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|My Pain, My Joy As An Actor – Tony Umez Narrates by amebofamily: 12:25pm On Oct 24, 2015|
HE came to limelight in 1994, after featuring in the blockbuster movie, “Died Wretched: Buried in N2.3m Casket”, and since then Tony Umez has remained one of the most bankable actors in the Nigerian movie industry.
However, following the role he played in the soft porn movie, 027,which was released in 2013,Umez incurred the wrath of his fans who were unhappy with his involvement in the movie. But in this engaging interview, the actor talks about the making of that movie, and why he doesn’t feature in an Igbo film.
MY face missing on screen in recent times! I don’t know what you mean by missing on screen! But if I have to agree with your observation, I am back on track. The industry is evolving and younger actors are springing up everyday. But that doesn’t mean, I haven’t done some jobs in recent times. It’s just that I haven’t been as prolific as I used to be in the past. I have been involved in other projects. Nonetheless, I am back in the industry.
Whether scripts no longer come my way
For an A-list actor who used to feature in about thirteen to fourteen movies per year, if he starts featuring in about four to five movies, his face would cease to be regular on screen. That’s why you said, my face has been missing on screen. It wasn’t actually missing on screen.
Living my dream after debuting in Nollywood in 1994
“Died Wretched: Buried in N2.3m Casket, “ wasn’t my first movie. But it was the movie that brought me to limelight. As an actor, I am more focused and disciplined now than ever before. But contrary to what people believe, an actor is the most disciplined person on earth. It has also made me more rounded as I play different characters in movies. My world view has changed too. I don’t see things from just one perspective. I used to read a lot and I’m still maintaining that culture of reading. The industry has also made me to understand that life itself is transient, and not all that glitters is gold.
Why I have not featured in any Igbo film
I don’t speak nor understand Igbo. It’s a long story which I wouldn’t want to talk about now. It’s sad but there is nothing I can do about it. In fact, the little I understand is as a result of my wife. My wife is from Okija.
I am from Ogidi in Anambra State. I speak English and Efik fluently because my mum comes from Cross River State. I grew up in Lagos and as a result, I speak Yoruba too. I have done some Yoruba movies. I have also done an Efik movie. It is not as if I never had Igbo friends while growing up. But I thank God for His mercies. I have never for once run away from my roots.
My colleagues’ reaction over my inability to speak Igbo
My Igbo brothers know that I don’t understand Igbo as much as I should. They are very accommodating and it doesn’t make me a worthless person or alienate me from them. They respect me for who I am, and I respect them for who they are. Basically, they don’t discriminate against me. That I don’t feature in Igbo films is because I am not very fluent in speaking the language.
‘What starring in soft-porn movie ‘027’ taught me’
What prepared me for what I am doing today
Basically, nothing prepares you for anything. But education is very important. When you are educated, it means you are trainable. I read English as well as International Law and Diplomacy, as first and second degrees respectively, at University of Lagos.I did some courses in drama and participated in command performances. So, I wasn’t new to production, but I was new to commercial production when I came into the industry. But at the time I graduated from the university, I wasn’t thinking of becoming an actor.
I wanted to work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at that time. Then there was an embargo on employment. I embraced my first course of study- English and started doing private tutoring until 1994, when I featured in a church movie. The movie got me stagnated. But in 1995, I did my first major movie, “ Chief Ikenga” which was directed by Steve Aginoche.
I played the lead role in the movie. Interestingly, I met my wife while starring in that church movie. She played my wife in the movie, and to God be the glory, she is my wife today. We have been married for about 21 years now. We courted for five years, from 1994 to 1999, before we finally walk down the aisle. I am a one woman man.
To God be the glory, I don’t have any scandal in the industry at the moment. I love my wife and I love my family. I don’t want anything to interfere with the peace, joy and happiness that I share with my family.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t paid any fee after featuring in my first two movies. We negotiated but till date the producers did not pay me a dime. As a result, I left the industry because I felt it wasn’t a place I could survive in. I returned to the industry in 1997, featuring in a movie titled, “The Princess.” After which I starred in “Died Wretched: Buried in N2.3m Casket,” in 1998. I have been relevant in the industry ever since then.
The role I played in that soft-porn movie, 027
It is something I wouldn’t want to discuss now because there has been a lot of brouhaha about the film. So many misconceptions. I did a movie, and I didn’t see it as soft-porn. Those who are labelling the film as ‘x-rated movie’ have not watched, till the end. They only watched the trailer and concluded that it is soft porn. I read the script, which was written by one of the very best in the industry Dami Joe Efe Young. It was a wonderful script. The lady in question played the lead role in the movie.
It was a 2-hour movie, but people are focusing on that particular scene which just happened. And it wasn’t as if there was sex on set. Everything was basically make-believe. It was made to look real and people believed it too. I don’t blame them because they have their own opinions while I have mine.
It wasn’t as if there was sex all through the movie. It was just an aspect of the whole movie. The movie generated a lot of controversies when it was released. Some people commended it while many others were against it.
I received some foreign calls, commending the movie because they watched it till the end. But a lot of people who criticized it watched only the trailer online. Like I always tell people, I have weathered the storm and I have moved on.
My wife’s reaction
It wasn’t pleasant news for her because she is a woman. But like I said before, I have weathered the storm, and I have moved on as an individual, and my family has moved on too. May be, what it had taught me is to be more circumspect in the things I do. I should not just look at the creativity embodied in a script. But I should also look at the societal reaction to it.
|Re: My Pain, My Joy As An Actor – Tony Umez Narrates by jascon1(m): 12:26pm On Oct 24, 2015|
Tony Sit Down you are washed up. Quite Irrelevant in today's Nollywood. Ppl way no fit use their time do better things. No creativity at all. Of person no write scripts give am e no go fit do anything. These guys way c road in time una for don invest or invent something. Their own na to day fork their fans day do fine boy
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