Odunlade Adekola in a fresh interview with Tofarati Ige explained he went into professional acting because of the love people had for him. According to him, he has been in his church drama group and people had loved his acting. To him the love, screams he got when he is about to mount stage gave him the confidence to go into professional acting. Enjoy the interview below…
Can you recall how you started your acting career?
I used to act very well in church and people loved it whenever I came on stage. Even before I mounted the stage, people would already be screaming in excitement and the cleric would then have to caution them so that everybody could hear what I had to say. It was the interest and love that people had for me that motivated me to take acting serious. Meanwhile, there was a friend of mine who we used to act together and go about performing in churches. He was part of a group that used to meet for rehearsals somewhere close to where I lived. One day, he told the members of his group that he had a friend who could act. They told him to invite me and when I got there, they asked me if I could act and I told them I could do it very well. The leader of the group then asked why I believed so much in myself and he told me to act like a mad man. I immediately moved close to him, grabbed his cloth and started unbuttoning it. As I was doing that, everybody there started clapping and that is how I joined the theatre industry in 1996. I didn’t initially know that it was different from what I was used to in church because they had more techniques, but I learnt over time. There was a time that the leader of our group invited some actors who had been in the industry for a long time such as Mr. Paragon, Kayode Akindina, Segun Akinlade, and Segun Adeniji (SAMA), among others to come and inspect what we were doing. After watching us perform, they urged me to join the Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners, and I became a member in January 1998.
What was your parents’ reaction to your career?
My father really liked it. It was as if he knew that I would succeed in it. But I had an uncle who used to beat me so much anytime I went for rehearsals. However, that same uncle now asks me to bring him my movies.
What was the first movie you acted in?
It has been a long time but one of the earliest movies I can recall is Faworaja, produced by Bolaji Amusan (Mr. Latin) in 1999.
Can you recall some of your colleagues that you started acting with?
I remember people like Tunde Oshoko, Semiu Durojaiye, Shola Odebunmi, Segun Ogungbe and many others too numerous to mention here.
What challenges did you face in the early stage of your career?
I was quite young when I started but as I grew older, I realised that all the things that I considered to be challenges are only normal things that happen as one progresses in life. There is always a price to pay for whatever you want to achieve in life.
How did you make the transition from Abeokuta to Lagos?
I believe it is God that orders our steps and he knows the end from the beginning. I just try my best. I cannot really say how that happened.
Which movie do you consider as your breakthrough?
People always say it is Asiri Gomina and I agree with them. The movie was produced by the late Ishola Durojaiye (Alasari). That was when people started noticing me, even though I had produced my own movie before then.
Who are some of the people you admire that influenced your acting career?
When I started acting, I didn’t have any particular person that I looked up to. I just loved all the people acting then.
You’ve been relatively scandal free, how have you been able to manage that?
I don’t think there’s any actor that wouldn’t have scandals; though I don’t even know what scandals mean. We are all humans and are prone to mistakes. I would really like it if you can put it down exactly as I’m going to say this. Most of the problems artistes have are caused by journalists. Some journalists don’t do adequate findings before writing their stories. And it is very difficult to correct the perception of people about you. Many people form an opinion of entertainers simply by what they read about them in the media. And some of these reports may even be false. Even if we have grown thick skin towards these things, what about our children? Journalists have damaged the careers of lots of entertainers. Meanwhile, some journalists are also guilty of what they accuse entertainers of doing. We know some of them but we cannot just mention names. I believe it is better to call whoever is doing wrong to order instead of writing a damaging report about the person. As for me not having scandals, I can only give glory to God for my life.