I AM ONLY INTERESTED IN TAPPING YOUR TALENT-----ANTAR LANIYAN
Antar Laniyan's story is peculiar. An actor and director who trained at the University of Ibadan, Mr. Laniyan directed the first episode of Super Story 'Oh Father Oh Daughter' in 2000. He currently directs 'Super Story' and 'This Life'; both from the Wale Adenuga production's stable.
Mr. Laniyan learnt on the job by watching great directors and enriching his knowledge by reading books on directing. Today, he is a member of the Director's Guild of Nigeria and still features in movies, soaps and stage productions.
How did it all begin?
I started as an amateur in 1976 up until Festac '77, when I had an opportunity to watch some of the performances. I had to help someone sweep the floor and he hid me under the chair when the show started. It was then I realised that I wanted to act. Since 1979 when I met Ben Tomoloju and we started 'Kakaki Art Corps', there hasn't been any looking back for me. Although I wanted to be a soldier, I later studied Theatre Arts at the University of Ibadan, on the advice of my principal. I shot my first movie 'Mojere' in 1993 and I have featured in 'Sango', 'Sacred' and 'Oduduwa'.
How do you feel when you see artists you mentored becoming stars?
I feel glad and fulfilled when most of them refer to me as a mentor and teacher. The feeling is great, I feel happy when I read the papers and someone refers to me as his/her role model.
You act and direct; which is more challenging?
I can't really tell because I see everything in life as a challenge. So, I put in my best to ensure that I overcome such. If I do not see it as a challenge, I may not win a war. It is 56 percent for acting and 44 percent for directing.
How do you cope shooting both Super Story and This Life?
We shoot an entire series under three months, then we take a break for two months but it all depends on the length of the story. So, I always have time to take a break and do other things as well. Wale Adenuga has also been very supportive.
How do you handle attitude problems on set?
I am good at that but it is what you want to give me that matters. Even if you try to seduce me as a woman, I won't look at you because I am only interested in tapping your talent. Just deliver.
Most challenging moment on set?
I lost my dad in 1999 and it was a trying moment for me. Everyone felt I should have left the set, at least to mourn my late dad. But the director was very supportive. When the complaints were getting out of hand, he calmed everyone down and I just went on with my job and performed excellently well.
In 1997, my wife was to undergo a caesarean operation and I was supposed to be on the set of a movie. She encouraged me to go ahead, that she would be fine. I didn't want to go but she insisted that nothing bad would happen. At first, it was tough for me. I remember crying but at a point, Andy Amenechi who was directing the movie organised a prayer session. Above all, I had a good friend in Joe Dundun who always encourage me.
When faced with a bad script what do you do?
Even if the price is right, I will always insist that the script is tight because my name would be on it. I want people to refer to the quality of my works in 20 years time.