Femi Adebayo, son of legendary actor popularly known as Oga Bello has gone from living under the shadow of his father to create a niche for himself in the Yoruba movie industry.
The star of Jelili fame in this interview speaks of his father’s influence in his life, his career, his experience with female fans and lots more:
By Anu Tella
How has your dad influenced your choice of acting as a career?
Well, the question of my dad influencing my acting career could have a ‘no’ and a ‘yes’ answer. A ‘yes’ in the sense that when I was very young I watched his movies a lot and liked them.
At a point I had a feeling I would do what he is doing when I become a man. But along the line I fell in love with law and decided to become a lawyer. My dad never directly influenced any choice I made. Whatever my choices are in life, he is always there to give me his utmost support. When I decided to study law he was with me all the way and when I chose acting he didn’t object either.
How do you separate your emotions from the roles you play?
That’s where your professionalism comes in; apart from the fact that I had the talent I also learned acting as a craft. I believe having a talent is one and learning the rudiments of the profession is another. Acting is all make-believe and for you to make your act believable you must get into the character and believe you are actually the role you are playing. Now, if you want me to be the lover of an actress I have never even met before, as a professional actor it is easy for me, because all I have to do is get into the character of her lover. After doing all that I need to do I’ll drop that character after the film. Separating your emotion from acting is based on professionalism of course, because I’m a professional actor I find it easy to do.
Does your wife complain about your love and romantic roles?
In as much as she doesn’t complain about my job, there is a level of tolerance any woman can manage. Every woman has her threshold of tolerance. I am lucky I have a wife who understands my job but I try as much as possible not to overstep my boundaries when it comes to the opposite sex.
What is the craziest thing a fan has done to you?
(Laughs) Ah, she jumped on me, kissed me and told me that she had promised herself that whenever she sees me she was going to do that to me. Fortunately, I was with my wife that day and I told her I was sorry and she said it was okay. It’s one of those anxious moments of our job. Before the fan left she apologised to me and to my wife
Can you act a gay role?
Why not? I can play any role given to me. I don’t have restrictions, as a good actor I must be able to interpret any script given to me. After all it is make-believe, it has nothing to do with who you really are. For an instance, I am a Muslim but I have had to play the role of a pastor many times over.
You don’t act English movies, why?
That is not true; I’ve done a couple of English movies. For an instance, I was in Lady’s Men. But I do more of Yoruba because I’m a promoter of culture. I love Yoruba culture.
Describe Your most embarrassing moment.
The one I mentioned initially. A fan kissed me in public while my wife was right beside me.
If you were not an actor what would you be doing?
I would have been in the law court.
Judging from how far you have gone in the industry, would you say you are at the right level?
Yes. But there is room for progress. This was not the position I was four to five years ago. Now I’m a producer
and I’m still working hard.
What would you say acting has done for you?
Acting has made me great.
Is there anything you are working on now?
I’m working on two projects right now; one is Alade Owala, to showcase reasons behind tribal marks. I did a little bit of research on it. That is coming out very soon. I also did a little project on Crime. Those are the projects I’m working on for now.
My acting school is also there. It is a school of performing art, dance drama, makeup and all that. The school is six years old now. We work on upcoming actors .That’s my little quarter to the society and I also have a charitable foundation. That is our way of giving back to the society what they have given to us. Collecting from the society to help the less-privileged .
Do you see yourself going into politics?
Well,my acting career is God’s calling so if God tells me to go into that too, I will.
What if you are given a role to be your dad’s boss, how would you do that?
That has happened severally. At that point he’s not my dad, we are in characters and we should play the characters to perfection.. We have to be professional. I don’t even need to apologise.