Ace actor Mike Ezuruonye was one of the high profile guests at the recent opening of Iyabo Ojo’s ‘Abula Spot’ eatry in Lekki. Showtime Celebrity caught up with him. He spoke on a wide range of issues affecting Nollywood, but reminds whoever cares to listen that he has grown beyond Nollywood.
By DESMOND EKWUEME
We learnt that you are coming out with a new film soon, can you give your fans an idea of what to expect?
Work is still in progress. It will amount to giving my fans what we refer to in local parlance as half chop. I will rather appeal to them to exercise more patience, so that they can enjoy the meal once we are ready. I can only assure them that, it is a brilliant movie with a loaded cast and by the grace of God it’s gonna be a bomb.
Loaded cast! So who and who make up this loaded cast?
We have Odunlade Adekola, Mercy Aigbe, Nedu of Wazobia, Ike Ogbonna, Hadizah Gabon and so. I can’t remember all the big names now but truly, it is loaded. Trust me.
Interestingly, we also hear you are going into politics, how true is this?
Well, I can only say that politics is knocking on my door. By this I mean that I have been approached several times by top political, personalities requesting that I join the groove but in my usual style, I like taking things one after another. I have a lot that I’m doing at the moment in the movie industry but surely with time, one can look at other areas of life.
Are you saying, you will give politics a deep and positive consideration soonest, remember 2019 is just around the corner?
May be you are speaking for me or do I say you are speaking my mind? But truth is the pressure is high and huge enough to make anyone want to step into the ring sooner than expected. But let’s see how things pan out. In life you never can say no or never to some things. But I doubt if it will be in 2019.
Already your colleagues like Yul Edochie and Desmond Elliott among others are into politics. Aren’t they going to motivate you to delve into politics sooner than you think?
The personalities you have just mentioned incidentally are my very close pals both within and outside Nollywood. I respect them so much but we must understand that no man works with the time of another. They prepared for it before getting in. I have to take my time. Of course you know we are not from the same state of origin, therefore, some things have to vary and must be put in clear perspective. I mean that what worked for them may not work for me. So I need to step in when I think I’m fully prepared for it.
Critics say some of your colleagues in Nollywood are not very comfortable hence they try out other things like music and politics among others to make ends meet. Could this be the reason you are looking at politics?
Let me quickly say that I am being asked to join politics by top personalities and politicians who feel I have the image, character and ability. Again, I think we have to clear the air here, I have not made up my mind yet to venture into politics because there are a lot to be considered. Don’t forget that I have a growing career, which is in the movie industry. I am not in a hurry to do things. In fact, all my life, I have never been in a hurry to do anything. I take my time, look at the variables, pros and cons before taking a decision.
Concerning those who you think take to music or politics, I must remind you that even the country is diversifying the economy and trying to look into agriculture and technology instead of relying hundred percent on oil which has failed us.
So, if any of my colleagues ventures into music or politics, it does not suggest that he or she is broke or bankrupt or he or she is not comfortable. Again, we must appreciate that man, by nature, is gregarious. He keeps trying new things and trying to acquire. If you have talent in music or you are a gifted politician that doesn’t stop you from following your passion in other areas of life. Take for instance, my big brother and colleague, Richard Mofe Damijo. He is an actor, a lawyer and an administrator. You can even call him a politician. He has excelled in these various fields. He is a shinning example of a man of many parts. So, it is not fair to say that my colleagues who go into music or politics do so because they are not conformable. Far from it.
How comfortable is Mike Ezuronye?
It may interest you to know that I am from a very comfortable family. In all modesty, I am from a decent family. I thank God for the family I come from. Before going into the movie industry, I was looking at other areas like law, banking and so. In other words, I had a solid background. I have never been uncomfortable all my life. I must thank God for this. I am still comfortable and happy with myself, family and career. Comfort for me is not just about wealth or affluence anyway. You can have all the cash in this world yet, very unhappy.
Is it true that you got into acting by chance?
Yes, it is true. Life presents you a chance, it is up to to you to take it and handle it successfully. My good friend and colleague, Dayo Amusa introduced me to acting. She felt I had all it takes to be a good actor and kept pushing me till I decided to give it a try. I am happy that today she (Dayo) is still my friend. I am happy she is still excelling. I am happy that I didn’t make a wrong decision. I am happy my family is supportive and also happy with me. I am happy to be an actor.
Your looks, performance and experience have made you one of the most sought after actors in the country. How much do you charge to be on set?
You may need to see my manager or lawyer to answer your question. But seriously, there is what I call industrial rate depending on some factors like the kind of movie, your role, the quality of casts, the location and of course the class of the actor. These form part of your rating and what you get per movie. Again, the bargaining power of the actor could determine.
How big is Mike Ezuronye in Nollywood?
I sincerely think, some of us have grown beyond Nollywood. In all modesty, I have gone beyond Nollywood. It may surprise you to hear this but it is the reality. When you shoot movies abroad with hi-tech equipment and with top foreign actors in a globally appreciated movie then, you begin to look beyond Nollywood. I must say I appreciate God for this.
How do you handle advances by your female fans?
I thought you should have asked if, there are advances at all before concluding and asking me how I handle them. Anyway, as a professional, your fans are meant to be seen as part of you. So it is expected that you treat them fine and nice. In treating them so, you should be able to politely remind them that the actor they admire or dislike is a different person from the person they see outside the movie. Once you are able to create that and register it in their minds then, you shouldn’t have any problem whatsoever.
Who is your biggest rival in Nollywood?
None. Nobody. I do my stuff and my colleagues do their stuffs. We encourage ourselves.
What is the motivation in doing your job?
I will say God. He gives the passion to whoever he chooses. The passion is what we pursue not money. It is when you are happy doing what you are passionate about that, you beginning to excel. The goodwill follows and then, the comfort. So for me, God is my motivation.