By Ebun Babalola & Olayinka Latona
Daniel Ademinokan is a known name in movie production and directing. He is also among few Nollywood celebrities that got married in the industry. In this interview with Home Video People, he speaks on his love and Nollywood. Excerpts:
You and your wife won an award recently. Tell us about it.
The 2008 AMAA awards! The film that got it is Onitemi. She got the Best Indigenous Actress. And that was a beautiful achievement because she performed brilliantly in that movie.
I think it was a well deserved one. Although, a lot of people were disappointed that I did not get the Best Indigenous Film. But Iâ€™m not cut outÂ for awards. So, I donâ€™t need an award to tell me Iâ€™m doing well. Although, it is good to be rewarded for efforts and good jobs.
And the new film Omo Iya Ka?
With my experience in the industry, Iâ€™ve been able to understand how artistes metamorphose from being simple people to people who are worshipped or idolised. Some artistes started very humbly, nobly, gently, calmly and understandingly.
But after gaining stardom, they abuse such privileges. So, they should know that getting to the peak shouldnâ€™t stop their humility.
Celebrity should not become an object of worship but a time to manage people. It is a story that tells how people deal with fame and what fame can do to people and how a simple life can be turned overnight to something very complicated; how a complicated person can be reduced to nobody.
It goes to show that one can get carried away if one is not careful and one will get lost along the line. Although the script was written by Pascal Almafo, we put it together by raising the bar a bit on how people do films in Nigeria.
Itâ€™s said that Yoruba, Igbo orÂ Hausa artistes are not the real Nollywood but the English ones….
Nollywood is one. Whether English or Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo films, it is all under the Nigerian movie industry that has been christened Nollywood.
Nollywood has improved and I give credit to the industry for making something out of nothing. But when they keep saying that Nigerian movie industry is the biggest or third largest in the world, my question therefore is, â€œIn terms of quantity of movies we dish out or not in terms of quality of films?â€ Those withÂ quality come out three times in a year and with the best.
My theory was proved right at the just concluded AMAA award where movies from Kenya, Egypt, South Africa, Morocco swept all the awards because they produce quality movies.
There is serious room for improvement in Nollywood because the movie industry is in a state of chaos. There is distribution problem and there is no money to make movie the way it should be.
And another problem is that people have run out of ideas. So, we are re-cycling old stories that have been done before. And for some, it is just pure business. So, there are lots of things to be addressed when it comes to Nollywood.
Some people outside there are out to make money. And this has caused serious deterioration in the quality of jobs being done. We have memorable films like Isakaba, Last Burial, Oracle, Owoblow, Thunderbolt. Films that made their landmarks even while they were in parts, yet still made sense.
This is a story with a beginning, and ending. But now, a simple story of Daniel got up, shot his friend in the leg, jumped over the fence and was arrested can be told from part one to four with absolute trash. Nollywood needs help. People need to be flushed out of the system.
Those who are supposed to be selling pepper at OshodiÂ market are the ones shooting films. So, it is now in a state of chaos. But those who have decided to improve and raise the bar and continue in the fight for positive change and do good films have been making progress and money.
For instance, Tunde Kelani, Tade Ogidan, MM Isong, Muyiwa Ademola, Funke Akindele, Doris and Daniel, DJ Tee, Clarence Peters etc are doing well. If we have more of good producers, the movie industry will be better.
But it is unfortunate that some people are not interested in following the footsteps of the good people, instead they have taken sycophants as role models.
And this is common amongst the up and coming artistes. We want the industry to be better. I have taken my time to learn from anybody who is extremely good, no matter, the age, size and volume. Iâ€™m always in love with excellent performance because I want to do better.
If we donâ€™t challenge ourselves with healthy competition like this, the industry will not grow. If someone says, he or she has nothing to do with the other person, then it is certain that the industry will not grow, and that is one of the greatest things that has been killing us in the industry.
Selfishness, greed, pride have been killing the industry but I know that in the nearest future, boys will be separated from the men.
You are a young couple. What would your fans expect from you in the next few years?
Iâ€™m assuring them that we are going to do all we can to develop the state of Nollywood. In the next 30 years, we will be used as a reference point when that begins to happen. I know that God is taking us there. Itâ€™s not just making money, living comfortably, driving big cars without making impact.
It is for us to leave our footprints in the sands of time. We are set to define a standard in the Nigerian movie industry and try to channel the course of the movie industry to business in Nigeria.
