I can’t act in just any film again – Kanayo

6 years ago

Popular actor, Kanayo .O. Kanayo, tells JAYNE AUGOYE his current disposition to Nollywood

For over two decades, Nollywood actor, Kanayo. O.Kanayo, was a constant feature in the Nigeria film industry. However, like some of his colleagues, the actor, whose real name is Anayo Onyekwere, now chooses the movie roles that he plays.

Once upon a time, his face adorned major movie posters, irrespective of the class of actors on set or the pedigree of the producer. Today, the 52-year-old actor, who was paid a paltry N1,500 for his role in one of Nollywood’s pioneer movies, Living in Bondage, in 1992, now talks tough.

He tells our correspondent that having paid his dues in the industry, he will no longer be settling for anything paltry.

He says, “I have been deliberately careful and selective of the kind of roles I play in Nollywood films, these days. That is why I have not been regular in many of these new films. Going by the quality of the production that went into Kunle Afolayan’s yet-to-be-released, October 1 movie and the budget, you will realise that that we need to work on big budget movies.

“We need to think big about our stories. I am not saying that every story must be like October 1, but the fact is that they should come close, After starring in a huge budget movie, why will I go and act in a movie that does not have a good storyline and social relevance? The truth is that I can no longer act in just any movie and for just anyone.”

The actor says he is not in a hurry to delve into filmmaking, despite his achievements and exploits in Nollywood. In fact, he describes the current trend of delving into movie production as a kind of ‘status symbol.’

“We are all involved in movie making, whether as an actor or producer. But it depends on the angle or story you have focused on. I am a career actor and movie production is not a status symbol in my own opinion.

“If I end up directing movies later, I could go to college and get educated in that area. But the fact is I don’t belong to that group of Nigerians who tell you – and show off to others – that they are actors, directors or producers at the same time. I don’t belong to that school,” he says.

A few years ago, news of Kanayo’s political appointment filtered into the media. The actor, who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and a Masters Degree in Political Science from the University of Lagos and was at first not willing to talk about it, finally opens up to our correspondent .

He says, “I am the Chairman of the Federal Board National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism. The mandate of my agency is to provide training and manpower for the tourism and hospitality sector of the Nigerian economy.

“I am doing a lot and it may not rub off immediately. We need to encourage indigenous tourism and not always see tourism as relating to only international travels. We should make Nigerians understand it will benefit our economy at all times.”

Surprisingly the Imo-State-born actor, who was reportedly involved in an altercation with another Nollywood actor over the leadership of the Actors’ Guild of Nigeria a few years ago, declines to comment on the body.

“I am not a member of AGN and I don’t have to be a member of the guild to be a successful actor. I won’t comment on it. It will amount to a disservice to the Guild if I do. So, for now, it is either that I am not impressed with what is happening or I have decided to ignore it,” he says.

Before he hit the limelight as a Nollywood actor, KOK, as he is popularly known, played many roles in the popular series New Masquerade, alongside seasoned actors like Chika Okpala, James Iroha and Claudius Eke.


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