‘I’m not as bad as people think’ ---Sam Uche Anyamele
Sam Uche Anyamele has been tagged a 'bad boy' due to his roles in 'Super Story.' The Abia State indigene is a graduate of Business Education of the University of Lagos, UNILAG. He discovered his talent first in music at the Assembly of God Church where he could play different kinds of musical instruments, before he later realised that he could do better in the thespian art industry. ODUNAYO OREYENI met him.
Your role as a bad boy in Super story 'No pain No gain' created a bad impression of you in people's mind how have you been handling this?
I've been able to live with it; I try not to impress them that I'm not a bad boy, which will make me fake. And I try also to make them understand that, the guy, the actor is a lot different from the guy Uche. So I try to separate them, sometimes at event, they find out that I'm not really like the boy who is doing some razzmatazz. They are just two different personalities; I'm first the human being before an actor. When given the opportunity to play such role and from a bit of positive activity in some of this environment around, you get to learn how it feels to be a bad boy. So you learn it and the way you are going to act it, you apply it and so a fellow actor can also say this is beautiful, this is a nice interpretation. So I try to live with it, the ones that I can change, I thank God but the ones that are yet to change, I try to implore them that they should also watch other movies where I played different roles. And interestingly, one of the movies that gave me an international award is “Day of atonement” directed by Teco Benson, and I played a student fellowship Pastor in 2006, and I won AMAA award. And I started wondering, the bad boy role has never won me an award.
Why do you usually play the role of a lover boy?
You don't need an ugly boy to play a lover boy, the average lover boy is a fine boy, so I think I'm fine (laughs). Because an average lady is attracted to a fine guy, I think I'm a smooth talker too, knowing the right words to say at the right time, in the right place and some of these things are also considerable a bit tough for a guy. And some of us who are dark, they also love that kind of guy (laughs). You need to have a look of a lover boy before you can now begin to show the act you have whether genuine or ingénuine love. That's why if you check out the boys that play such roles; you will see that they are fine boys, like Ramson Noah, Emeka Ike. The truth is that I happened to be in that league that play fine boy because you have to look fine, then you now act well, that's a plus so they will now give you more of such roles.
Does the bad boy character reflect in your way of life?
The truth is that if you don't blow your trumpet, nobody can help you to blow it. People are expecting me to say 'oh no I'm not bad' (laughs), that's like the regular answer. The word 'bad' is relative, to some People, it is bad to have more than one wife, it may not be bad to have more than one girlfriend. Just because you are strict, they term it to be bad, the word 'bad', can mean anything. Because somebody wants to have his or her way around you and you refuse, you can be term bad.
We learnt you play guitar, and your first love is music?
Actually music was my first entrance into the entertainment world; I learnt that from the Assembly of God church. I could play the piano, I could play the drums and especially the base guitar, and I can also do a bit of trumpet. So it was via music that I started doing one or two church dramas back then, and today I can proudly say I'm an actor.
Why did you quit music for acting?
I did not quit music, like my people always say that 'when you marry a new wife, you'll send the old one packing or you'll divert your concentration'. Of course when acting came up, I was doing it side by side with music, but each of this act demands total concentration because we need to rehearse intensively. Well I'm not into the singing aspect, but I do the playing and all that. So you have to do a lot of mental rehearsals, so that it can have a lot of flexible, skills and that takes a lot of time. The same time you'll have to do all those rehearsals is probably the same time you will have to read your scripts, go for one auditioning or the other, probably time you need to be on production and via location and all that, so both takes a lots of time. So I had to bent lower a bit in music because the part of music I am is the Orchestral that is, playing the instrument. And I talked to myself and say what I actually want in life may not be gotten in playing guitar as a result of the musical system we have in Nigeria, because it's the head of the band that people knows, usually people don't even know the band boys, and sometimes the band boys are more experienced than the musician itself. So I looked at it and said, I can grow individually this way, acting would relate to me individual, but music would not. I put in little more effort in my acting career and I thank God today. I've not left music; I'm still in one or two choirs, though I'm not very active as I'm used to be.
So how then did you get into the movie industry?
Movie for me started way back from the Assembly of God church where we do church drama here and there, we call it ministration. And then I used to see few people who say 'oh this guy is not bad' and I was between twelve to twenty years and I was very active. And then there was one drama I was supposed to do, “Death in the family house” and then I think one of the big boys then got a contract to stage the drama for secondary school around Isolo, I was invited to play one of those roles, but I was so small that there was no role for me. At the auditioning, I was about the best, because the next person that was better than me as at the time was a presenter with the NTA. So they say 'oh we can't waste this boy, just be coming around may be we will have something for you. My first television appearance was in 1998, it was a soap-opera called 'Schemes', Tunji Bamishigbin was the director; Charles Owoyemi was the play writer. But professionally for me was after Super story in 2004.
Who influenced you into acting?
The influences really came from the Assembly of God's church because I used to play big roles then like King Saul, King David, Jesus, pastor, native doctor and so on. So those roles gave me prominent and Emeka Ike was also around my area in Isolo then, he's a big brother to me. Emeka Ike was among those actors in the movies, so I said to myself if he can do it, then it means I can also do it. Emeka was also a great influence on me.
How many films have you featured in since you started?
I think it should be about fifty films
What is your other source of income aside from acting?
Interestingly, I'm into event management or consultant, I also do MCs for Corporate bodies and multi-national and also government agent as well, those ones pay quite well. And at the moment I'm also into Public Relations consultants.
Give us an insight into your background?
I was born in Isolo, Lagos into the family of six and I happened to be the first, but interestingly we are three boys, three girls. I'm from Abia State, from Ukwa East Local Government area and my parents are well, alive, strong and doing well. I went to Faronbi Primary School Isolo from 1988 to 1993, and then I did my secondary school at Isolo Grammar School from 1993 to 1999. I went to University of Lagos where I have my first and second degree. I had my first degree in Business Education in 2007, while my second degree is in Advertising and Promotion Management in 2009. I'm working on my Masters already.
Are you in any relationship?
For marriage no! (laughs), but I'm in a relationship.
Who is your ideal woman?
Oh no, she has to be godly and godly by my chance o. No be say she go say she's godly, I must find out by myself o. Because one of those beautiful thing is, if I say 'babe please pray for me, she must understand, I won't start to give her prayer points. She has to be godly, beautiful, and modest.
Do you have any memorable moment you will like to share?
The day I won AMAA award in 2006 and I was the first winner of that category. And the award was just gaining ground then, it was still new, I won the best up coming actor. There were nominees from Zimbabwe, Ghana, Kenya, and then Nigeria. When I was called I was dumbfounded. The most memorable one for me was when I started coming down from the stage after collecting the award; all the guys in front like Richard Mofe-damijo, Ejike Asiebu, and Kate Henshaw stood up and hugged me. To me it was like an induction to start up and it was after that award, there was a clear cut for me in the industry. And now I think there are still more award coming for me.
What is the next step for your career?
Fortunately for me, 'About to wed' is going to run for sometime, so what it means is that consistently my face is going to be on air which is going to catapult me into doing a few other things. Because you are as good as your last job, a producer walked up to me and talked to me about a stage play which will be professionally great for me to do, so that is coming up soon. I'm in discussion with 'Tinsel' already. One encouraging factor for me is that I'm actually growing with the industry.