By Tomilola Coco Adeyemo
You may or may not know Kunle Remi. But chances are you’re already familiar with his face and, by this time next year, he would be one of your favorites.
The reason is simple – the man is working hard, passionate about his craft (as you will realize when you read and perhpas listen to this interview) and he is aware he is only as good as his last job.
Unlike many Actors in Nollywood, Kunle is about the others coming after him as he is about himself – he is selfless.
He says Nollywood needs a structure in place so benefits can be duly reaped.
When asked about his take on the TIFF discussion between newcomer Somkele Idhalama and veteran Genevieve Nnaji, he had this to say;
we don’t have a structure
He then goes on to give many reasons why it is one of the problems the Industry is facing. No, he is not asking everyone to be responsible for others but he is also saying, looking out for others makes us all look good.
Clearly, this man is more than the fine boy looks and the sexy exterior he carries and if this conversation doesn’t convince you, nothing will.
Speaking to him over the phone for almost an hour was enlightening. He spoke of his farming business, his relationship with Adesua Etomi, what it felt like acting a sex scene with Omotola in what is her first movie in 3 years and the problems he had breaking into the industry.
Meeting the man Kunle Remi
I’m an Actor, an entrepreneur, a farmer and a filmmaker pretty much. I grew up in Ibadan; had my primary, secondary and University education in Ibadan. Studied Tourism and Hospitality Management at the Sheffield Hallam University and Acting at the New York Film Academy.
Journey to Acting and everything in between
I started as a Drama boy. My mom owns a primary school in Ibadan. I used to teach drama, I used to teach the Students, I used to work with them. I always wanted to be an Actor somehow. You know I had periods when I was changing profession because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. It’s not like in Nigeria we have a counselling or a department where they help you decide where to be. I just went around a bit, I did sciences instead of arts. I couldn’t even do Theatre Arts… except for just hanging in Theatre Arts. At my Church drama group, I was always there, right from the Teenager’s time to the Youth time. I tried getting into Nollywood at first and it was kinda tough, from where I was coming from in School and all those things. I went for AMBO, I didn’t get in. I dance; I added acting to my dance, tell a story with it. I didn’t know anybody but like they say, if you’re meant to be there you will be there.
His response to becoming an Actor right off a reality show
I got on a reality show because of my adventurous spirit. I went for Gulder Ultimate Search because I loved the idea of the show, not because I wanted to necessarily become an actor but because I loved the idea of the show. Instead of me jumping into acting because I won Ultimate Search, I went to Film School. I wanted to come in with knowledge, I wanted to understand what I was doing. Gulder Ultimate Search was for people to see me. It was more of a platform in various aspect – money-wise, fame-wise. Everything just worked together to bring me where I am presently.
On whether his expectation have been met since he started out professionally in 2009
I will just say I am grateful for where I am. I have a lot of God factor in my life. And where I am right now, it’s just the grace of God. I handed my career to Him and I think I’m where He wants me to be.
On his relationship status
I stepped out of a relationship some months ago.
On the identity of his recent ex
You cannot know her. I am not going to mention her name ’cause you can’t know her. She’s into Public Relations. She is beautiful. Relationships aren’t the focus right now – if it happens it happen – but I am building my career right now.
About the Adesua dating rumors
We naturally have chemistry. No, we don’t have history. We have great chemistry all the time. On screen, One thing about her that is excellent is she lets go. She comes naked; she comes bare, you can always feel this person. she is a raw material. We actually bonded [in Falling].
On his perspective on the Genevieve Nnaji and Somkele Idhlama TIFF debate
My own is Nollywood needs to have a structure. If the fault is from the root, it won’t grow. When we compare ourselves to Hollywood, it annoys me because they have a structure. The Industry (Nollywood) is like Lagos Island market; come in and shoot and pay and go. There is no rule governing your whole industry, there is no structure. Nollywood is huge but it’s the surface, it is not rooted. Actors aren’t appreciated, we work overtime, there is no rule for working hours. Even in South Africa, they work 12 hours a day. Here we’re slaves. That is not how it should be. A structure needs to be in place. The older generation aren’t doing anything, everybody’s selfish. How about the young Actors coming after you? They’re doing their thing and nobody is saying let’s do this. But I’m about that life. I don’t want the young people to come into this Industry and have the same problems. I mean, why did I pass through this stage?
His solution to the problem
The Unions need to be taken seriously. Every actor’s name needs to be registered, put in the book so nobody is taken advantage of. I have situations where I signed contracts… people don’t even take contracts seriously in this Country.
On the steamy sex scene with Omotola in her first movie in 3 years
It was a normal set. We’re professional Actors.
Whether he felt nervous shooting that scene with an A lister
The first time I ever felt nervous on a set in my life was in 2011. It was with Stella Damasus, that was the first time I ever felt nervous in my life. The movie was shot in Cameroon and the Director called me and said, ‘hey, my guy if this thing comes out you will look stupid, step up your game.” Spoke to me and we went back inside and I killed it. Since then I realized all these people are human beings. The fact that I watched you growing up, the fact that I watched you before I came into this Industry doesn’t mean anything. I will learn from you, you might learn from me, I don’t know. I will perform. I will feed off you and I will feed you. [Lightly] I have a level. Even my kissing have level. The standard has raised shoulder. When I met her, I hoped she was someone that can be naked… you know… and she was. We killed it.
You can listen to Kunle Remi’s the recorded version of the phone interview here…