His was a meteoric rise in the Nigerian film industry. But not all bed of roses for star actor, Sunkanmi Omobolanle whose father, Sunday Omobolanle, popularly known as Papi Luwe is a veteran actor. He told the duo of AHMED AJIKOBI and KAYODE ADEOTI about the hurdles he had to cross to be where he is today in the industry. Excerpts:
What informed your interest in the movie industry?
First of all, my father never wanted me in this career at the initial stage. He wanted me to face my studies. But I can still boldly say my career choice was influenced by him because when I was much younger, I followed him for rehearsals. I’ve always loved acting; I’ve been very passionate about it. When the time came to have my debut; my first appearance, he kicked against it. Now that I’ve actually come of age, I do understand his reasons for it.
So I started acting way back in secondary school. Then, they needed someone to interpret a role; someone to play flashback of Yemi Solade. They got someone but my mother was against the choice of another person when I could play the role. After much persuasion, I was allowed to do it.
What was your father’s reaction to it?
He still stood strongly against it. He is cool and gentle on screen but back home, he’s a disciplinarian. He is very strict.
What film shot you into limelight?
I had my debut in ‘Ija agba meji’ that was the film that shot me into limelight. My father still did not want me to do it, he was scared. But right now, he trusts me, and knows I’m covered.
Is it true that you feature more in Yoruba movies because you’re not very much lettered?
I disagree. I perform in movies generally, but I do more of Yoruba. There was the belief that Yoruba actors cannot speak English fluently. The fact that I speak Yoruba or I’m from the tribe doesn’t limit me in anyway. I’m a figure in the industry that is there to make impacts. Yoruba scripts are more challenging, judging from the storyline and the characterisation of each person on the script.
Why is it that producers cast you for the bad boy role in movies?
I believe as an actor, you just have to be very good at what you do. It’s about the script, whatever character I’m doing, I put my best into it.
Does the role you play portray your real personality?
I have to play those roles because that’s what I’m paid to do; that’s my job. If you come closer to me, you will realise that I’m not bad. Whatever character I show on stage, has nothing to do with my personality.
Recently it was in the news that you acquired multi-million property, is that to say that you are well paid as an actor?
My job has actually given me more than money. I cannot quantify what I’ve gained monetarily.
What is your most memorable day as an actor?
Everyday is memorable to me because I live each day as if I’m not going to wake up the next day.
There were recent reports that a ‘sugar mummy’ got pregnant for you, could this be true?
I’m so proud to say I’m not a gigolo. I have no sugar mummy anywhere. The kind of relationship we keep is devoid of sex. The report is totally untrue.
How do you cope with female fans?
With the kind of work I do, there is no option than to relate with women. But I am not sexually involved with any of them. I’ve been married for seven years and my home is intact. I am married to my best friend. She’s not in the industry.
You followed the path of your father as an actor, would you want any of your kids to join the industry?
Why not? If they love the trade. If they can use that to make an impact in their world, they can go ahead.
There has been clamour for the overhauling of the industry for lack of discipline, what is your take on this?
There are lots of things going on in the industry, in fact, for now, entertainment world in this country is funny. Our government needs to come in to bring sanity into the sector. Though, it’s better now than in the past.
Many of your colleagues in Nollywood are diversifying into music, politics, would you like to do same?
I love music because I critique but it’s not my calling for now. As for politics, I may, if that will help me give back to the society.
What was your highest pay as an actor?
I cannot disclose the amount for security reasons, but it was in a production with Saheed Balogun. After the job, he paid me in percentage which was pretty much. The least pay I’ve got was acting free of charge.
How do you relax?
I hang out.