‘Acting has opened several doors for me’
The man known as Dagbolu in the Village Headmaster speaks about a passion which started while he was a small boy and how it has made him a fulfilled man. He also spoke frankly about an industry that has so far failed to operate on a level playing field.
You have been off the screen for some time. Is there any particular reason for that?
I did take a rest because there's been a lot of fraud in the industry – a situation where people will promise they're going to pay you so so amount at, the end of the day they won't pay it and they'll tell you the work didn't sell. I don't like that. After all, I'm not doing it for profit.
To me, acting is a hobby. My idea is that, if I have a gentleman's agreement with you and I record for you, if you're supposed to pay me a certain amount, pay me. But most times they won't, that's why I decided to stop.
Does the coming of corporate bodies into the industry portend a bright future?
The future has always been bright. The problem is the issue of intermediary. It's been there all the while, they'll take money from sponsors and it will not even get to the actors. It's a dog-eat-dog affair, so much that if you say you want to depend solely on it, it won't put eba on your table.
When you took a break how did you keep body and soul together?
I've always been into clearing. I trade under the name Goldspeed Freight Agencies. I started it in 1991 and I've been on my own ever since.
Can you do an overview of the movie industry?
It's okay. At least, there's been a positive change with the coming of the home video; jobs have been created for so many people. But again, like I said it's an open field, its growing day in day out and, more and more people are now coming into it.
Is the growth commensurate with the quality of films being churned out?
It's not. You cannot marry the two because this is a country where people are just looking for their daily bread, they churn out anything and people are buying.
There's also the contention of poor quality in terms of picture and script
The fault still goes back to those who are doing it. You have so many overnight actors becoming producers, so what would they churn out? It's garbage in garbage out of course.
Can quality standard be ensured in order that exported Nollywood products can rate well in places like Europe?
Well, Nigeria has a censors board, what is it meant for? They're meant to do that. It's the job of the censor board to do that.
Isn't that an indictment on the board?
Which ever way you look at it, everything depends on the censor board. They approve the films; they allow the films to go out into the market.
Is the censor board up and doing?
I guess they're doing the best they can. Like any government agency, their hands are tied, there's a limit to where they can go, you find out that the poverty is so much that everybody is just doing anything to make money, so much money. It's not in acting alone.
How much wealth has the clearing business brought your way?
It's okay. Again, it depends on your idea of wealth. I'm not looking for supernormal wealth. If I can have my three square meals a day, take care of people and whatever I can do to God I do it, that's enough for me.
Again I'm into poultry business now.
Do you see the Boomerang and Encounter mini-series reducing drug dependence and abuse in our society?
To a large extent it would depending on how it is promoted. It will go a long way to make people move away from the sector.
It was just like a normal shooting. But the greatest challenge was that I had to work with some new people who showed great talents and promise .
Not much is known about your family?
I'm happily married with kids. I won't disclose more than that.
The youngest is how old?
I won't be dragged into that
How did you get involved with acting?
I'm not a trained actor. I got involved with acting during my secondary school days at Comprehensive High School Aiyetoro, Ogun State.
What lured you into acting?
I started from form one and with encouragement from the school. It may not really be talent. We had the likes of Dr. Kuti, L.A Sowenwawe with us then, by the time D.J Bullock came from Government College Ibadan, the sky was the limit for me.
Can you still recall the first production you were part of?
That's a long time ago. That was 1965 when I was so small in form one. I can't remember the title now.
How often have you been on stage?
When I finished my A' levels, I joined Goodwill Theatre and did several stage performances. In those days it is from the stage that you'll be invited to television.
They will invite you to television, not nowadays when people go from television to stage, or from television to video, or from video to nothing else.
The experience on stage is something else, on stage you're made to showcase your talent before a live audience, it's real.
How much has acting brought you in terms of naira and kobo.
In terms of naira and kobo, directly, acting has not given me money. But indirectly acting has helped me a lot. The problem is that there is a very thin line between being notorious and being famous. The fame in acting can be used in negative or positive manners. But God has made it possible for me to keep a cool head and, l've had good gains from it till date.
How about popularity now?
Of course it has made me popular. Acting has no doubt given me fame. In fact, it has opened doors for me.
You do more of mean roles, any particular attraction for that?
That's one of the problems of the industry in Nigeria. If you're made to play a role and you do it well, other people will begin to give you roles along that line. If you're made to play other roles, they'll feel you're not really carrying it as you should.
But, even though I'm not a trained actor, I believe whatever role you're given as an actor you must be able to do it well.