Demola Adedoyin stepped on the movie scene like he was stepping on his own bespoke terrazzo and brass star on the Walk of Fame. It may have been his debut, but he wears the insignia of great acting with his lead role in October 1 so gorgeously he could get an easy nod to the VIP section of life without a fuss. Demola appears to be a secret we are yet to define. With ears pinned to the wall, we want to know more about the new entrant into Nollywood. Good looks, a charming smirk, great talent and class so original it should get a NAFDAC number. We are chuffed to have him on the spotlight…
How empowering was the idea of being a lead act in one of the best and most anticipated movies in Nigeria?
Empowering is a great way to look at it because it connotes a high level of trust. Kunle Afolayan had only seen me in a short film shot in the UK and must have trusted me to deliver. The stakes were high; limited time and a big budget by Nigerian standards. He was trying to make a statement, not a ‘pop’ movie and there wasn’t time for a learning curve. Being in a closed set environment enhanced concentration and confidence in me and allowed me to build the intensity required.
How would you describe your confidence walking into this set, and knowing it might just be the biggest break you could possibly get as an actor?
I decided not to think on a ‘career’ level. After negotiations and agreements, such thoughts are muted. On set it’s all about who is this character you were given and how is he different from or similar to you? What’s his voice depth, how does he move and think? What is his confidence level? My own confidence has to become totally non-wavering for me to deliver my character’s confidence properly. Having said that I am aware of the fact that being in this film will open up the floodgates for me as an actor and filmmaker.
What has been most overwhelming so far?
I wouldn’t say overwhelming but I’ve been heavily challenged at certain points. I was very challenged by the calibre of actors I had to work with on October 1 but it was good because it made me work harder. Kunle supported me by tempering the emotions I was starting to absorb, sometimes physically restraining me as he found me fast and wild at first. Then it stabilised. After we wrapped the movie it felt like I was pulled out of an alternative world and my beard made an aggressive comeback. I did bring back some of the tension with me from this set I was psychologically raw for a while. Another thing that hit me hard was the response to the film all through our screening campaign up to the Premiere. I was a bit surprised at the positive impact it had, even though Kunle Afolayan confidently predicted the effect would be just that- amazing.
Playing the role as a villain, how much guilt did you have to bear recognizing that men of this sort really exist?
My character is not really the type of guy that feels guilt. This came through in the work because there were times when people who had to play victims in scenes with me asked me to pull back. I don’t really believe in ‘acting’ per se. I need to get as close as I can to ‘Being’ the character. Men like this character are doomed. Their names may live long but they hardly do, and those who bear their legacy must bear the consequences. They leave nothing behind but sour hearts. In my real life, I’m thankful to God I have no such desires and will never have to feel that guilt in reality.
If any rumours were to start about you, which would you be comfortable with?
People give rumours power by defending themselves against them and I know that rumours are a way the bored and the obsessed try to communicate. Rumour mongers are attention junkies in fact. I will only fight back against such if it affects people dear to me.
You have stepped on a huge platform, where do you have your eyes set on at the moment?
I just choose to join those who will raise the standards of audio-visuals and communications in this country. I have a production company called Yin Media, which provides a wide range of multimedia production services including websites, adverts and internet marketing campaigns up till now. As I venture further into films, we are narrowing down services to focus on audio-visuals including Feature Films, Documentaries and advertising. The flexibility of the latest technology allows us to also offer promotional photography, music videos and other related services. As an actor, education and research are like life support systems. It will not end till you end. Who knows, it may even continue afterwards.
This clearly introduces you to the red-carpet life, how much of fashion do you care about?
I quite like fashion. You know, even the people that aren’t interested in fashion are affected by it because they will form an opinion of someone based on how they present themselves. We all do it subconsciously. So in a way, we are fashion conscious by default. Of course as an artistic person my whole life revolves around forms, colours and dimensions anyway. I just like to wear what fits me well for any occasion.
Which movie do you love going back to?
Forrest Gump. He was an amazing creation. Here’s a guy who seems devoid of intelligence, which had the side effect of his ego and fear being muted. He ended up having this amazing life based on the fact that he was in love and he wanted to help his friends, and he had almost zero fear of failure. He used the skills he learnt almost without thinking about what could go wrong. He seized almost every opportunity that came his way and just said yes and no as he went along. Amazing possibility. The movie was also technically brilliant, shot with some of the best film tech available at the time, with beautiful sweeping shots and a big budget.
Any words that constantly keep you going?
‘Look to the ant, thou sluggard/which having no guide, overseer, or ruler/provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.’- Proverbs 6: 6-8
It just basically reminds me to get off my ass.
What hesitations do you bear as you walk into celebrity-dom?
I only have a hopeful outlook. My life has taken so many unexpected turns now that I’m just going to ‘Forrest Gump’ it the rest of the way. I’ve worked in Banking, PR, Marketing, got into music and ended up playing a lead role in an important film. Anything is officially possible. I know there will be setbacks and rumours along the way but the work and my family and friends will take top priority.
Who are you looking forward to working with in Nigeria?
The list is so long I don’t think I could scratch the surface. I could mention a few creative people who inspire though. In acting, OC Ukeje displays an impressive subtlety and versatility. Joseph Benjamin and Tope Tedela’s names ring out to me too. I want to be directed by Tunde Kelani, and also Eric Aghimien. Eric is a remarkably gentle soul for someone with such forceful material. As for the ladies, I’ve been able to work with Omotola Jalade Ekeinde (on the Island TV show, which resumes final shooting in early November) who I immediately wanted to work with after seeing ‘Ije’. She and Genevieve did excellently. Rita Dominic also seems very versatile and Ivie Okujaye seems very transformable to me. Plus they are all very attractive. Musically if I can get Don Jazzy locked, I could really produce something I feel would even surprise myself. On the film production side, Yinka Edwards creates amazing moving images and having worked with him on October 1 I can say he is a great and visionary collaborator.
Interview: Joy Isi Bewaji
Demola will be performing poetry this Saturday at #MyLagosStory event organized by www.ifooafrica.com