By BENJAMIN NJOKU
Startling facts have emerged concerning how the age-long feud between actress Genevieve Nnaji and Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde played out during the production of Chineze Anyaene’s multiple award winning movie, “Ïje: The Journey.”
The silent rivalry, HVP gathered nearly ruined the production of the big budget movie.
The movie which ruled the Nigerian box office, grossing over N47 million from six cinemas across the country two years ago starred the two A-list actresses amongst other Nollywood stars.
Sources close to the producer told HVP that, while the movie was being shot in Los-Angeles, it was a running battle to get the two heavy-weight actresses to work as a team.
In fact, according to our sources, except for the ceaseless intervention of the cast and crew of the production, none of the two actresses was ready to play a second fiddle to each other.
“At a point, we stopped shooting because they wouldn’t submit to each other. Chineze had a tough time trying to appeal to them to show understanding by returning to the set. Omotola wouldn’t want to play supporting role to Genevieve. And that was the battle we faced during the production of the movie.” our sources hinted.
In the movie however, Genevieve played the role of Chioma, the lead character, while Omotola played that of Anya, her sister.
Indeed, before starring in the movie, Omotola and Geneveive were known to be engaged in a cold war, resulting from the so called “insults” traded through the media and an alleged battle to be Nigeria’s Number one sex symbol.
In one of her interviews, Chineze was quick to explain how she got the two actresses to star in the movie.“ I met Omotola first in Lagos; she had read the script and liked it. I also went to England and met with Genevieve Nnaji. I also had Zeb Ejiro, the consulting producer, step in as well as a mediator,” she said.
Our sources went further to reveal that despite the record the blockbuster created in the nation’s box office, grossing over N47, the windfall did not reflect on the producer’s pocket. The cinema houses were said to have taken the lion’s shares of the accruing profits made from the cinema run of the movie.
It would be recalled that druring the first month of the movie’s premiere in July 30, 2010, at Silverbird Cinemas, the blockbuster grossed over N25 million, beating the record set by Stephanie Okereke’s “Through the Glass”, which grossed only N10 million, during the first-three weeks of its premiere at the same venue few years ago.