I'm Emeka Enyiocha but most people know me by my act name like Ezebunafo in "End of The River" that was in 2002/2003. I'm from Abia state, Umuobiaosu, Afugiri Local Government Area. I'm from a family of eight. My father married two wives, six children from my mother and two from my stepmother and I'm the first born.
My educational pursuit is funny. From a poor home and all that, trying to raise myself. I schooled in Port Harcourt, I even started university education in Port Harcourt but I had a problem in school, in my second year so I couldn't continue and I had to leave.
I came down to Lagos, trying to travel abroad for a couple of years, frustration and all other things crept in, finally I got into the industry. Back there in Port Harcourt I was reading Engineering but after my entrance into the industry, I went back to school, took GCE and got into LASU and did a diploma course in Theatre Arts, this was some years after.
When I was trying to raise money to travel abroad, a cousin of mine introduced me to Tunde Adesina then in NTA for the soap "Memorial Hospital" directed by Mr. Lass Eguaveon. From there the industry idea came up.
I got into acting via an after thought kind of thing, I started a programme on air, admiring what they do on air, then the interest grew. Then I was a model, one or two jobs here and there and because of the mark on my face I wasn't really getting enough jobs that would bring much money. So the acting idea came up, I fitted in because structure wise, I was there but the acting, I had to learn.
I could remember one of my first episodes in "Memorial Hospital," Lancelet Imaseun was the production assistant then, I was told to romance a girl in the office, if I touch the girl, I'll be shaking and forget my lines but if I leave her I'll read out my lines.
Luckily my co-actor was patient with me, so after about thirty takes, it was okay with the encouragement from Lancelet and the director of the soap.
The Big Break
"End of The River" by Amaco productions. Actually before this movie, I had done some movies, it took me almost nine to ten years to get a break in the industry.
When the script came, I saw it and said to myself "this is it, either I make it or get out of the industry."
I was viewed as a problematic person but am a very blunt person, so the director thought I would be the difficult person to deal with on set. On set of "End of The River" was really tasking, we had to stop shooting twice because the location camera got spoilt twice and we had to wait for another camera but as for me I was determined to make it in spite of the set back.
The movie came out and thanks to God, it was a hit, it gave me prominence, the start of my journey to stardom and the name "Ezebunafor" stuck from then.
To the best of my knowledge and ability I do good movies. This is because, good movies start from good scripts. I select my scripts and I try to be the best in my performances.
Personally, all my movies come with memories that are not easily forgettable but I would say "End of The River" and "Peace maker 1 & 2". The film Peace Maker" was an artistic fulfilment for me because I put in everything, it was a movie that came after "End of The River" and I had to do something quite different from my role before and I was glad I did the movie as it won the best movie of the year 2003.
Enormous. The challenges of trying not to disappoint yourself, trying to remain in the market rating, trying not to disappoint your fans and trying to upgrade your ability and your performance because its not only getting to the height, it is remaining there because there are a lot of talents coming up. But all in all, I try to be myself, I do not imitate people.
Artistic interpretations come with different challenges so I don't have any role that I have played that I would term most challenging since it is challenging trying to be someone else to convince every watchful eye.
It's all about the "Peace Maker 1 & 2" I was driving one of my jalopies around Yaba market, I discovered I had a flat tyre so while I was trying to fix it, a woman just came from no where, started beating me, abusing me and crying at the same time. So I just turned to her and said "Mummy what is the problem?" A crowd had gathered and amidst raining abuses on me she told the crowd of how wicked I was in the movie, so people started laughing and explaining to her that it was just a movie but tears dropped from my eyes, I was hurt but it was not her fault, because I deserved to be shot because of the character I played. But would I call it embarrassing, somehow it was and it wasn't. Secondly, most of the so called fans, get my number from anywhere and start flashing.
Parents view on acting
They didn't have any choice. All they told me was make sure you don't do any bad business, any business that will make the police look for you. They didn't really have any choice in my decision to act. Then people started telling them of my movies but then they didn't have the opportunity of seeing them and I wasn't really making much money from it, until God cancelled poverty in my life and it affected them positively, unfortunately my dad died last year.
It's not exciting. I'm an indoor type of person and coupled with my type of career, I'm not supposed to be seen everywhere so I stay at home and I try as much as possible to make my home easy and comfortable. But I don't want to remain this way forever, I want to get married, have kids and raise my own family, but for now I don't have any choice.
Most of them are lovely but others could be annoying. You know, when a woman wants you, the only way you can escape is when you're rude or run away totally from her.
For the female fans, it has not been easy coping with their demands most times but I respect them and they are my favourite fans, but its always good to be diplomatic to the ones who are crazy enough to want you for themselves but others should stop flashing, it pisses me off.
Cost of stardom
Sometimes you go somewhere and you're stopped on the road and asked to drop something especially the "alaye" boys and when you try explaining to them they refuse to understand and then think you're being a snob just because you are a star.
When you want to buy something because you've been recognized the price is inflated, what another person would buy for N2,000.00, you'll have to buy it for N5,000.00 just because you're a star. But there are yet other people who see you and appreciate you and generally it is okay.
Bad boy roles
I wish I had the powers to pick roles but that's not possible. Our industry is a private driven sector and the average investor wants where he can put the money that he borrowed from the bank to yield him profit before the interest multiplies, so that would be why I was in more bad boy roles. But right now I have started rejecting scripts with me in the bad boy role and people keep seeing me in those roles, but I love playing romantic roles.
Most people will say that I'm rigid but two movies that I've played romantic roles made people start calling me a playboy and I'm told I don't look it but that's a role I love playing.
I've been able to mix my roles, good boy, bad boy, emotional roles like I did in "Pretty Woman" where I cried like a baby.
I don't like talking about my private life because that's what it is called private but I pray that God will give me the woman that He has always kept for me, I will not say there's one now or there's no one now.
My Ideal woman
The real African woman. It's not just any African woman but one that is perfect, pure in heart, believes in God and knows how to take care of her home front. There are girls everywhere but few wife materials and those wife materials are what I call the African women.
I've not really placed my hand on a particular thing that impresses me in a woman but she has to be someone I can talk to, be with, because I could be indoors for one week with the woman that makes me happy.
If I'm not working, I go for a walk out, I go to the gym. Stay at home watch movies, my movies, play music and if I'm hungry I go into the kitchen and cook my own meals.
I wouldn't call it regret rather I'll term it disappointment because I don't regret whatever I have set out my heart to do. There have been little disappointments here and there but I learn from them. Whatever action I take and it doesn't yield fruits, I don't regret, I regard such as mistakes that I should learn from.
Are you sexy
Every part of my body is sexy but the issue of one being sexy is a woman's thing, yeah I dress up and look at myself before I go out but I can't say I'm sexy, that's a woman's thing.
RMD - his dress sense, Uncle Olu Jacobs - he's wonderful, for the women, Eucharia Anunobi-Ekwu - she's apt, Aunty Joke Silva - her diction is perfect, I also admire Genevieve - She's okay, Ayo Mogaji. My role models are people that love the arts, just like the musicians P-Square, they love what they are doing and it shows.
I love taking good care of myself. I would do anything that would take some years off me. I love going to the gym and going for a little massage once in a while to take away the tension.