She needs no introduction. This 2010 Future Awards’ Actor of the Year has become a familiar face on our screens that you will be forgiven if you have forgotten that only a few years back, she was simply a stage performer.
Kemi Lala Akindoju‘s wonderful performances in M-Net’s Tinsel, Charles Novia’s Alan Poza and Tunde Kelani’s Dazzling Mirage have cemented her place among the most sought-after actresses in Nollywood.
TNS caught up with her recently and here is the insightful interview she granted.
What led you into acting?
Well, acting found me. I never really set out to be an actor, but I knew I loved performing.
How do you prepare for a role when you first get a script?
Oh I love my preparation process. My first step is to read the script and develop a back story: The back story includes the character’s age, place of birth, background, educational level, likes, dislikes, special traits, skills, ailments and every other information that helps.
Once this is done, I develop a gait for the character…mannerism and carriage.
Next is to understand the relationship between my character and others. I am very big on research.
What has been your most challenging role so far?
As cliché as this may sound, every role I play is challenging so I don’t take any role for granted. In fact the ‘less challenging’ a role is, the more technical it is to interpret in my opinion.
Is there a role you can never play as an actor and why?
Ha! I never say never o! Let the role come first. Once I understand the demands, I will work things out with the director.
But more importantly, one of the joys of being an actor is having the opportunity to interpret different people’s realities. So I look forward to playing varying roles.
What do you hate about Nollywood?
Hate is such a deep word. Nollywood is an evolving industry that has given us a platform and it has put Nigeria on the map. There’s nothing to hate.
This is not to say there are no downsides, but the industry is improving and growing on all sides.
What do you think of new Nollywood?
I’m excited about the rise of the next generation. Many young filmmakers are getting into collaborations and seeking ways to learn and improve on the industry as a whole.
That said, I’m very glad that the ones before us prepared the way.
What would you say to someone who wants to pick up an acting career, especially in Nollywood?
Be determined to work hard and wait for results. It isn’t magic! You have to love what you do enough to focus on the work and not the money.