I Have Once Earned N1,000 For A Role – Lateef Adedimeji
FROM home video to the big screen, Nollywood actor Lateef Adedimeji’s acting career is moving almost as fast as the speed of light. Adedimeji who joined the Nigeria’s film industry 15 years ago, has featured in over 100 significant films including Ayinla amongst many others. In this interview with THE NATION’S OLAITAN GANIU, the 35-year-old actor explains how he once earned a paltry sum of N1,000 for a movie role, his personality among various issues.
Are you living the life of your dreams?
Every stage of my life, good or bad like Yoruba would say: Aye ope yo. Literally, I mean ‘I feel fulfilled’. Even though I’m not where I want to be yet but I’m thankful for where I am as I move forward.
Briefly, tell us your foray into acting?
It started so many years ago, in my JSS 2. Basically, I was trained by Non-Governmental Organisation, ‘Community Life Project (CLP)’ in Isolo, Lagos. In those days, there is limited accessibility to television for grassroots people so there is a need to sensitize people especially the youth about HIV/AIDs, STDs and other diseases. So, CLP goes to secondary schools to pick the best students and train them to be peer educators through eighteen topics so that they can impart the knowledge to their fellow youths at the stage of puberty.
I was lucky to be part of the trainees which passed information to people via dance, music and acting. So, that was how my acting career started and I was with them for seven years. After that, instead of me studying Theatre Art at the university, I felt it’s would be a total waste of another four years so I decided to opt for the Mass Communication department to study Public Relation and Broadcast at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State.
I came out of school and I became a presenter on TV for like five years with Nigezie. So, when my acting became demanding I had to drop my broadcast world for acting.
Was this your childhood dream?
Not really, I always wanted to be a lawyer but I do a lot of silly things and people laugh. So it was when I joined the NGO I found out that acting is my line.
What was the most challenging role you have taken as an actor?
How has the story of Ayinla has impacted your real life?
The movie, Ayinla placed me on another level entirely. The story itself teaches me a whole lot. It shows that when you are famous in life, be rest assured that things that don’t make sense will come to you. So, you must be prepared on how to attend to issues and learn how to react to every situation that comes your way.
If Ayinla had taken caution at a time somebody upset him, he might probably still be alive because when you are somebody every dog can choose to bark at you. So, it teaches me that I need to be calm in every situation. It’s not everything that people say to you that you must react to, just overlook it and move on with your life.
How do you handle social media trolls?
When people write negative things about you, because we are human there’s no way you won’t want to reply but maybe because I am also a communicator, I don’t really react to everything they write about me. I understand that half of the people that write stuffs about me, don’t really have close contact with you. Like my father used to tell me that in life there’s no assumption because what assumption does to you is that they arrive at the conclusion and put it out. Practically, you can assume the wrong thing and conclude on the wrong thing.
So, when they say somebody wrote something against me, I don’t react except I see a reason to clear it. These days, I have come to realise that all of those legends do not have an online presence and they were something in life. Now people take an online presence to make them something. If social media shutdown today, you’ll realize that a lot of people have an online presence but don’t have an offline presence.
For me, I deal so much with my offline presence because that’s where I do a lot of giving back to society and the online presence so that you can reach the global world. If the global audience could not be reached, support the people that are close to you and make sure they have been affected positively.
You mentioned clearing rumour, but you’ve been mute about your relationship with actress Mo’Bimpe?
There are some rumour you just look at it and ask yourself ‘do I need to pay attention to this?
Are you married?
I’m not married. I’m still single.
How soon do plan to settle down?
Can you marry any of your colleagues in the movie industry?
Why not? As long as you guys have an understanding of yourself.
What’s your impression of the Nigerian movie industry?
Good impression. In every industry, there will be right and wrong. What is important is where do you want to stand? You wanna go with the wrong or stand with the right? You can go with the wrong and have a lot of crowd following you but what does that teach you? And you can be with right and have limited people with you because negativity trends more than positivity, especially on social media. Many people picked negativity because they want to be noticed by fans, you can be noticed at some point but what happens afterwards? So, always stay on the positive path no matter how long you’ll get to where you are going
There is a notion that female actors are more successful than male actors?
I don’t believe in that because it depends on how you plan to live your life. Some people can buy a car today and choose to show it to the world while some may buy four cars and not even post one of them on social media.
But a lot of people feel when you post stuff, it gives you a hype that maybe brands will come for you. You know, people with different orientations. I might post nothing, it doesn’t mean brands will not come for you, you may post something, it doesn’t mean brands will come for you. So, I believe everybody is successful in one way or the other, so, it depends on how you portray it to people.
I’ve been here for quite sometime before my fame finally came. I’ve done movies for ten days for N1,000, I played lead roles of 98 scenes for N4,000 and many others but today I can be paid millions for a consistent film.
Do you have a personal film project coming up?
Yes. Currently, I’m working on my own cinema project but I’m taking my time to put some finishing touches to the scripts I have before heading to set to get it done.
How do you handle female admirers?
When you are famous and no female appreciates you, my brother go and check yourself ooo. It means you have a problem because it is a thing of joy for every actor that people appreciate what you do. When you work and people don’t appreciate it that means there’s something wrong with you.
It is now left to you, do you want to take advantage of females flocking around or do you want to take a positive advantage. The way they gather around you is the same way you just want to go to bed with every one of them. I wish you well because you will see the reply. Yes, some will come with you with such intention but how do you attend to them is important because you don’t know who is who.
Is it good to have a baby mama?
Different folks with different approach to issues. To some people they make it with violence, to some they are cool. For me, it may not be my thing but for somebody’s else, it might be their thing. Many people don’t plan to be in such but situations push them to that corner and then they don’t have a choice.
Is it advisable for a couple to go for a DNA test after birth?
It is doubt. Doubting will make you want to do that and then the way the world is turning. That is why I said the truth, trust is lost and until we were able to redeem that then we will live with our partners with no doubt.
It is a crazy world that we are in. Male and female, let’s be faithful in dealing with each other. Say it at the time you know it, you won’t die – it is either you leave the person or the person leaves you than leaving the person in a dilemma so many years after. Don’t lie about it and it later becomes a problem because it can kill the person when the truth comes out.
Your advice for your colleagues?
Basically, all you need to do is to understand what it takes to be famous. How well have you trained yourself? A lot of people do not expect fame, fame will just be dawn on them and when this happens, if you are not prepared for it, it is either it throws you off balance or it makes you a better person. It is either the fame uses you or you use the fame.
Fame can make you misbehave and you can use the fame to your own advantage. I always sit myself down as a person because you can be a shoemaker and be number one. Everybody is a celebrity in his/her chosen field so what do you do with your fame. What do you want to be remembered for? Once you have a clear answer to it then follow your path.
Your advice for upcoming actors?
Be sure that this is what you want to do. Be sure it is a talent but some people see it as a hobby to them and they call it talent and then because of the continuity of your talent. If you have talent, how much have you spent to nurture it? Are you sure that if you come in another 5, 10, 15 years the talent can still sustain you or you are not sure it is better to go for something you are sure about? But if you’re sure about it, fame or no fame, you still want to continue in that line then you are good to go.
- 41Billionaire business mogul, Obi Cubana has penned another open letter to youths on the needs to be consistent. The popular entrepreneur, who has been offering encouraging words for youths, defined the ‘consistency’ as the quality of achieving a level of performance which does not vary greatly in quality over time.…