they don’t have anything to fall back on so, they go back to that abusive relationship.
Most of them cannot stand on their own. We hope to set them up, but the financial constraint is there. I am just one person with a dream. I hope I get more people on board.
How many schools do you hope to tour?
We are taking it as it comes but what we have in mind is to do a seminar and invite different schools. We will have a RAW Day where we would counsel people. We will show the film as well.
You acted in FIFTY as a gigolo, you were quite raw in the movie?
FIFTY was an amazing project. I am proud to be part of it. I see acting as an act, you need to go all in to prove whatever you want to prove. That is why Hollywood is where it is today. They go all in to do what they need to do. It has nothing to do with our cultural values. It has nothing to do with Emmanuel.
It is more of me portraying that particular person at that particular time. FIFTY had that vision. It is a movie that doesn’t have Nigeria only as its market. It has an international vision. We wanted to show the world that we could do a proper movie in the proper way.
If you look at the characters, everyone was able to portray the character they acted. I always tell people, what other way would you have portrayed a sex scene as original or to look as real as it is. It happens.
Lupita Nyong’o got an award because she was flogged as a slave. How else would they have flogged a slave if she wasn’t stripped naked and flogged the way slaves were treated that time. A lot of people go out to act their character.
It wasn’t anything sexual, it was just about bringing life to that character. I wanted people to know Sammy was a bad boy, a junkie. He likes older women and he is just crazy. That was what I tried to portray, so far so good. I have been getting a lot of positive responses. That is what acting is all about.
Does that mean if you get similar roles, you wouldn’t take them?
I didn’t act nude. I was portraying a character. I was having sex with someone and I was caught in the act. When you are having sex with your partner and you were caught in the act, how would you look? I am careful not to be stereotyped to a particular character. I have done that to prove my strength. I don’t want a situation whereby they will say you are looking for someone who can act nude, go and call Emmanuel. That is not my role. My role is doing my job and doing it well. It could have been the role of a Rev. Father, I will kill it like it should be. It could have been any other character.
The way I brought life to Sammy, that is the way I will bring life to any other character. If you have a nude scene and think Emmanuel will be available for it, I will definitely turn it down. That is not what I am all about.
There was an allegation that you were not the person that was naked. We learnt there was a stunt double?
I cannot give out secrets of our production. We did a movie to make you believe what you believe.
I thought the censor’s board will go after the movie?
It wasn’t provocative. If you want Nollywood to be the best, we need to stand up and do it the way it should be done. We need to master our crafts, not just as actors but as producers, directors too so that we can be taken serious. People think we don’t take our acting serious, we need to show that we are putting effort to our work. That is why FIFTY is very successful. They have seen the effort put into the production.
How true is it that FIFTY grossed N400 million?
It is very true. FIFTY is one of the movies that have been showing since December till now. How many Nigerian movies stay up in the cinemas till that time. It is grossing big time. I am happy that it is a Nigerian movie. That is why I said it is not all about me and what I did. It is about bringing life to the movie which every actor in FIFTY did. I am glad it is getting the reward.
How much were you paid to feature in the movie?
A lot of money! I was paid a lot of money. If the movie grossed N400 million, you think I wouldn’t get a lot of money to act in it. It was a lot.
What made FIFTY unique compared to other flicks you have acted in?
I have been involved in Shuga. It was another project done properly. It was done world class. It was also directed by Biyi Bandele. I love the fact that Mo’Abudu wanted to prove to the world that we could do something in Nigeria on a world class level. That is what she wanted to do. She went all out and she got it done.
A lot of people think you are a vain person. Are you?
No, I am not. A lot of people actually believe I am but I am not vain.
There is this perception that you are a gigolo, you have also acted in movies as one…
That is the problem. In Hollywood, if you need a black person for a role, you cannot cast a white person for that role. It is not about being a gigolo. Permit me to use this word, I am good looking, so I pass on for that person. If you are looking at someone who can act a gigolo, you need someone handsome with six packs, not just anybody will fit into that role but that’s not what I am.
Who really is Emmanuel?
I am a cool God fearing guy. I am passionate about what I do. I am passionate about making an impact as an individual. I am passionate about imparting my world. I want to be an inspiration to young people. I want to be a role model to many. These are the things I desire and what I want to work for.
I am a very private person. I am family oriented, I love my family. They have been my support.
Is it true that you like older women?
That is not true. I don’t like older women.
What do you like then?
I think it is never about people’s age or looks, it is about their character, the way you see others, their way of life and the positive vibes they have around them. Friendship is beyond age, relationships. It is about how you guys connect, inspire each other and how you believe in each other, somebody who is willing to go the extra mile with you. Those are the basic things.
Are you in a relationship?
So far so good, yes I am.
Tell us about her?
Like I said, I am a very private person. I wouldn’t use to talk about that.
What was your parents’ reaction about you in FIFTY?
I will tell you the truth. I really didn’t want my parents to see it. It was such a big movie that I couldn’t hide it. Normally, my parents usually come for my premiere but I didn’t tell them about FIFTY. I didn’t tell them I acted in FIFTY until friends told them to go and see the movie. I tried to talk them out of it. They couldn’t see the movie the first day, but later went again.
Funny enough, my mom understood my character but I have not talked about FIFTY with my dad till today.