Veteran Nollywood actor, Richard Mofe-Damijo clocked 57 on Friday. The revered role interpreter has over the years become an icon to youngsters in the Nigerian entertainment scene.
RMD who was born 6th of July in 1961 in the little community of Aladja in Udu Kingdom, near Warri Delta State, attended Midwest College, Warri and Anglican Grammar School, before going to study Theatre Arts in the Ekenhuan Campus of the University of Benin.
Months back the award winning thespian had a chat with TheNewsGuru and we decided to revisit the five notable things the renowned actor shared in the interview.
Getting back into Nollywood: “The work I did was in the Culture and Tourism sector so it wasn’t too far removed from being an actor or being in the creative industry or being a TV producer or anything like that. The transition is seamless for me. It’s something I did for twenty something years before I went into government. It couldn’t have been that difficult to transit back to my core business”.
On old and new Nollywood: “I think the whole controversy or this whole debate is just making a mountain of a molehill. Every profession evolves and it seems instructional that the song I have been singing all day is ‘Alowo ma jaiye, eyin le mo, awon tan jaiye la na won ti ku, won ti lo’.
People come and go. Nollywood is old enough for people to have evolved. I have been in the entertainment industry, post-graduation for 32 years. So it is not a competition between me and somebody who graduated last year or somebody who graduated ten years ago. He comes in into a profession I have been working in. I met people in the profession.
So I can’t now be saying I am new Nollywood or I am old Nollywood. What we should be looking at now is this, whoever is coming now and calls himself a particular name, what is he/she bringing to the table? Is the person bringing something to the table that is so completely different that it has revolutionized the entire industry?”
Working with Joke Silva: “Violated was an absolute delight. We were just starting out; Nollywood hasn’t had a romantic movie that was on the same level with Living in Bondage. So by the time Violated came in, it just cranked it up a bit. On stage, Joke has played my wife and we make magic everywhere we go. That is what we do, we are actors”.
Controversies being fanned by the media: “Again I don’t like when controversies are created or fanned by the media. Every profession, banking journalism, every profession has cliques. You congregate with people of like minds, people who place value on your work and understand it. Politicians have a clique that is why they belong to parties. Nollywood is a huge place and there are now language films as well, from Igbo to Yoruba and all than. Within all those circles there are people who do certain levels of work. In Hollywood there are also cliques.
There are people who do certain levels of work. You find people like Martins Scorsese working with Roberts De Niro; they select some younger actors to mix. I have always had people who watched out for me. So if there are cliques, I admit to having being in a clique. Amaka Igwe when she was alive will call me if she has a good script. Because we had worked together, we have a history. If the producer of Hush has a project he thinks about me. He has worked with me, he put me on Tinsel and he has put me on Hush. It has to do with your niche within the larger playing field, where you want to stay. If you are looking for actors who probably are methodical in their approach to the craft then there are certain actors you will call. That is how it works”.
Remembering late Bukky Ajayi: “You know how it is, I had just come back into Nollywood and I have a list of people I needed to connect with then. I had a meeting with Tade Ogidan and when I started Hush, I found out that Abounce is aunty Bukky’s son.
I just made a mental note that I needed to see her. I worked with her in South Africa as well. When she was alive, I used to tease her and call her my girlfriend. Few days before she died, I had seen her son and I was trying to find out her schedule saying: ‘Tell mummy I am coming to see her’.
It was like I was in the zone and a few days later, I heard she died. It hit me really bad because I had spoken to her son that I wanted to come and see her. For me, when I wrote on social media it was more like a time check for me. It was a personal thing for me also that one shouldn’t wait for too long before you do the things that you want to do. If something keeps nudging you in your mind, just drop everything and go do that thing. I wish I had not considered looking for a special weekend to go see her. I would have seen her before she passed on.”