‘I am happily married’
+Highlights of her new movie, M’odorisa
On Thursday, March 31, 2016, ENCOMIUM Weekly had an exclusive interview with star actress cum film maker, Kemi Afolabi during the audition for her new movie, M’odorisa, which held at R & A Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.
The pretty thespian spoke on this epic movie and much more, including her alleged romance with Odunlade Adekola…
What’s going on now from your stable as an actress and a film maker?
From the stable of my outfit, KAAB Entertainment, we’re about shooting a movie, M’odorisa. That’s why we’re here today. We want to inspire aspiring actors. That’s why we’re giving them the opportunity to showcase their talents.
So, that’s why we’re having this audition. The movie is about a thousand cast. Apart from the faces people are familiar with already, we want to also bring up the up and coming ones who really have the talents and are very passionate about this job. After that, we’re going to the next segment which is script reading by the major characters.
We learnt audition has been declared free in the industry, are you also doing yours for free?
The audition is free. I am doing this in-order to impact the people I think I could help in my own little way. So, the whole bill is being settled by me. I just want to have the very best of what we’re about to do. So, it’s part of the plans the company has for 2016.
What informed the title? Does it have to do with your person?
It has nothing to do with my person. It has something to do with the character of a particular person in the movie, M’odorisa. So, it’s actually about our culture, art and tradition. So, it has everything African in it.
It has to do with our cultural heritage in its totality. The story is also informative and educative in the sense that we have a segment where our young ones are brainwashed that it’s only those things that are done in the western world that are really the best for them. So, we’re trying to tell people that we have a beautiful culture.
We have a whole lot of things that our kids can learn from. It’s so sad that nowadays, some people are even ashamed of their mother tongues. It’s a way of getting across to people that our culture is beautiful. And they can actually learn a lot from it. It’s just our own way of preaching it through what we know how to do best which is movie.
Is a thousand cast not too large for a movie?
I don’t think so because the story involves huge crowds. It’s going through different villages. We have about 10 or more villages we’re showcasing in the movie. So, we have a lot of scenes that require crowd. That’s why we have up to that figure on the cast. And that’s the main reason for today’s audition.
Where are the locations for the movie?
After scouting around, we went to Osogbo, we went to Ibadan, Oyo and other places. We needed somewhere that will really depict the kind of story we wanted. So, we eventual loved somewhere we saw around Ilaro, Ogun State. Actually, it’s an outskirt of Ilaro. The village is called Abule Igbo. It’s after Ebute. We saw all we needed as required by the script. So, we’re glad. My director was cool with it and every other person in the crew.
It’s like you’re very much identified with epic movies and a lot of movie lovers expect you to be playing a romantic role mostly due to your looks. Why are you comfortable with epic movies because M’odorisa is also an epic flick?
Yes, M’odorisa is an epic movie. And this is my second epic movie. The first one I produced was Ajantala. So, it’s about my culture. Actually, I have done a couple of modern movies. But I love preaching the African culture. That’s why it appears as if I am more comfortable shooting epic movies.
So, everything is about versatility. It’ all about being an all rounder. I could be romantic, I could be hard and all that. I am a complete actor. I thank God for that.
Who are the established actors that will be paraded in the movie?
First, the movie is a spectacular one. The reason I said that is because it’s an all female cast. So, we have a whole lot of star actresses, including Peju Ogunmola, Madam Saje, Yetunde Wunmi, Bimbo Oshin, Sikirat Sindodo, Fathia Balogun and many more. The list is endless.
What informed the idea of using only female?
It’s about what the story requires.
M’odorisa is a big budget movie going by all you have said. How much have you budgeted for it?
I can’t actually talk about the budget now because of other expenses I don’t even know yet. But it’s not a joke.
Who is your sponsor?
We partnered Olasco Films.
When last did you produce a movie?
The last time I produced was in 2014. And in 2015, I wasn’t able to produce any because I was jumping from one place to the other, doing other peoples jobs. But now, my fans are on my neck that after Ajantala, Kokumo, First Love and all that, what next?
Even as I speak, I have a lot of people waiting for me to be done with the job because I have to work with them. I just told them to give me sometime so that I can attend to my personal needs and the needs of my fans. Then, I will attend to their needs as well.
