I'AM THE BEST GUY TO PLAY BAD GUY
I'm the best man to play bad guy
Movie bad boy, JT Tom West, says he's cut out for the part more than any one else. “ I am the best person who can play bad roles. I always make my next role different from the last one I did, even if it is the same character.
Most of my colleagues interpret similar roles the same way. If you give them a role as a thief five times in different movies, they play it the same way, but I don't play me in any character. The way I interpret similar roles are different. If I play a bad guy seven times in seven movies it would not be the same. When you look at it, it's either my looks, the way I talk or my mannerism is different. I always put those things into consideration. I take each role as a challenge. I am not the type that says no, please I've been playing this role for long. If you give me the same role again, what I do is to see how best I can change it from the last job I did, that is what I think it's all about”.
The Rivers State-born actor's love for music made him to go into acting, though he had no form of training before joining the movie industry. “ I love music a lot, any time I am angry music soothes my spirit. So from then I developed interest in show biz. Though the schools I attended, as a teenager, were always staging dramas, I did not think I was going to make it a career. But I really liked it then. I never studied Drama or Theatre Arts, I just went in front of a camera for an audition and that was it. But before then, I was working with Zeb Ejiro on his talk show and was also modeling. I guess I was used to cameras but not acting until we started Mega Fortune. After that, the first movie I shot was Glamour Girls”. That first movie fetched him N20,000 but he was not discouraged.
Breaking into the big league
J.T said he joined the big league after his role in State of Emergence. “ When I shot State of Emergency, people actually looked at me and said, oh! this guy is good after all. Because in the past, I used to act bad guy. Producers knew I was good but because of the ponytail I had then, they felt I couldn't fit into certain roles. Then, I offered to cut my hair and they gave me a role in State of Emergency and that was what gave me a lot of publicity and people started seeing me as a good actor”.
I'm not a bad guy
JT isn't really a bad guy, or so he says. “Yes, I drink, smoke, that is all. Those are the vices most men have, a lot of people don't know me, and they tend to believe what they see on television because of my part. If they believe that, it means that my acting was good and that I am a good actor. They must have watched my films and said, 'this guy must be taking drugs or else he would not be this good'. I know within myself that I don't take drugs, so I've succeeded in passing a message as an actor because I've never smelt cocaine before. I know abroad there are some actors that take drugs before going on set. Personally, what gets me high on set is the spirit of trying to be better. I am a perfectionist. If I scored nine-and-half percent the first time, the second time I would like to score 10 percent. The zeal to be better keeps me high on set, not drugs.”
Suspension, not ban
He would not agree that some of his colleagues were recently banned from acting, rather he said they were “suspended” due to indiscipline on set. “ I don't think it's a ban but I would call it suspension, because the reason the marketers gave was discipline on set. That some artistes come on set and tell directors what to shoot and how they want it shot; they dictate to the directors. Basically, that is wrong, an artiste can only suggest to a director and not dictate to him on how to go about his work. Every profession has its own rules. In the military, you can not talk to your superior anyhow. The marketers have a right not to work with the artistes if they want; it's their right. But saying you want to suspend them is going too hard on them. I know that at the end of the day both parties would come to an agreement. There is a small vacuum that is created by the suspension because the upcoming artistes can not replace them in certain roles”.
Why I'm not married
JT says he is still single because he is scared of making a mistake in marriage. “I don't want to make a mistake in things like that, that is why I believe in courtship between the couple. Over the years, I've seen a few girls I am considering getting married to. But when I finally get married, the girl would be beautiful, intelligent, God-fearing, sensitive because I am a very sensitive person. I don't need a woman who would embarrass me in the public without even knowing that she is embarrassing me. Again, everybody likes good things, so she must be good looking and everyone that sees her would say so”.
“ We do a lot of movies that are so challenging, but so far the most challenging is Liberian Girl, directed by Samson Frances. But it has not seen the light of the day. Incidentally, there is another movie that had to do with Liberian situation, it's called Laviva. I see it as the most challenging because I had to speak Liberian-English and native tongue. Every thing in the film was real”.
Why I braid my hair
JT said he braided his hair because he wanted to create an identity for himself in his career. “ When we started braiding hair, people thought we were crazy, but in essence I braid to make a difference in what I do. People were condemning it but they did not understand that one could be creative. I don't like to imitate others or wear what other people are wearing. I am very creative, I like to be me in what ever I do. Somebody asked me about my walking stick which I started using eleven years ago, I told him it's my identity as a Rivers man. Now, I stopped braiding and shave my hair because I wanted to shock the people that felt they knew me and did not. They never came and asked me why I am braiding my hair the way you are doing now. They sit in their houses and analyze why I am braiding my hair. I decided to shock them by shaving my hair and let them know they don't live my life for me”.
I am not a homosexual
There is so much controversy surrounding JT's life, one of them being that he is a homosexual and is high on drugs. But he seas the speculations as a huge joke and dared anybody sees him as a homosexual to bring his sister for 'testing' “I am not a homosexual, a paper actually wrote that I am one. I told the guy that wrote the story that the only way to find out if I am a homesexual is for him to bring his sister to me. I detest it and it's disgusting to me. If I know a man that is into it I would not allow him to sit by me. But then, it is their life and we have to allow them to live it the way they want”.