I shunned my father to make fortunes in acting– Muyiwa Ademola, actor and movie producer
Ori, Muyiwa Ademola's latest contribution to the Yoruba film, genre is doing pretty well in the market. Perhaps, part of what helped its instant success was the fact that, months before its release, the media was awash with different advertisements and promotions to create awareness, and prepare the minds of the people for its release.
The young Yoruba movie star disclosed that he was spurred into producing Ori because feelers from his supposed admirers suggested that his message in a previous movie, Ogo Osupa was incomplete. He told Daily Sun that as encouraging as peoples' comments on Ogo Osupa were, they made it obvious that the central theme of the work was not well conveyed. It was in response to our audience's yearnings, that we re-packaged the work for easy and better understanding. Daily Sun recently engaged the artiste in a chat in which he spoke about his career as an actor, producer, as well on the challenges of being an artiste, family man and other issues:
I was born into the family of Prince Isaiah Ademola about 30 years ago. I attended Christ Church School, Mapo V, Elekuro, Ibadan for my elementary education before proceeding to St. David's High School, Molete, Ibadan. After my secondary education in 1991, I joined the Great Nigeria Insurance Company where I worked as a sales executive for a year. Later, I attended an institute affiliated to another one in London for a certificate in Chemistry. But all along, I have been acting. Presently, I am a student of Adult Education at the University of Ibadan.
I will trace my acting career to my elementary school days when funny pupils were often dubbed actors. However, the turning point came to my life through an experience I narrated where one of my student-colleagues that was cast for a lead role in a play had an accident and could not take part in the performance. After scouting for replacement, I was eventually picked for the role. In that play, I was able to convince my teachers and colleagues of the great talent embedded in me. When I got to the secondary school, a similar event reoccurred. Though, a science student, I was chosen to replace one of Ishola Ogunsola's sons earlier cast for a play when the former did not show up. Despite being a science student, my enthusiasm for acting earned me the position of the Director of Publicity in the School's Press Club. I had a corner on our board then tagged Muyi's Corner where I wrote short poems, jokes and cartoons.
With all these, our principal wondered what I was doing in the science class. But a bigger surprise came a few months to our graduation when I started a series of short stories through which the press board attracted both the staff and students of the school. Meanwhile, the experience replayed itself tremendously in my first novel; Secrets of Death, which was encouraged by my English Language teacher, Mr Aluko.
Becoming an actor
The first opposition to my choice of career came from my family. For instance, my father could not fathom why the son of an elder in the church shuttled between one location and the other to keep body and soul together. My father did not see acting as befitting enough for any of his children. But I would not bulge. In the course of looking for a sponsor to publish some of my manuscripts, I met people who told him that they could not help him because he is an unknown writer. I equally toured schools and Ministries of Education in search of sponsors before I yielded to a friend's advice to try the theatre industry. Through Charles Olumo (a.k.a. Agbako) who lives close to my house in Abeokuta, I eventually got in touch with one Mr S.I.Ola, a movie director. The man taught me the rudiments of acting and movie production. I just noticed that whatever role I picked, I excelled in it. Later, I returned to Ibadan and registered with the ANTP and I started attending its meetings. In 1995 precisely, luck came my way when I met one Dibel, a generating sets dealer who volunteered to sponsor my first movie, Asise (Blunder).
Number of films produced
I have produced seven altogether.
The most challenging work
All of them have one challenge or the other. For instance, in Orisa Oke, I played the role of a stammerer. The movie did not make much success, but the role was challenging. In Ori, I played the role of a mad man. I had to walk barefooted and people would start expressing their pity while I was playing that role. All these works pose peculiar challenges to me.
Nickname; Muyi Authentic
It is not that there is a fake Muyiwa. I have noticed that many of our scriptwriters do not touch some vital areas they are supposed to touch. Then, I made up my mind that I will pay attention to details so that I could come up with quality works. Moreso, since my father was not favourably disposed to my choice of career, I think a better way to exhibit my genuine commitment to the job is to add the Authentic to my name.
Establishing a theatre school
As a way of giving back to the industry that made me, I established a theatre school to train talented actors. Authentic School of Drama took-off in June 2004. My understanding of the industry is that, it takes more than acquiring formal training to be an actor. Yet, training is important. That is why my school seeks to blend talent with knowledge acquisition. The institution boasts of academics and seasoned professionals and academics as lecturers and instructors.
I salute Dele Odule so much. He is an actor. Then, I have a lot of respect for Mr. Adebayo Salami (Oga Bello) and Charles Olumo (Agbako). I also doff my cap for Uncle Olu Jacobs and Richard Mofe Damijo, among others.
Not yet married, but I have a set of twins who are about seven years. I hope to get married very soon.
My ideal woman
That is difficult because some of them perceive me as a perfect man. Sometimes, they want to take you for that character that shed tears on screen always. But I love sincerity. I love to be very sincere. I love a lady who will take me for what I am. I don't always care about how many people will make me happy on each day, but how many people I will make happy. Also, my kind of woman must be the one who will not also obstruct my dream.
A lot of things happen when it comes to giving out awards. Though I have seen a lot of movies that actually merit the awards given to them, but I wonder why none of my films, has picked any of the awards. I do not want to believe that sponsors of these awards are biased. Ori, for instance, has been nominated for an award in Zimbabwe, the U.S.A and South Africa. So any moment from now, I will be out of the country to receive any of these. But the award from America requires that I transfer the movie from cassette to reel for preview and you know how much that will cost. It is such an unfortunate thing that I do not have the money to do that. However, being nominated for an award in the U.S. is an achievement in itself.
I am not yet rich in the material sense of the word, but I am confortable. I am very grateful to the society for appreciating my talent. Sometime, some promoters have come to me to advise me that I should be doing about two films a year so that I would make my money, stressing that afterall, the name is there. I usually tell them that this society could still be offered something enobling. Interestingly, the Yoruba film genre is beginning to attract the attention of even the elites. I have seen some of my lecturers walk up to me to tell me, 'We watched your movie yesterday, you are great and we are proud of you.' I feel so delighted. They would say they have watched Ogo Osupa, Iyonu Olorun, Ori among others.
Reading, meeting people, making people happy, I watch movies and listen to music.