Aremu Afolayan is the son of late popular film maker, Adeyemi Afolayan (Ade Love). The family also boasts of two other great actors and producers, Kunle and Gabriel. In this interview with YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine, Aremu tells us everything about his career, challenges and scandals.
For me, you just study your environment and know everything about it.
Tell us about your journey into the make-believe world.
I came in ten years ago as a gay actor in a movie alongside Bimbo Manuel. I was a model before I developed big tummy. I had wanted to go into acting, but intended to make money from modeling first. But after a while, I met some of my friends in the movie industry to get a role. Kunle Afod featured me in some of his movies and I performed very well. Then, I quickly produced one movie by myself called ‘Iro Ni’ (Fallacy) and since then my career has taken a major dimension.
After over ten years, which of your works will you describe as the most challenging?
The Scores! In fact, a viewer in Abuja called me after watching the movie. I think watching a lot of American movies really assisted me and it is my best work.
What is the movie all about?
It is a gangster movie. We are used to the same story, but a change of title in Nollywood. So, this one is different. It involves a playboy who got away with playing all the girls that came his way and instead of those girls ganging up to kill him as we always have, they started fighting themselves.
In a family that has about three movie producers, how challenging has it been for you?
I don’t have a threat and there is no competition really. If anyone of us is talking about competing, then that is left for him. But for me, I’m okay. Nothing scares me because I don’t care selling my house for a movie because I believe I will make my money.
When you started movie making, what agenda did you set for yourself?
I wanted to change everything in Nigeria. We are not doing it right here. Even my N16 million movie is rubbish. It’s bullshit. In Bollywood, a movie goes for N10 billion, so if I shot a movie for that amount, imagine how much I will pay my actors, how much I will build a set? I can’t use a bank here in Nigeria because they would be afraid that after the movie robbers may come to attack them. They have forgotten that either we use it or not, if robbers want to strike, they will do and there is nothing anyone can do about it. So, all I can do is to build a quality bank set, and to do that, which I’m going to bomb, is not easy. It’s not a N16 million job, which is just the money for a Range Rover, 2010 model. We don’t even need money to produce, just give us facilities to work with, close down roads for us, block the Third Mainland Bridge for some hours so that we can shoot on the bridge and the government will be the one that will benefit the most because they get 10% of everything we budget for the movie.
What would you say acting has done for you?
It has really given me mouth to talk. If I don’t do movies, I will be a very quiet person. It has given me opportunity to express myself. There are so many things we correct about our society in movies.
You didn’t go to school, yet you are a good script writer and producer. How do you manage to achieve this?
I’m yet to go to the university, but I went to primary and secondary schools. I love to go to school, at least, for the fun of it. But I have no time. The school is not running away, but the money to go is seriously running. So, I need to pursue my career. I know that to be a film maker, you must be learned, but school, as you know, could mean the whole world to anyone. But to me, it does not mean I have to die. It means you only go to learn. All those teachers in school are also being taught by nature, because someone and not an alien started a school. My brain is now bigger than school. I don’t know how to speak English very well which is also good for me anyway. I mix Yoruba and English to make little money for myself to eat.
Are you ruling out the possibility of going back to school?
I will be going to a film school after I release my new movie, ‘Cryptic Lamp’. I will go to London for a three month course in film making.
Tell us about your marital status.
I am still single and very available.
What about the report that you are a gigolo?
They said I’m a gigolo? I owe no one any explanation for the way I live my life. They can criticize my film, but not my life. They said I do rich women for money, how I wish I can do that because a gigolo don’t get broke like this. If I’m a gigolo I will never sell my properties to do a film of N16 million. I sold three of my cars to raise the money. I am not what people think I am.
So, what is the truth about that allegation?
I love ladies that are older than me. It’s my business because I don’t find the good thing, the real love and happiness from the young chaps. Can you imagine a situation where I sleep with my girl now and she will go and sleep with one yahoo boy or my daddy’s friend again because she needs money? So, I have to follow someone who is not a girl as they say, but a lady that is at least older than me. This is what I like. My life, not their life. So, that’s no one’s business. You see, I owe no one any explanation concerning this. I can only explain to God and until He comes, I can continue.
NB: First published January 2014