I WANT ROLES IN YORUBA MOVIES —GHANAIAN ACTRESS
Vivien Achor, the award-winning Ghanaian actress, spoke with us in Ghana about her 12-year sojourn in Nigeria and the movie industry in both countries
Q: How would you describe yourself?
A: Well, I am a popular actress in Ghana.
Q: You are here for the Next Movie Star party and prize presentation. What's your role in the event?
A: I am part of the Ghana Actors' Guild.
Q: How then do you feel that a Ghanaian emerged winner of the Next Movie Star?
A: I am very happy and feel so great because it has just proved that the Next Movie Star contest is for real. I never believed in it until Enoch Hammond emerged the winner. I can also tell you that everyone in Ghana is very excited about it, including President John Kufuor and we can't even wait for him to make history by presenting the star prize in commemoration of the National Arts Festival currently taking place.
Q: What opportunities are there for Hammond in Ghana as the winner of the Next Movie Star contest in Nigeria?
A: He is now a star and producers will now start looking for him and that will be another opportunity for him to make more money. Don't forget that he can easily get whatever he wants now.
Q: Is there any plan by the Ghana Actors' Guild to work with the Actors' Guild of Nigeria, especially because of Hammond's victory?
A: Yes, because of Enoch Hammond's contract, there is an opportunity for us to work with the Nigerian actors. Of course, he is not the first Ghanaian to work with Nigerian actors. We have had other actors who have featured in Nigerian films and he won't be the last either.
Q: How long did you stay in Nigeria and what were your exploits?
A: I was in Nigeria and lived in Surulere, Lagos, for 12 years.
Q: What was your experience in Nigeria?
A: Oh, I had a lot of experience in the film industry, because I was able to work with some movie producers.
Q: Who did you work with?
A: I worked with Opa Williams, Chico Ejiro, Zeb Ejiro and some other notable producers. I also featured in Dry Leaves, The Child, and Agege Spirit, among others. I also did some stage drama with Don Pedro-Obaseki.
Q: Why are you not very popular in Nigeria?
A: I am popular in Nigeria. I am saying this because people are familiar with my face there and when I went for the AMAA Awards held in Bayelsa State this year, I was recognised at the event. I featured prominently in Tentacles, a soap opera in Nigeria, although I looked different from how I am now.
Q: What is the difference between Nigerian and Ghanaian film industries?
A: Everybody knows that Nigeria is far ahead of Ghana in film making but the experience here is that things have changed for the better because when I just came, it was not all that professional. In Ghana, as an artiste, you are expected to provide materials for yourself almost all the time. You have to do your make-up yourself, provide the costumes and sometimes, you have to direct by yourself. Initially when I came, I found it difficult to cope with them but with time, I learnt how to abide by the rules and adapt to their system.
Q: How do you feel noticing that Ghanaian films are not so popular in Nigeria?
A: Initially, they were not popular but now, if you take Ghanaian films to Lagos, you will discover that they are popular, especially when it features the popular faces, one of whom I am. I have featured in a number of top rated films which are still selling in Lagos. Even when I went to Lagos early this year, I saw my posters in some places and people could easily recognise me.
Q: What are you doing now?
A: I am a professional actress and that is the only thing I am doing to earn a living. I just finished a movie project entitled Power of the gods and Broadway, a soap opera which is currently in Nigeria.
Q: Do you envisage that a Ghanaian film can sell in Nigeria?
A: Well, I am not the one to market it but I can tell you it is doing well and my past works have been marketing me.
Q: Why is acting in Ghana not as lucrative as it is in Nigeria?
A: The problem is marketing. The Nigerian population is far more than that of Ghana, so there is no room for comparison.
Q: Do parents encourage their wards to act professionally here in Ghana?
A: For now, a lot of youths are coming into the movie industry, especially the university undergraduates. The system has changed and everything is getting better.
Q: In Nigeria, we have Yoruba, English, Igbo and Hausa films gaining prominence. Which of them would you like to feature in if the opportunity comes your way?
A: Oh, there will be language barrier, but if I can make a choice, I think I'd love to act in Yoruba movies.
Q: But you've not acted in any?
A: Yes, most of the jobs I did are in English films.
Q: Do you have any Yoruba script for now?
A: I don't, but I will have to learn more of the language so that I can be fluent in it.
Q: What was your experience in the 12 years you spent in Nigeria?
A: I was a cosmetologist and I worked with so many modelling agencies before I went into acting.
Q: After spending 12 years in Nigeria, you are now an award-winning actress in Ghana. What do you have to say?
A: I can only say that Nigerians gave me the foundation and the opportunity to become a popular actress.
Q: Are you married?
A: I have two sons for a Nigerian and that means I am a Nigerian by marriage.
Q: Who is the man?
A: Mr. Achor, an Ibo man. But for some reasons, I had to come back with the kids because of their studies.
Q: Are you divorced?
A: That was sometime ago.
Q: How do you cope with the kids?
A: God has been so kind to us.
Q: Did you experience any sexual harassment in the Nigerian movie industry when you were there?
A: No, let me just say that God paved the way for me and made people help me.