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Friday, July 27, 2012
Pictorial Glance at Femi Adebayo of Nollywood
Femi Adebayo must be the first of Nollywood act this Blogger had met personally. It is a big pleasure doing this post on him. Please read this interview he gave to
http://www.e-expressnigeria.com How trendy is Femi Adebayo?
Well I am just a very funny person. I am crazy about phones. I love shoes. I love wears. I love wristwatches. My mentality about all this is self satisfaction. I don’t buy it to impress anybody.
So, in essence you work hard and play hard? (Laughs) I agree with you. I think I belong to that school of thought. I won’t play harder than I work. That means I don’t throw away money than I earn. When you see me spend say like N100, 000 that means that I must have earned about N450, 000. For me to acquire a BB Porsche of N350, 000 that means I have made over N3 million.
How attached are you to your gadgets? That would be my phones. I use very sophisticated phones and I am lucky to have a very smart Personal Assistant who looks out for me. I leave my phones with him at public places. I also have a Bold 5 and Nokia E7.
I hear that being a celebrity also comes with getting a lot of freebies from rich fans. How true is this? That can be determined with the situation of the Nigerian economy. It’s rare to see someone give you a gift of say half a million. Among my male colleagues, it is rare but I am not sure of the female acts. At least, I am sure of myself, it has not happened to me. Well, I have gotten gifts of N5, 000 recharge cards among others. But I know our ladies get gifts such as cars among other things but that hardly happen among the male acts.
As a handsome young man, one would expect you to get a lot of goodies from female fans. What has been your experience? The ladies you just mentioned, what do they have to offer me? Yoruba people have a proverb – the person who wants to cloth another man should first be checked of his/ her clothing. A friend of mine saw me in January and told me that I am rich because I use a Kia Sorento worth N6.5 million. To God be the glory. I don’t get all my income alone from what I get from entertainment. Like everybody knows, I am a lawyer and I am also into properties. I buy and sell properties for so many clients within and outside Nigeria who are rest assured that Femi Adebayo cannot run away with their money. So you cannot place me beside any other actor at least in the Yoruba genre. What I can afford, they may not be able to afford. Any lady that would impress me can start from billions. What trips me most is simple appreciations and encouragement to do better.
How do you handle female fans? Do you get a lot of pressures from them? Let me start by telling you that my female fans are interesting. I appreciate them, I don’t joke with them. I came to notice that majority of the people that watch home videos are females, the guys don’t have time. In my home, my wife watches movies than I do, I don’t even have time for movies. So I don’t play with my female fans. Some can get distracted by what they watch in the movies, but like I always say, I am one of the luckiest actors in Yoruba home videos.
How? Because I have someone to lean on. I have learnt a lot from my father that one should keep these female friends, you must not lose them. At the same time, one must be highly disciplined, so that’s why I say that I am one of the luckiest because I am able to handle my female fans.
How does your wife react and relate with your female fans? Well because I am one of the luckiest like I have said, understanding is very important in any relationship. I think I am happy to have her, she understands the nature of my job. Many people don’t even know her, she goes to saloon to make her hair, she hears a lot of gist about artistes. There was a particular day she came back and said some four girls said that Femi Adebayo is hot and they don’t mind dating him. And she was just laughing. That means she understands the nature of my job, I think I am one of the luckiest to have her as my wife.
Can you possibly detach yourself from movies and acting?
Well, I can’t live without acting, not just because of the financial aspect of it, but because of the passion I have for it. I love acting, I don’t even get money from acting, just satisfaction. I can be very comfortable without the money aspect of entertainment, to God be the glory.
How has your law background helped your career in the movie industry? It does help in so many ways, but I have to go deeper. If you look at my movies, as a graduate of Law from University of Ilorin, my education level will showcase whatever I do, and that is the basic thing, to me it is an investment in the future. I am sure my calling in the entertainment world is for a purpose. A time will come when attention will move to other younger actors who are quite younger than us. So at that point in time what do you expect me to do?
Does it worry you that many producers always like to cast Funke Akindele and you in the same movies? As a professional, that is none of my business. I don’t need to know who is coming to play my wife. I really don’t need to. Toyin Aimakhu has appeared as my wife in many more movies than Funke Akindele. Iyabo Ojo has played my wife in about three movies. Dayo Amusa has played my wife in a movie. Ronke Odusanya otherwise known as Flakky Idi dowo has played my wife in almost eight movies. So I don’t need to know who I co-star with. I think that many producers are just trying to maximize their profits and that is why they usually put Funke and I in the same movies. That is why this keeps occurring because they feel the movies will sell when they see us together in the same movies. I don’t demand to know my female co-stars in movies from producers because it is not my business and I have no apologies.
