Nollywood, despite its many faults, is a growing industry. It is indeed the world leader when it comes to the number of films been churned out on a daily basis. Go to Idumota on any given Monday morning and you will be shocked to hear the number of new films released into the market.
And what makes the industry tick is the actors who act in these movies. In the brief life of the industry (20 as some see it), many super stars have been made while many other have disappeared from the scene. Nigerian actors now live the life of their counterparts in Hollywood. They are ‘worshiped’ by their fans. They are treated like kings wherever they go. They get the best seats at any event; they don’t queue in banks or airports. The more popular you are, the more invincible you get.
In recent times though, a trend has been emerging which is changing the face of movie making. It has been noticed that the super stars these days actually do not appear in movies anymore. When last did you see Genevieve Nnaji, Ramsey Nouah, Omotola Jalade Ekinde in a new movie? Omotola for example only featured in her reality show this year and an appearance in a Hollywood production. Same goes for Genevieve; the only movie she featured in this year is Half of a Yellow Sun.
This is a far cry from what they used to do in just a few years back. It is not that there are fewer films or producers are not interested in featuring them, there are a lot of factors responsible for this and those who tend to lose are viewers who no longer get to see their favourite stars in movies.
The most prominent reason for this trend is the fees these actors demand. An average actor charges between N100, 000 and N250, 000, while superstars like Rita Dominic could get as much as a million naira per movie. A producer once complained that Genevieve was selected to feature in his film but he was shell shocked when he was told that he has to pay N5 million if Genevieve must be part of the film.
“How can I start haggling with such an amount,” the producer said.
Speaking about Genevieve and Omotola, popular filmmaker and producer, Obi Emelonye said that the two needs praises instead. He said that there are many bad film makers out there, and the actresses make sure that they only appear on good movies.
“Those ladies are on the top of the industry for a reason. They are talented, they are beautiful and they are in hot demand. But they are professionals and demand respect and command regard. If you show any of the endemic unprofessionalism in Nollywood in a project they are involved, they will call you to order. They respect their craft and take their work seriously; many producers and directors don’t like that. For me, I never had a minute problem with either of them because they value what we were doing together. I have nothing but praise and respect for them and all my cast and crew,” Emelonye said.
Some see the trend as good since it gives young emerging actors opportunity to become stars too. Since many of the top flight actors hardly feature in movies these days, you see the young ones coming in to fill the space. This year, most of the highest grossing films had fresh faces in them. Actors like Uti Nwachukwu, Chelsea Eze, Nkem Ikeh, Mimi Ojekwe and the likes are taking over.
Another reason is that most of these superstar actors are trying their hands with directing and production. Someone like Desmond Elliot has almost totally stopped acting. He now directs films for his colleagues. Even Rita Dominic also directs movies. This year, along with her partner, Mildred Okwo, she directed and produced The Meeting. The film has won many awards and received many nominations.