Chiwetalu Agu, one of Nigeria’s most prolific and versatile actor, in an interview with Vanguard, revealed a thing or two about himself. Speaking with a correspondent of the newspaper, he revealed how he gets his catchy slangs, what acting as a bad person in movies did to him and his family and his personal life. Below is an excerpt of the chat he had with Vanguard.
When asked about his catchy slangs, he said;
“There was a time I thought that writers have not done enough justice to the screen plays. Information, education and entertainment are the three key elements one must apply in writing. Entertainment for instance, is lacking in most of our scripts, so the idea was to create specific language slang, phrases, cliches, bylines and cash point to entertain people. Chinwetalu Agu If you recall when we produced “Tabo”, the movie was supposed to be full of sorrows: dealing with the Osu cast system in Igboland. Imagine in the Holy Book, where God made us all equal before Him, and man decided to segregate between what he calls ‘ the son of the soil, and a slavery( a living sacrifice to the gods).’Therefore, I decided to create a comic relief to calm down a situation. Even if you are watching a tragic movie, you would have cause to laugh. That was why I introduced the slang in the 90s, and today, everybody is happy for it. The elderly people now use those bylines to be happy, when watching my movies.“
When asked if the slangs are added in his scripts, he said;
“No script writer has ever written my cliches or bylines. Until tomorrow, nobody can do it. It’s either I asked the script writer, producer or director what the storyline is all about, from which I would create something based on what you have relayed to me or I would pick from my encyclopedia. I have over one thousand unused signature tunes.
Even if I have over one thousand scripts, I will see where to put one or two ‘slangs’ to spice up the story. On the spot, I would create something. While on any set, I always asked the director or producer to give me the summary of the story so that I can create something that would fit into it. All my movies are sold out because of this signature. Executive producers and directors today insist that I must put it in any movie I’m featuring in. In fact, it’s the major reasons today that I am getting more roles in movies. This is not common among other actors. Many actors are not creative. They just go on set to act what is in the script without spicing it up. There must be extra home work if you want to be different. The crowd does not pay anybody; when they count you, they count others. But when they single you out before counting others it’s a very big advantage. That’s the edge you have over every other actor. I create the inspiration from my encyclopedia. It comes in many ways, but also, it must be there in every movie. I have done about 950 productions since 1981 till date. I doubt if any actor in Africa as well as the world over has such a record. I have been consistent in my acting career since 1981 and I’m not getting tired. Today, I have the highest awards in Africa about 57 awards and it’s still counting. The second person has not received up to 20 awards.”
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