How many movies have you produced on your own? They are about ten in all. Some of them include Idanwo, Iro Funfun, Adun Ma De Ke, Ikoko Odu, Jelili, Ile Alayo, Oju Koju, Funtua Alapata and Ile Omo. I can’t count the number of movies I have done. If I have to give an estimate, I would say maybe over 500 movies till date. I have been doing this since 1996.
What year did you debut in the movie industry? Yes, I played my first major role in 1996 but before then I had been on and off the scene due to my academics. However I came fully into the scene in 2006. By then, I decided to stop full practice in law.
We would like you to share your experience as a lawyer with us? I was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2003. I practiced for two years and was actively involved in litigations. I represented clients in the courts of law. I finished my Masters Degree in Law in 2006. In the same year, I produced my first movie and faced acting fully as a career.
How easy was it for you to quit law for acting? It just took self-determination on my part. I had no second thought about it because I was convinced that acting was a talent for me. A man’s talent can’t be hidden. I act in my bedroom, my bathroom and everywhere. It was more like rehearsals for me. I now run my own talents school called J15 School of Performing Arts in Ibadan, Oyo State and we are affiliated with the National Association of Nigeria Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP). We are processing our government approval, which we hope to get before the end of the year. By then, we would be able to issue a certificate of diploma that will be equivalent with that of any higher institution of learning in the country.
What is the structure of J15 School of Performing Arts? We have about five graduates of Theatre Arts as lecturers and we have about 80 students. They do theory and practical. I often teach the students more of the practical aspects of theatre. We try to assist the students by creating a platform for them to showcase their talents. For instance, the lady who played my younger sister, Jemila in my comedy, Jelili is from the school. She is still a student. We have various disciplines such as make-up, costuming, music etc. We employed the services of experts in the field to take them.
Many are of the opinion that it was easy for you to become an actor because your father, Oga Bello is already an established and revered entertainer, do you agree? No, I don’t agree. I have an elder brother, Wale Adebayo who is not an actor. It’s not an automatic thing. Of course, I won’t dispute the fact that I have enjoyed the influence of my father especially learning from his rich experience in managing fame among other things.
So what inspired your going into acting? The major attraction for me was that I wanted to do what daddy is doing, however I never knew it would turn out well. If I knew I would be this big as an actor, I would have studied Theatre Arts instead of Law. When I was younger, it was just a hobby for me just wanting to imitate daddy. From there, I started getting encouragements from people that I have the talent and I need to showcase it.
What was it like growing up in a polygamous home under your famous father? It was fun growing up because daddy is always acting. He only stops acting maybe when he is praying but every other time, he is acting. So it was fun growing up under him. If you find yourself where we are all gathered, you will not want to leave us because it is all acting. About six of us the children of my dad are into acting. My brother Tope Adebayo is an actor cum producer, while Sodiq Adebayo is a full time production manager. Rilwan Adebayo is a full time editor, while my mother is a movie marketer. So, acting radiates within the family.
Many people only know about your dad, how close are you to your mother? My mum was 60 some months ago. I am very close to my mother. Actually I am really very close to my parents and I love them so much. I appreciate them so much that if I get a chance to come this way again, I don’t mind coming through them once again. She has really been of great assistance to me through her counsel. I would say I am an achiever today and thanks to them.
Tell us more about your family I am married to a wife with three kids including a set of male twins and a girl. It is a complete team (laughs). All I need to do is to work harder and make more money for them.
Has any of your kids shown any flair for acting? My kids are still young. My first child Fidau will be 7 years on June 15. Actually she inspired the name J15. I can never forget that day because I asked God for a female child as my first born and he gave it to me. Whatever brand name I build will carry the name J15. My twins will be five. I can’t see any traits in them now perhaps maybe when they clock 10. Even then, I will allow them be what they want to be. I won’t dictate their careers for them. And well if they choose acting, so be it.
How do they feel when they see you on TV? They usually call my attention to any movie which I star in. The boys call me Jelili. In fact, when they get to school, they tell their friends that their father is Jelili.
With your busy schedule, how do you make time for your family? Just like you journalists, managing one’s time is part of the profession. I have learnt to plan my schedules. My schedule can be very chaotic but the days which I devote for my family are sacrosanct. That is how I handle it. There is this common slogan we say among ourselves which is that ‘the show must go on.’ This is irrespective of what happens except by permission. If I have to abandon the set, then there must be someone else to fill the space. The only time I had to abandon set was when my wife was in labour for our twins with the kind permission of the director and producer. If I wasn’t granted a permission that means I have no option than to remain on set.
How would you describe yourself? I am simple. So many people say I am humble and God-fearing. I think I am highly principled and determined. And to my great fans, I want to appreciate them. They are the pillars behind me. I want to promise that I won’t disappoint them. I will add that they should keep showing me love and support so that I can do more.