Nollywood famed actor, Ayo Badmus, wo hit it big via such widely-accepted home flicks, ‘The Narrow Path’, ‘’, and others, had a brief chat with Global Excellence magazine’s ADENIYI ADEYINKA where he talked about his acting life, personal status and the Nigerian movie industry’s progress. Read on…
Please introduce yourself briefly.
My name is Ayo Badmus, a Nollywood actor.
Would you like to tell us about the present state of your acting career?
My acting career stopped for six years, when I say stopped, it doesn’t mean that I wasn’t doing one or two things; I did one or two films that came. I am back now.
Please, share the challenges you’ve had to face while struggling to attain stardom.
There are so many challenges even till now. Every stage of life is challenging; we go through it every time. I won’t be able to name them. But in all, I give God the glory.
Who are those that you can call mentors in the industry?
I came across a lot of people, young and old. As I started, I met Shola Sobowale and others and from the so-called English side, I met Fidelis Duker. I acted with Oga Bello, and that gave me a start; and of course I was with the Ogogo Caucus, Yinka Quadri Cucus, which gave me another move; it gave me a foundation. I later met Mainframe boss, Tunde Kelani. I acted in three of his films and I played the leading role in two.
What are those qualities that you think an aspiring actor must have to succeed in the business?
First and foremost, you have to have the passion and you have to follow the passion because anything can happen along the line. The passion that you have will lead you on, so if you don’t have passion, you will fall by the way. If any obstacle arises, you will want to walk away because you don’t have passion for it. Acting is not that easy but when you get there it may be easy. And working with directors can be very difficult. As an actor, you must have the ability to remember your lines. It’s a challenge too, some films are more difficult and some roles can be very tough.
How many movies have you featured in and how many have you produced?
I have lost count because I have done so many films.
Of all the movies that you had been featured in, which one threw you to the limelight and can you name those ones you feel are the best among them in terms of your own performance and their quality?
When we come to films that are Yoruba language, I would say the first film I shot was with Shola Shobowale and before I knew it, I became a celebrity. The second film also made me more popular and everywhere people saw me they would mention the films I was in and said they liked them. So I don’t really know which one, of cause I can say the one I shot with Tunde Kelani took me all over the world. I won awards in South Africa, England, US. The title of the film is ‘Abeni 1&2’.
Women mostly in your profession do complain of being sexually harassed. Is it only women; do men also experience it, have you ever been sexually harassed?
It is not only women that are sexually harassed, men too. Yes, I have been sexually harassed many times, and the harassments were from women. (general laughter).
Do you have favourite actors and actresses in both the English and Yoruba genres of Nollywood?
They are many, I will just mention few. Everybody is doing something positive, and if I’m to mention from Yoruba speaking genres I would start with Jide Kosoko, and I will go back to Eda Onileola, Baba Wande, Ade Love who is no more. Let me now come back to the present; Yemi Solade, Funsho Adeolu, Yomi Fashlanso, Muyiwa Ademola and we have another young man, Odunlade Adekola, I can go on and on, they are all my favourites. From the English speaking genres I will start from Sam Loco Efe, he was very natural. This is where I have problems with acting because very few are natural because of the language.
Despite your efficiency, you are not featured in English movies, why?
English films, yes. Well, let me start by asking you to watch Ghana films; the expression is different, watch South Africa soaps, they blend between African and English; you will see the flair, you will see the skills of actors. But come to Nigeria, watch our so called English films; you find that everything is the same way, the same procedure. I like some of them but majority are stereotyped. I hope I would not be misquoted on this. Anyway, that is the way I feel. I don’t really go to the so called English films because I find many of them too fake in plot.
What’s your candid view of the present state of Nollywood and what do you think is lacking that needed to make it more acceptable?
Everything in life goes through time, stage by stage, things don’t happen all of a sudden. In Nigeria, the industry is going through the process and we are doing fine.
Tell us about your memorable moments in acting.
I think it was when we were shooting Abeni in Cotonou. We were on the streets shooting and I noticed a cameraman, a French man, he was always looking at me when I was on set. After one of the shoots I went to the sitting room and the guy later came to me and said ‘you are better than other actors’. I said how can you say that? And he said he saw me on set that way and that my acting was natural. I was like, wow! His statement actually encouraged me the more.
Some fans say you are good at acting the bad guy in movie than playing other roles; is that correct?
It is not correct. Like I said earlier, Nigerian directors do stereotype actors; they just put you in one role and that is it. This is more common in the English speaking than the Yoruba speaking Nollywood. So, directors are to be blamed for that.
What are you favourite car brand, food, music, colour, jewelry, shoes and designer wears?
I like gold but I have stopped now. I wear silver now; white gold. I love to look nice and simple, I love sport cars because they move faster. My favorite food is Amala with gbegiri and Ogufe. I like all music. My favourite colour is white.
Share one moment of embarrassment from a fan that you once experienced, if any.
A lady one day was waving at me from across the road. Like a gentleman, I crossed the road to return her greeting, only for her to retort that I was not the one she was waving at. I felt like collapsing right there. The same thing happened to me two times.