When your wife is not at home, what comes to your mind?
It depends on what you mean. Our profession is such that keeps both of us outside. When Iâ€™m busy, she is also busy. Itâ€™s only on rare occasions you can easily get through to me. When she is not at home, I sit down, watch television and sleep.
She goes in the morning, comes back at night. The truth is: Iâ€™m more engaged than her. But when she is not at home, nothing else comes to mind than missing her a lot.
Her sexy look…?
I met my wife on the job and she has been on the job long before I met her. And I have been doing the job a longtime ago. She is a professional to the core and I see no reason why I should be afraid because my wife is out there doing her job.
I love and trust my wife so much and that is our bond. If you love a woman, you have to lay off your fears. At least, I wonâ€™t kill myself because she is sexy. She has to do her job as much as I do mine. Iâ€™ve done movies where I kissed a woman.
Sheâ€™d also done movies where she kissed a man and I love her when she is doing her job. And it doesnâ€™t go beyond that. I have no fear, at least. My mind never wanders anywhere else. Having fears over her being sexy is like committing suicide.
I love my wife and she loves me. And my son is always meeting her. They areÂ chained together.
She is Edo. And you are?
People mistake me for a Yoruba man but Iâ€™m an Urhobo man from Ugheli North, Delta State. But the truth is that Iâ€™m not particular about any tribe. If God orders a Hausa lady on my way, I donâ€™t have any choice.
I met Doris Simeon on a set sometimes in 2005. I was the producer of that movie, â€œOmo Jayejaye.â€ She was extremely and totally different from others. I was keeping a close look on her calmness, cool headedness. But we didnâ€™t hit it up immediately because we were actually dating different people at that time.
Although, we were just friends at the beginning, I liked her because she had the same perception about the profession.
So, I took more interest in her, believing that she would be a good partner. Marrying a woman is not because of the physical attributes because there are several other beautiful ladies that are hopeless. But she is more calculated, understanding, relaxed and intelligent.
Is her dress sense appealing?
Her dressing is just a true reflection of how she is. She is too simple. Celebrities believe they must dress to show their nakedness. Some put on extravagant things just to look good. Some of them are â€œpancakemanicsâ€. Some put on provocative clothes in the public just in the name of celebrity.
Did she ever come home to tell you about men making passes at her?
She doesnâ€™t have to tell me. Iâ€™ve seen different cases. There are occasions when strangers call my wife at midnight saying â€œHey! Baby, you are sexy and I want to marry you. Forget aboutÂ your husband.â€ Even online chatting.
Those are the challenges one encounters for marrying a beautiful woman. So, if something like that happens to her, we laugh and joke over it becauseÂ it is the same way I encounter such problem. If a guy toasts her today, she comes back home and we discuss it.
If a girl sends a funny text to me, we read, we joke and we forget about it. That is the only reason why our marriage is being sustained.
The first time you told her that you love her, what was her reaction?
I didnâ€™t tell her I love her the first time I met her because we were on set then. We were friends. So, by the time I told her I love her, it was not a surprise. She just responded and said, â€œWell, Daniel, Iâ€™ve seen it. It was obvious.â€ So, the approach was just like stating the obvious. It was friendship that metamorphosed into marriage.
How do you react to her romantic roles?
I donâ€™t feel any different because I know she is doing her job. That she acts romantic roles does not spark up any jealousy in me. Iâ€™m not in the list of those who are worried about their wivesâ€™ jobs. People keep asking me how I cope with her beauty.
Even when we were premiering a movie at the Silverbird Cinema, â€œOmo Iya Kan,â€ some of the people were asking me how Iâ€™d been coping with her. But I know my wife. Itâ€™s work and it does not go beyond that.Â My kind of movie is to convince the viewers and if making the story real is to convince the audience, then let it be.
How would you describe her role at home?
She is a sweet mother. She is homely and she cooks very well. Recently, she learnt a type of soup fromÂ my mother. Itâ€™s called Owo and she is perfect at it. She is loving, caring, accommodating and carries her in-laws along. She loves spending time with my family members and they love her so much. She knows exactly what to say to her husband when something is wrong.
Even when there is an atomic bomb in your bedroom or inside your car, she knows what to tell you and that makes you feel there is no problem in the world again. And that gives you the option of either defusing the bomb or embracing the bomb blast with all smile.