Gentleman actor, Amaechi Muonagor is a man of few words. Getting him to grant us audience, notwithstanding the fact that it was without much ado, almost hit a rough patch, because he persistently maintained that he didn’t have much to say and at the same time, wasn’t in the best frame of mind as at the time we called. All the same, he still managed to muster the things below to AZUH ARINZE…
Let’s meet you.
The name is Amaechi Muonagor. I’m from Obosi. Obosi is located in Idemili L.G.A of Anambra. I attended St. Mary’s Primary School, Obosi. Oraifite Grammar School and then the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) where I read Statistics with bias in Economics. I finished in 1987. I did my Youth Service in Kaduna with the Centre for Education Management, it was then located along Dawaki Road. After that, I picked up a job with NAN (News Agency of Nigeria). I was there till I got into acting.
How exactly did you get into acting?
I would rather say it was accidental because I was just at a talkshow somewhere around the National Theatre. It happened that some of those involved in this production came around to drink in one of the bars. While doing that, I overheard them complaining about one of the characters not being able to carry his role. So, when eventually we got talking, they said it was my kind of voice that they needed for the role. There and then, they asked me to go through the script and that was how I got my first role as Akunatakasi in Taboo 1.
You said you were drinking with some of your friends. How about telling us their names?
I was there with Nnamdi Igweonu and Nnamdi Agwuegboo. But the director was Chris Obirapu, now in USA.
What other profession would you have opted for if you were not acting?
I could have continued with my work as a staff of NAN. And maybe by now, I should have gotten to a level that will see me in the management cadre.
What did you leave NAN as?
I left as Principal Commercial Officer (Level 12). So, if I had continued with them, I should have gotten to level 14 by now which you know is a senior management level. And if I had gotten to that height, I should have saved enough money that might enable me to set up my own business now. It’s always been my desire to have my own private business.
What’s the highest amount that you have collected as an artiste?
That’s supposed to be private, because most of these things that they say they collect is not true. I don’t want to tell lies. I want that one to be silent between me and my marketers. The money is not too important.
What about your lowest?
My lowest was for my first movie. They cheated me a lot, but I never bothered about money then. It was just the interest.
How much were you paid then?
I think then I was given either N4,500 or thereabout and it was a big money then. I didn’t even ask for the money. I wasn’t particular about money then. They just gave me the money and I took it home, happy. It was when I took acting seriously that I now asked questions and since then I’ve been appreciating.
Which movie did you do after Taboo 1?
Ashes of Hared was my second and they really paid better and from there, I started growing. I can’t say I’m earning this or that, but I know I’m being paid well.
Do you have anybody that you look up to as a role model?
Yes. I like the way Liz Benson comes out in all her jobs. As a young girl, she is there, even as an old woman. Then, you talk about Sam Loco, Pete Edochie, Olu Jacobs. They are good actors, honestly speaking.
Will you allow any of your kids to act?
Why not! If they so desire. I’ve come to realize that it has a lot of prospects. So, if I have a kid who says he wants to become an actor, I will encourage him.
Which food do you have as a favourite?
I eat anything. I don’t know the one that is my favourite, but if I have to make a choice, it has to be rice, beans and plantain. In fact, anything I get at home, that is what my wife prepares for me to say welcome.
What about your favourite drink?
I like Stout. I don’t drink any other thing. I only drink Brandy sparingly and occasionally.
Which car do you have as your favourite?
(Smiles) I like this Lincoln Navigator. If wishes were horse, one would have owned one by now (still smiling).
What about your favourite colours?
Oh! White. I like white a lot.
What about music?
I like jazz.
You are married, right? Tell us about your wife and family?
I have a very nice wife, a lovely wife. Her name is Hope Chikodi Muonagor. I’m very fond of her because she is my backbone.
How did you meet her?
It’s a long story. But there was this girl that I wanted to marry only to later find that it wasn’t going to be possible again. She later linked me up with this babe, that’s my wife, and I found everything I was looking for in a wife in her. She has what even the first babe didn’t have. She is an ideal woman. She has everything that any man can ask for in a woman. When we met after the introduction, we dated for some time and when I found out that she was the woman for me, I got convinced and went ahead and married her and since then, I’ve not had any cause to complain.
What was it that you found out about the other woman that made you change your mind?
That’s past tense. Let’s not talk about that.
What do you hate about yourself?
I like the way I am. I don’t hate anything about myself. I enjoy the way I am because that’s the way God has made me to be.
What can you say about Nigeria’s movie industry?
Well, the industry has come to stay. We’ve actually improved because if you look back, you will see that we have really come of age. Given everything, I think we can compete with the Western world now. Even the so-called Hollywood cannot do better if we have all the things at their disposal.
What role are you playing in The Price?
I’m playing the role of Elder Francis.
What is the role all about?
Elder Francis is one of the members of the Board of Trustees of the church, Holy Ghost Tabernacle Church. In fact, he’s their spokeman.
How do you see the movie generally?
It’s a fine story and it’s going to be another movie to watch because the story is good and thank God we have good actors too to interpret it.
So, what made you agree to be part of The Price?
When you see a fine story, you can’t help but want to be part of it. The Price is a fascinating movie with a fascinating story.