The filmmaker’s son ----Gabriel Afolayan
Gabriel Afolayan, son of popular filmmaker Adeyemi Afolayan aka Ade Love, has turned his passion into a career. Starting off as a child actor, he made his industry debut in a Moses Olaiya aka Baba Sala commissioned play in 1990, the title of which he cannot remember. After the play, he knew acting was his speciality and went back to school to get more familiar with the profession.
He made his major comeback to acting with Tade Ogidan's Madam Dearest in 2004, an experience, he says, was “hectic and tasking because Tade is one of the major directors in Nigeria that has gone far and wide.”
For the movie, he recollects, “he made me see reasons why the role must be achieved dully, then told me the intricacies and based on my own research on the character, in line with the story, I had to put in my best which paid off. Speaking on his career choice, he attributes it to a penchant for imitation, since his days as a young child.
“The instinctiveness to reenact what I see daily got me into acting,” he says. “I always had the passion for acting from childhood.”
Coming from a film background, he had the desire to know more about the industry.
“Knowing your craft,” he says, “helps you to know what the industry is lacking and how you can provide, as an actor, rather than you going into it for fame and not making any impact.”
The University of Ibadan Theatre Arts graduate says besides his talent, he has to learn how to make himself versatile in the profession.
Drawing on the landmark of his father who first exposed him to films and plays, a major influence in him tolling this profession, he is determined to make his own change to the industry. “Every tree has its own root and my dad is mine,” he says proudly.
“During his lifetime he was a very powerful filmmaker and the first person to take Nigerian films internationally.”
Clearly, he has big shoes to fill. With his siblings already in the business, he says, “I came into it because I knew I had something to contribute to the industry.”
When asked why he hasn't featured in any movie with or by his older brother, Kunle Afolayan of The Figurine fame, he says, “There are no hard feelings like it's intentional. The truth is we are just being professionals. The fact that he is working on a story does not mean he should put me in it, when there is really no need for him to hang me on in the movie when I don't have to be there, [just] because he is my brother.
“Like his last movie The Figurine,” he continues, “I was behind the camera and I will say I'm fulfilled with that. It's just that you have not seen us on screen together. If there's any producer willing to put us together, fine, we are down.” Gabriel, who has featured in titles like Irapaada, Ife Ewe, Ija Okan, Behind the Siege, Nnenna and also the soap opera, Because You Loved Me, says, in selecting the kind of movies he appears in, his choice is always prompted by the story, the language and the plot.
“I love to do things that people would see and relate with. I don't like doing anything casual or normal and very straight forward,” he reveals.
“I always love a powerful story and challenges which show that I know what I'm doing. I say to people, if I can't affect you as an actor, then I have failed in my job.”
Researching over time has given him knowledge on how to go about his business. Before going on location, Gabriel prepares himself both mentally and physically. He involves himself in lots of psychological work just to get into the character, all so he could give his best for the film.
“I go through the scripts [repeatedly], pick out the point of action, and also the strength of my dialogue and then I check the quest of my character and his relationship with other characters and what other characters say about him,” he says, explaining his working process.
Coming of age
“Like everybody wanting to climb to the top, the journey from scratch is always very challenging,” he shares. “Growing up was very challenging that when I look back, I'm just so grateful to God for who I am now. I used to be shy but when it comes to doing that thing you love, shyness just isn't there anymore.”
To relax, he listens to music and even uses it for motivation when he has to work. He also reflects on everything he has done over time to see where he needs to give more attention and what other things he needs to do. Being a spiritual person, the 26-year-old says he gives all he has to God who influences everything he does, even the movies he appears in.
With more than just acting chops in his arsenal, Gabriel owns a production outfit, Studio 6 Multimedia, plays the guitar and is working on his album.