Na few months naim remain for Clarion Chukwurah wey be Nollywood actress make she reach 50 years, but dat one no mean say she no still get energy and still stand fit. She do one confam interview with NET, wey she dey open to yarn about grow up, her career and her plans wey she get for the Actors Guild of Nigeria…
Make una read am:
How true is the story that you are Nollywood’s highest paid actor, having received 10 million Naira for appearing in ‘Apaye’?
That is not true. I wasn’t paid 10 million naira for ‘Apaye‘.
How much were you then paid?
I do not discuss my fees.
You are an actor grounded in the industry and with a wealth of experience, does this reflect in your pay?
In Nollywood, how good and experienced you are as an actress doesn’t determine your fees, it does in Hollywood though, but here things are done in the reverse and fees are determined by a set of traders in the market where movies are sold. Thus, rather than progress, what we have is a case of stagnation which is responsible for the backwardness we face as actors and as an industry.
Apart from fees, what other problems would you say actors in Nigeria are faced with?
Countless of them, which shall soon come to an end.
Does that imply you are eyeing a position in the executive body of the guild?
Yes, I have seen that the fact that people like me are not doing anything to steer this group in the right direction is solely responsible for mediocres and selfish driven people being at the helm of affairs. I do know that Ibinabo Fiberisima’s tenure will run out in September. I intend to run for the presidency of AGN because it is time that veterans and hardcore professionals learned in every aspect of the business should put the experiences and information to use to move the AGN forward.
On a scale of 1-10, what would you rate Ibinabo Fiberisima’s administration?
I would rate her zero because I cannot see what it is she has achieved. I want to know specifically what she has done that has moved the actors forward in areas like their pay, health and other vital concerns about their jobs. Nothing tangible has been achieved on the issue of welfare or working conditions. It is commendable that she secured an appointment to see the President on behalf of the guild but that opportunity was sacrificed on the altar of self interest and myopic objectives which have for a while now heightened the self interest and corruption practiced in the state chapter levels. The number of burial ceremonies organised during her tenure made me wonder what would have been the case if she had put in place a good health scheme with an insurance company which would have been subsidised for the actors.
What are the things you plan to do, if you win the election, come September?
The first thing I intend to do is bring together experienced actors who are trained lawyers, like Wale Adebayo,Tunji Bamishigbin, Richard Mofe Damijo, Funke Akindele and a couple of others, to sit down and look at the issue of legislation, put together a bill to the National Assembly and drive it at the level of the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives. This bill will be driven to a logical conclusion till it is understood by even a lay man. For instance, everybody knows that there is need for a single body to be representative of all screen actors in Nigeria like Screen Actors Guild of America. Another thing I shall do is ensure that there are transparent and professional conditions by which actors can be employed in this country and that will involve advocating for people interested in running casting agencies to come and register with the guild and then set such up. These agencies must be headed by trained and qualified people, of course, and they will be passed to movie producers and marketers because they will be in charge of casting for movies. I also will like to set up a national library for film practitioners, where students of theatre and film studies can consult and also keep records, like their thesis for example.
And what will you do about the segregation between English and Yoruba speaking actors?
That is another thing casting agencies will help abolish. If there exists casting agencies to fill in these void, things will be alright and this gap would not be evident because, that way, the actor’s ability is what is considered first and not his origin. No one should wake up one morning and cast his brother or sister for a role. Every producer must employ the services of a casting agent to look at script and cast for them, the only exception will be for the lead roles and there must be at least three people because we have to break the yoke of recycling same faces.
What is your take on the present state of movies in Nollywood?
There’s been a great improvement in terms of quality as well as acceptability in international film festivals. Still, access to the kind of money to make such movies is not an everyday thing, which is why we need to create a platform that will bring in private investors. In the first place, the present Nollywood began with the traders in the East investing their money. I think the only thing that can take the industry to the next level is another set of private investors to come in and take it to the next level because, sadly, Nollywood is still on the same level the Igbo traders took it from in the early 90s. We need a structure and confidence to approach new investors and it can only begin with the AGN because of their importance in the movie circles.
