There is nothing like new Nollywood —Bimbo Akintola
For Nollywood actress, Bimbo Akintola, her job comes before any other thing and with over a decade experience in the movie industry, her love and understanding of her career has earned her a handful of accolades within and outside the country. Her role in the yet-to-be released Ebola movie, 93 Days, wormed her even further into the minds of many people even as she revealed that the movie remains the toughest of her jobs. She speaks with SEGUN ADEBAYO in this interactive session.
Bimbo Akintola has remained a recurring factor in the movie industry and you have remained relevant even after these years, how do you feel to have come this far?
I feel grateful and I actually feel proud that I am doing what I am most passionate about. I cannot imagine a time when I felt I couldn’t do this for whatever reasons. If you ask me how I have stayed long on this job, I will tell you I don’t have any secret. I just do my job to the best of my ability.
Now that what is believed to be the new Nollywood is fast emerging, where exactly do you belong in this new movement?
I don’t see any movement. I see myself as I have always seen myself. I see myself as an actor, who believes strongly in the message she preaches. I believe in the message I am preaching through any story that I am re-enacting.
What exactly do you make out of the development and transformation that has enveloped the movie industry in the last few years?
The only thing that is constant in life is change. There was no doubt that the industry would evolve. It is obvious that the change we see around now has been more positive than negative, better technical work, more independent producers, and better quality in our films. That is what we should be looking at and that is the positive I am seeing about Nollywood.
Which do you belong to, the new or old Nollywood?
As far as I am concerned, Nollywood is Nollywood.
How easy was it for you to pick up from where you stopped when you made your come back and what took you away before then?
The truth of it all is that I work when I’m excited about the story I am reading. Beyond that, our films are not just meant for entertainment but also information and education. For me, it is always a matter of finding the right stories I wanted to tell. Whether in the Yoruba or English language movies, when the story is right, I will be willing to be part of the job. Any script that tells an important story is what I look out for, no matter what language it is.
What is that thing that has kept you on this job for years?
As I always tell people that I have no special strategy. I’m just grateful that I can tell stories and hopefully affect one life.
How did you manage to find your way into acting and what was the first attraction for you?
I got my first television job with Lola Fani Kayode. It was a series named ‘Family Ties’. Acting is what I love doing the most. So I went to the University of Ibadan and studied Theatre Arts.
You starred in the movie, ‘93 Days’ recently and you seem to have wormed your way back into the minds of many people, how challenging was the role?
The movie ‘93 days’ was a huge challenge for me. It’s not a make-believe story but it is more about real people and real events. It was most important that my portrayal of Dr Stella Adadevoh be as true to her as possible. I had to play the role as though she was the one in the movie. I listened to everyone that had something to tell me about her. With every story, I met this amazing woman who sacrificed so much for us. She was a true heroine. It was an amazing honour to be her for a short while. I feel very proud to have played that role.
What was the first thing you considered when you were approached with the job?
I think the first thing I thought about was how important it is for us to tell our own stories. After reading the script, I was moved beyond words by the heroic act of the doctors at First Consultants Hospital. What they did was amazing and beyond what we could really explain.
So money was never a factor?
The truth is that money is important but telling this amazing story and recording a significant part of our history was more important to me than any other thing the job could have offered me.
Would you consider it as one of the toughest jobs you have ever done?
It remains the toughest for me, definitely. It was important to tell the story and tell it right. It was a time in the history of Nigeria, when everything was done right and with such cooperation. It was not the usual negative story in the foreign press. It was also most important to honour the heroes of that period, especially those who lost their lives. So, the job remains the toughest for me.
What next project are you working on?
I’m looking forward to the release of Coma, a film produced by Fabian Olojede. I bet many people would love it when it is released.
You are one woman who has hands in different pies, how do you juggle all that you are involved in without any hitch?
I am focused, no matter what it is I’m working on. I always want to put my all in any project I am involved in.