CLARION CHUKWURAH ODUNEYE
Clarion Chukwurah- Oduneye
Address: Oko-oba, Lagos, Nigeria.
Marital Status: Married
State of Origin: - Onitsha, Anambra
languages spoken: Yoruba, Igbo and English.
Educational background -
Ladylark nursery school, Lagos. Nigeria
All saints primary school, Lagos, Nigeria.
Queen of our rosary college, Onitsha, Nigeria.
University of Ibadan actors workshop company, Ibadan, Nigeria.
Department of dramatic arts, university of Ife, Ile-ife, Nigeria.
Tell us a little about your childhood, growing up, parents, brothers and sisters?
I was born into a middle class family in the mid sixties at the Lagos teaching hospital, Idi-araba, Lagos, to J.C. chukwurah, a chartered accountant and top Lagos socialite, and c.o. chukwurah, an ibara abeokuta princess who was a building materials contractor. I am an only daughter with four brothers. I had a good childhood in a big home off Commercial Avenue in the Old Yaba, Lagos growing up among upper middle class neighbours and family friends in a clean, organised and civilised neighbourhood of a not then over populated Lagos state, Nigeria.
What was the first paying job ever that you had?
A Bata shop sales assistant for two months in the summer before I finished high school.
How much were you paid per month and what were the responsibilities?
50 Nauru. To help customers try shoe size on their feet.
What other jobs did you do outside acting?
Human resources executive, fassey royal airlines, Lagos.
Modelling and models recruitment.
Oil industry services.
Youth empowerment initiative.
Drama and documentaries productions.
What made you go into the acting career and when did you start acting (year)?
My father had us taken to the cinema as kids. I saw Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra when I was six years old and I knew that's where I wanted to be, on the screen. I began acting in 1980.
Who were your idols/models (actors) in those days?
Al Pacino, Jodie foster.
What was your first role in theatre, tv or movies?
Jolomi Tutu in Prof. Bode Sowande's play 'farewell to babylon', theatre.
Bello's daughter in Wale Ogunyemi's T.V. series bello's way.and
Yemi in Ola Balogun's movie 'money power', all in the early eighties.
What was your major break-through role and in what film, series or play?
Money power-film as Yemi,
The king must dance naked, as king Omajuwa- theatre.
Mirror in the sun - T.V.- as Tinu.
Abuja connection - home video movies. as Jessica.
What were the constraints you had to face and overcome as an up-and-coming actor (young actor)?
Low pay and being mostly out of work.
Working within the confines of a society with little or no understanding and appreciation for creative art content.
A television and theatre based industry controlled by government and lacking growth inducing private initiative.
How many films have you been involved with as an actor to date?
About 80 English and Yoruba movies.
1. Oduduwa, 2. Lagidigba, 3.Valentino, 4.True love, 5. Abuja connection, 6. egg of life, 7. Abela pupa, 8. Her majesty, 9. Danger signal, to mention a few
As a dynamic and outstanding, 'a'-list actor, how have you managed to adapt to the different range of roles you have played in your career?
By applying my professional style born out of talent, training, experience and skill- I do character acting on movies and method acting on stage.
what is the most awkward or strangest role you have had to take/play in your career and why?
Playing four roles in the same play same time in Chinua Achebe's Thing's fall apart at the West Yorkshire playhouse, Leeds and at the Royal Court theatre in London's west end for the London International Festival of Theatre.
I had to play three male roles and one female haven been flown in two weeks to opening night to play with British actors who'd been rehearsing for over a month. Chuck Mike was my Director.
What film have you been most proud to be involved with so far, and why?
Egg of life. it was serious acting for the screen.
As an 'a'-list actress yourself, what other 'a'-list actors or actresses have worked or collaborated with?
Pete Edochie, Richard Mofe Damijo, Olu Jacobs, Joke Silva, Bukky Ajayi, Idowu Philips and Jide Kosoko.
Did you at anytime want to quit your acting career for something else or for a reason, and why (if any)?
Acting is my life. No.
What is the motivation for you or what keeps you interested in this career every morning you wake up?
Acting itself is the motivation. It's the one thing I do best apart from being a good mother.
How important are our Nigerian roots, morals, values, knowledge and sense of wisdom to you and your works?
Nigerian movies are to promote positive and progressive African values and move our people forward where change is necessary to enable our people adapt and compete favourably in a world that has become a global village. That is what I project in my works.
On the stories, scripts, or screen play of your films, and its impact on the Nigerian/African cultural values (home and abroad), how do you manage to harness, keep and pass them across in your films?
By discussing whatever script I accept to play in with my director on story thrust, message, character analysis vis-а-vis our agreed story interpretation. Discussing the image actualisation of my characterisation with the costumean and the make-up artist, and finally projecting the team work creativity of the entire crew.
As a producer, director and filmmaker also, how is this different for you from acting and what is the additional drive for you?
There are great organisational responsibilities solely yours to monitor as a producer to protect your investor's money as well as make sure your cast and crew are kept happy to get the job done. At the end of the day when your movie record massive public appreciation in sales figures, you just want to go right back and record more success, the stress forgotten because you've become a major stakeholder in a forward moving industry.
What projects are you working on at the moment and with whom?
I don't discuss current projects until they are completed.
Where do you see yourself in this career in the next five years?
A major producing stakeholder of internationally marketed African films.
Where do you see the Nigerian movies industry in the next couple of years?
Third biggest movie industry in the world with movies of high creative and technical content competing at international film festivals world-wide especially the Cannes film festival.
When you are not working (acting, producing, directing or making a film), what do you do or how do you pass the time?
I holiday abroad because I work very hard. I spend quality time with my family. I love sailing, car racing and cinema.
What kind of music do you listen to and who is your favourite musician?
South African music and R and b. My favourite artist is R. Kelly.
Is there an international actor (American, British, Australian, African, etc.) You will want to work with if the opportunity presented itself?
What message do you have for your international fans in America, United Kingdom, Europe, Africa and its Diaspora?
Just keep watching my movies. I have some fantastic ones you will love to see this year. Concentrate on my art, ignore the frills.
For any reason at all, how would you personally want your fans to remember you?
A damned good actress.