Away from AGN, until you appeared in ‘Apaye’ you had been silent for a while. What have you been up to?
I was away from November 2011 till end of April 2013 working on Taking the Initiative International in Kenya and in Los Angeles with the Church of Scientology, and at the same time, I got an agent in Beverly Hills and got closer to learn the nitty gritty of how the Screen Actors Guild in America is run and how they got to where they are. It was two years of upgrading myself to become a better actor and what can be done to make things right for actors here in Nigeria.
Having appeared in over 160 movies, which would you say is your most challenging?
‘Oduduwa‘ was very challenging for me. ‘Egg of life‘ was too and, recently, ‘Apaye’ too.
Is there a role you haven’t played yet and wish you would?
I would like to play the role of a woman by the roadside who is selling boli with about six kids at home and an alcoholic husband and she has to bring sanity to all of that. I have interviewed such women in the course of my work with the initiative and I really admire the tenacity of women like that because I don’t have it.
And is there a role you will never play?
There’s no role I will never play. I am an actor and if that role has a message that I think makes sense for me to fathom, I’d play it.
What if it borders around nudity?
It depends on the context of the nudity. Is it a woman who went nude as a result of her mental state?
If it was that, would you play it?
If I see a message that is worthy of me passing, I will.
At this stage of your career and having over 30 years of experience, has the industry appreciated you well enough?
I will say I have been celebrated but if I were to have had my start in a developed country, I would have had a better deal than I have here.
Let’s go to your days of growing up. What exactly inspired you to take up acting as a profession?
That dates way back to when I was five, I used to be taken to the cinemas with a friend we used to call the bourgeoisie kid. We watchedMichael Jackson,Cleo Patraand it became a natural thing to think it was what I wanted to do. So I trained for it, starting as a trainee actor later to become a semi-professional actor before I went to school. In my first year as an undergraduate, I appeared in my first film, ‘Money Power‘, and my first soap opera ‘Mirror in the Sun‘ was when I was leaving the university.
A brilliant start! So why did you let pregnancy come into the picture? A promise of marriage?
That was when I was doing my first movie and I’m sorry that information is reserved for my book. I wouldn’t share it with you.
What is the book going to be titled and when will it be released?
It’s going to be called ‘The Enigma‘and it is going to be about my life. We are looking at launching it in December.
Can we have a peep into the book, especially the parts relating to your relationship with Shina Peters and the birth of Clarence?
No, you can’t have that. I will not let you have that.
Tell us about your other kids apart from Clarence Peters.
I have only two kids,Clarence and Bryan, then I have my nephew,Bobby, who is also like my kid because we have been together since he was three.
Who is Bryan’s father?
I’m divorced as you know but I was married to Tunde Abiola and Bryan is his son.
You will be 50 in a few months. Share with us your best memory ever.
My best memory ever will be with my kids. I like the moments when Clarence, Bryan and Bobby are busy with the TV and I try to put up some act to get their attention. Such moments are one of my most treasured.
You must be an emotional person. What can make you cry?
Betrayal and being taken advantage of.
Did you think that was what Shina Peters did to you?
I won’t talk about that.
But did that experience make you feel bad?
I never felt bad about any of my pregnancies. The only one that ended painfully for me was a daughter (for Tunde Abiola) lost when she was seven weeks old.
On a lighter note, tell us what phrase you use regularly?
‘For crying out loud!’
Your worst habit?
That must be farting.
If you had to change anything about yourself, what would it be?
I would like to be less emotional about things.
Finally, what is your take on veteran actors being left out of the endorsement deals?
I think it’s sad that because the executives in the corporate affairs department of these companies are young, they only choose stars that relate with their generation. It just shows the manner people think in their sense of appreciations forgetting that without a yesterday there would never have been a today.
For Updates, Advert placement, Online music promo, Publicity, Publishing of Articles etc.
Pins: 23701893, 285FDA43