Akin Lewis’ role in Tade Ogidan’s epic movie; ‘Madam Dearest,’ actually brought him into the limelight, and the prolific actor has not looked back since he ventured into the industry many years back.
Akin is proud to be in full time acting and he openly confessed that the profession has paid off for him as a professional actor.
He has featured in several movies and he is one of the few notable artistes that have formal trainings in acting, no wonder he declared that he is one of the best trained actors in Nigeria.
Akin has indeed proven his mettle as one of the best the Nigerian film industry can boast of; he has used his talent to mirror the society to millions of Nigeria through acting.
He spoke with Oladipupo Awojobi recently on his adventure in the glamorous industry.
We will like you to tell us some of your experiences over the years as a successful actor, and why did you decide to be an actor?
Well, I feel happy when people are happy. I realized that this is what I wanted to do very early in life. My father helped me; I used to attend children programmes in school, and I was part of a drama society even in nursery school. My father used to buy me comic books and literature books, very early in life, I knew what I wanted to do.
What was your first move, which are your first works and how were you introduced into the industry?
I went to school to study drama, I have a master’s degree, we had a lot of training. Immediately I left secondary school, I joined a group founded by Professor Bode Sowanle of the University of Ibadan. I got a lot of practical experiences there. I later joined the NTA, I also got a lot of practical experiences from there. I produced all the Yoruba groups there, the Obatalas, Duro Ladipos, Ajimajasans and so many others. We got a lot of practical experiences from there. I guess that is how far we went. I am happy to make people happy.
The Nigerian Theatre seems to still be growing, is it the only thing you do?
Yes, this is the only thing I do, but having said that, I am a legend sort of, I was also a management executive at a very top level. I have managed stars over the years, but now I have retired form the corporate world and this is all I do.
How challenging has it been since then?
It is very challenging, let me tell you, it is not the easiest thing to want to become like you because that is what acting is, you want to be somebody else and you have to be good at it so that people will remember you, people want to take something away from there. The challenges are there.
You play so many roles in films, how easy has it been, you once acted like a gay, and play other roles?
Well, I am one of the best trained actors in Nigeria and I say so with pride, I trained here and I went abroad to train. So I know the technique, how to process the roles and get into them. I know all the systems, so it becomes easier since you know what you want to do. That is why I am very proud to say I can play any role.
There is this film; ‘Ofinga’ by Remdel Films, how would you interprete your role in the movie to real life?
All of the roles I play in films and televisions are not me, ‘Ofinga’ was a lawyer, I am not a lawyer, all I did was learn how to be a lawyer for two hours. I guess he was trying to uplift the law profession and he kept saying that ‘nobody is above the law,’ which is something we need to know in Nigeria. If we have a grievance, go to the court, he kept saying that over and over again, though the situation called for that. All the same, in real life, I am someone, who follows the law, I obey the laws, I don’t want to be above the law and I pray that Nigerians would all observe the law so that Nigeria can be a better place.
Most times, people talk about the output of the industry and there are some problems like piracy and technical problems, are you satisfied with what we have on ground in Nollywood?
No, I am not satisfied, I can never be satisfied. The thing is that there are a lot of charlatans in the industry, everybody wants to be in entertainment. If you narrow it down, everybody wants to be an actor and they don’t know their left from their right, in that sense, I am not satisfied. Again, there are some people in the industry, who still need to know before they get to do, they still need to get some trainings, it may not be going back to school, it might be just a training school. A mechanic, who is good, over the years, he gets more proficient. Of course, we need a lot of hi-tech to boost the industry, but the bottom line is that we need money, once we have money, good ideas would get made into films, but where there are no funds, good ideas become bad ideas. I think we need to continue to fine tune it till we get there.
Can you tell us two or three of your works that you love most?
That is difficult, it is like asking me which of my children I love most, that is very tough. But, if I look at it from the point of view of films that have really challenged me, I will look at “Madam Dearest,” because all of the emotions, I cried, I laughed, I got drunk, these are difficult things to do. I played drunk, I couldn’t have been drunk, it was challenging. Also, ‘Alatako’, it was tough because I had to speak Yoruba throughout, I couldn’t mix it at all, I spoke Oyo Yoruba, there was also “Were Alaso,” where I had to play a normal person, but actually, he was a psycho, I had to play a psycho, you keep guessing until at the end, you discover, he is a psycho. I remember ‘Mind Bending,’ I had to play a drug addict, I had to go and spend about one week at the psychiatric home with the inmate because I never took cocaine, so I went there. I came back and I did it and everybody thought it was real.
Many people feel it is not so financially rewarding to work as an actor in Nigeria, what is your experience?
Look at me, is it good to be an actor, am I looking bad, it is not a bad thing to be an actor at all, I am enjoying it.
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