With the economic situation in the country, how do you feel spending on movies when you know movies are no longer doing well because of piracy and all that?
It depends on the movie you’re doing. We can’t say because piracy is disturbing our jobs and we stop. We’re working on how best we can make people happy. And with this kind of job, you look beyond making gain or profit. It’s about passion. It’s about doing what makes you happy. It’s about sending messages across to the people. It’s about educating people, entertaining them and all that. It’s about you as a role model. So, it’s beyond making profit.
You look good, what’s the secret of your beauty?
Do I really look good? I believe beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. And beauty also lies in the heart. If you’re beautiful from within, you will also be beautiful in your outer part. So, I thank God for my life, I thank God for my partner because when you’re with somebody that really makes you happy, that puts your mind at rest, that encourages you to work, that supports your work, you won’t have any problem. You will just be radiant and glowing.
How supportive is your husband?
Very, very supportive. Sometimes, he will even goes as far as putting all he has in supporting my career. He has always been doing that from my day one as a producer. Most times, the money comes as loan and he never gets it back (laughs).
When the issue of your alleged romance with Odunlade Adekola came up, how did he react?
My husband and Odunlade Adekola have a cordial relationship because it’s been a long time. Actually, it’s quite sad to me because when people try to break me up with people that are my helpers, people that support my work, it’s really sad. And I want to use this medium to appeal to you journalists to do your work very well.
I know sometimes the story may be so juicy and some journalists will just go to press without proper investigation.
But it’s always good to hear the other side. There’s something we call audiorterempaton in law. Please, pardon me for bringing in this legal terminology. Even though I am an actress, I am forever a lawyer. I would always go back to law. It will do us a lot of good if you guys actually reach out to us before putting your pen on paper.
I know most journalists would just pick up their pen and say they tried to get across to us but their efforts were futile. But what of those that are on your BBM contact and all other platforms through which you can reach out to the person?
Some just like writing whatever rumour they hear without bothering to do any investigation. It’s unfair. I just want to beg you journalists to please, do your job very well by making sure you hear from the party or parties involved, no matter how juicy the story is, before going to press.
Regarding Odunlade Adekola’s issue, I just want to appeal to you all to leave the gentleman alone. He’s happily married. He’s someone I really respect. Odunlade is one of those people who encouraged me when I came back. When I was back, I had to take a queue. But he was one of those people who picked me up and encouraged me.
He said he knew I had the talent and he believed in me. And he gave me so many chances, okay, who knows now, maybe it’s because of what people have been saying that I have not even got a call from him to invite me for job.
And I know he has been working, not that he’s not working. People should just not break up our friendship. He’s a very good friend of mine but the media has been able to separate us. And there is this notion about Nigerians or Africans as a whole. When you play a character in a movie very well, and strictly by the script, they tend to quickly jump into a kind of conclusion, “Oh! These two people are wonderful. The chemistry is so good.”
In acting, there are some people that when you’re on set with, they carry you along, they make the job so simple and so easy. Odunlade Adekola falls into that category. So, people should just find out what’s truly going on instead of unnecessary insinuations.
So, the truth of the matter is that both of you are not dating?
Yes, we’re not. Odun is just one of those people I really adore in the industry. He’s someone I know wants the best for me. He features me in his movies because he believes in my acting prowess.
How come it’s now reported that it’s because of him you and She Baby are fighting?
About She Baby, I don’t want to say anything again. I had explained the gospel truth about the issue. Normally, I won’t go back to that again because you can’t get to talk about everything, you can’t respond to everything being said about you. But about her issue, a lot of my fans, my loved ones and many others who felt concerned about the issue called me up, and others – that’s why I had to come out and shed light on the issue.
It’s now left for the people out there to believe whatever they want to believe. If they think I will be going back and forth to reply or respond to whatever anybody says about me, they won’t be getting that from me.
Besides, I am not here for that, I am here to promote my movie, M’odorisa, the film that has been on my mind for so long. And it’s now I am set to bring it out to people. That’s my priority. I am here for success and what will give my fans the very best.
So, you don’t want to make any further comment on She Baby?
Not at all. Thank you, sir.
- TADE ASIFAT