I’M LIVING MY DREAMS – Star actress, Omoni Oboli
Omoni Oboli is just a fantastic actress. Always on point, the star of Anchor Baby and The Fugurine has left all of us in perpetual ecstasy with her new work, Being Mrs. Elliot. On Tuesday, September 2, 2014, in Lekki, Lagos, she spoke to YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine on her life and career…
Who is a good actress?
A good actress is an actress who can interpret roles exactly how it is portrayed in the script. An actress who is versatile; not an actress who plays the same character every time you see them in a movie. An actress who can become a character in a script. That is a good actress.
Who is a good producer?
A producer is like a good manager. Someone who can put all the resources together, manage the personnel, manage the money, manage the location; everything in the movie. That is a good producer.
What do you look out for before you accept a script?
I don’t know, but I guess because I’m a script writer myself, I just first of all look at the story; an interesting story that will interest people generally. Yes, it’s an interesting story. If well treated, it might be an interesting story, but if it’s not well treated, that’s why sometimes you watch a movie and you say ah, the story sweet sha, but dem no really get am like that. So, it has to be an interesting story and it has to be well treated. The story has to be well treated, the plotting and the dialogue have to be good too.
How would you describe your career in over a decade?
It’s been interesting (laughs). It’s been rewarding, it’s been fulfilling, because it’s what I want to do, so it makes me happy. It’s fulfilling.
When would you say is your best moment?
In the industry, I guess every time you win an award. It’s a great moment, because it means that you’ve been recognized for hard work and achievement.
What don’t you like about being an actress?
I don’t like the fact that people feel they are part of your life and they can say whatever they want to say about your life and the whole lack of privacy. But it comes with the territory, so you can’t take some and leave some; you just have to take the good and the bad.
What do you like about being an actress?
I love the fact that I am able to do what I want to do. I don’t have to answer yes sir to anybody. This is my time; my time belongs to me. I can decide what I want to do and what I don’t want to do. I can decide when I want to do something and when I don’t want to do something and I totally love the fact that I am living my dreams. It’s exactly what I want to do.
You are a French graduate, why haven’t you shot a movie in French language?
I am working on something like that already.
How did you conceive the idea of writing Being Mrs. Elliot?
The story? Huh! I’m not sure exactly how the story came about, but it was conceived almost five years ago. When the story was conceived, I started to write it and I finished writing it four/five years ago and of course, I didn’t have the money to produce it at the time, so I just left it. But I kept talking about it. I knew it was story that I really wanted. And everybody that I tell the story will say wow, this story is really interesting, when are you doing it? Well, I’m still looking for money to do it, I will say. But then I said Omoni, is this not the same story you told me four years ago? That was when I realized it was time to do the movie. You can’t be talking about something for four years and you don’t do anything. It means that you are not really working hard towards achieving that. So, I started to actively look for resources and start putting a team together and here we are.
How did you get the connection as far as Aso Rock screening the movie?
Oh, well, I did the movie and I thought to myself; I was very proud of myself, I was very proud of my work and I thought to myself, as a child growing up, when you do something, you wanna show it to your father, because you’re eager; my daddy needs to see this, so he’s gonna be proud of me. So, I thought to myself: who’s the father of the nation and I said the President. Why not show him the movie; if the President endorses and blesses the movie, I’m sure it will go very far. So, we wrote to The Presidency through the Film Video Marketers Association of Nigeria and we just left it. Lo and behold, I was on holiday and they called from the Film Marketers Association that The Presidency had responded and they were ready to have a presidential viewing for the movie. So, that was just how it went and it was a miracle.
People complained about your provocative dress to meet President Goodluck Jonathan. Why that choice of dress?
I don’t know, but as far as I am concerned, it was a red carpet event. You know people think oh, I just went to see the President. No. I didn’t go to see the President. It was an event with many people and it was a red carpet event and that was a red carpet dress, so I don’t know what the fuss is all about. But you know, like I said, you have to take the good and the bad.
Why cant so many actresses you started with sustain their relevance?
I think it has to be passion. If you are passionate about something, you will see it to the end. Perhaps, that is the point. I don’t know, but if you are passionate about something, if your motivation is not maybe money or fame or something, if your motivation is a passion that drives you for that particular work that you are doing, I don’t think anything can stop you.
At what point do you think you can be described as a successful actress?
I think at the point everything is different. You know, the way we measure success differs from one person to the other. For me, it might be that oh, when I start to win awards, I now feel yes, I’m successful in this my career; people have started recognizing the work that I’m doing. For someone else, it might be oh, maybe when people start to recognize them on the street. That for them might be their own success. So, I think it differs from person to person. For some other person, it might be oh, when I start earning this amount per movie, it means I’m successful.
You are said to be at loggerheads with Genevieve Nnaji. Why?
I don’t understand it. It’s not a recent thing. I mean, it’s from when I did Anchor Baby. Like I said, we don’t have any issues whatsoever. We are colleagues and very cordial with each other. It’s just oh, someone said I did a movie and the producer said he thinks I’m the best actress in Nigeria. It’s an opinion and everyone is entitled to their opinion and people turned it around and said he says I’m better than Genevieve and Omotola and I don’t know why. People say I was beefing Omotola or Omotola was beefing me, but you know, to me, those things are irrelevant. We are all in the same industry. I mean, there are so many stars up in the sky, we don’t hear that they are fighting and falling down. So, really, I don’t see why any of us should have any problem with ourselves. We are all matured young women. I think we should all live peacefully, have healthy competition.
What do you think is the best way to handle scandals?
Ah, I don’t know. What might be the best way for me might not be the best way for another person. It depends on what happens. There are some things that happen, the best thing is just to keep quiet about it; especially when you know that the story isn’t true or it doesn’t make sense. Just keep quiet and don’t talk about it. Sometimes it’s better to address it and let it end once and for all. Sometimes you just say you know what, I’m gonna talk about it and that’s it. I’m talking about it now and I don’t want it to come up again. So, I think it depends on what is being said and who the person is.
At what point did you decide to go into acting?
I have been acting since I was a little girl. I have been acting since I was three years old. I was in school play; I was in a church play. I have always loved acting. I didn’t know if I was gonna do it professionally all my life, but have always loved acting.
Which of the movies you did would you consider the most challenging?
All my movies are very challenging because I address every script as if it’s my last script. I look at every job with seriousness. I attack it like this is the movie of the moment. This is going to be the best movie. So, every of my work has been very challenging to me and all of them are very dear to my heart.
How much did you spend on Being Mrs. Elliot?
I am not going to give out a figure, but I would say it’s a big budget movie in terms of Nigerian budget. It a big budget because we shot in three states, Lagos, Ekiti and Asaba. So, the logistic was a lot. The logistics alone cost a lot of money, moving people from one place to another, cars, crew, record men. So, that was a lot of money, not to talk of the actual budget of the movie itself, because it’s a big story. So, it is a big budget movie. But the truth is I could not have done it by myself, so I had sponsors. I had Maltina, Farouz as sponsors; I had Verve and Quick Teller. I had Aso Savings and Loans, I had Lagos Monopoly, House of Tara, Arik Air, AD Consulting and after the movie was done, I also got sponsors on board. By the time we started to do the premieres and stuff, I got Access Bank, Keystone Bank, MRS and Oando. It’s opening in all the cinemas nationwide from the 5th of September.
Are you working on another project at the moment?
Oh! There are more (laughs). I have actually directed other movies that are in post production stages right now. So, we are working on those ones. We’ve already shot them, so we are doing post production for those ones and they should be ready anytime soon.
NB: First published September 2014
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