Acclaimed Nollywood actor, Emeka Ike, has always shied away from glitz and glamour.
For him, there is more to life than being famous or wealthy.
At 54, he says he has paid his dues and is now more focused on changing the narrative and sanitising the industry that made him a star as a way of giving back.
He has featured in over 200 movies in the last 30 years, including Chico Ejiro’s 1995 hit, ‘Deadly Affair,’ which earned the charismatic actor superstar status. Although he often plays good-guy roles, he did shock fans by playing a really bad guy in a couple of films.
Older, wiser, and clearly more self-aware, the actor, who is currently based in Germany with his new wife and their child seems displeased with trends in his industry and the country at large.
He tells PREMIUM TIMES more in this interview.
PT: Your fans are curious. You haven’t featured in movies of late. Where have you been?
Emeka: Well, I got to a point where I felt that I have done enough for the industry. I had a school, St Nicholas College, Magodo, and other businesses before my ex-wife destroyed the school. It was one of the biggest schools in Lagos.
I started acting way back in 1997, even before there was an industry. You know, as a young guy who just finished school, then acting wasn’t as juicy as it is now and your parents would disown you because you are acting in movies.
Having worked hard for these many years, I came back to the industry to contribute to the growth in the industry.
PT: What’s your most memorable role as an actor?
Emeka: I don’t have a memorable role. Come on, I have played a lot of roles in several movies, from ‘Deadly Affairs’ where I played IK, with Sam Loco of blessed memory. Movies like ‘Jungle’, where I had to do a lot of research and watch television so I could perfectly bring to life the character. I’ve played a lot of really challenging roles in movies but I don’t think I have a memorable role.
PT: What changes have you noticed in the industry since your hiatus, especially with the advent of Netflix and other movie streaming platforms
Emeka: Netflix in Nigeria is not such a big deal. This is because they are ripping the content industry. Everybody is talking about Netflix, including Nigerians, who are happy even when they are being cheated. There is always an easy way out in Nigeria.
I am not happy that we don’t have laws to protect us, I’m not happy that we don’t have laws to protect our creative content, so we have practically benefited nothing from Netflix in Nigeria.
If they (Netflix) pick your movie, fine, it is between you and them. But there should be laws that ensure that every player in that movie on Netflix should get some form of residual income. There should be some deposit in the account for what they’ve done, is that in place now? If I ask you, you would say no. Is Netflix paying everybody in every Nigerian movie they showed, do they receive alerts ASAP?
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