Nollywood Actor, Tony Umez Opens on Why Quality of Actors Has Dropped Today
It is no secret that the Nigerian movie industry popularly known as Nollywood has experienced quite a huge shift over the years. Starting off with an industry that wasn’t often reckoned with, it has quickly become one of the most sought after industries that many young people want to go into. One actor that has been here since the early days of the movie industry is actor Tony Umez who has been in the industry for about 30 years.
During a new sit-down interview Tony did was Ebuka Obi-Uchendu for Channels Television’s Rubbin’ Minds, the renowned thespian opened up about a number of things including why he got into acting, his early experiences in the industry especially as pertains to money, and how different things are today. Tony had a lot to say so without further ado, here are some of the biggest highlights from the interview.
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Speaking about why he entered into the industry and when he finally started seeing money, Tony Umez said:
Money is what got me into acting in the first place. The model I had in my head then was the Hollywood model where you hear somebody made about $20 million dollars doing one movie and I was like “Whoa!”, it was wonderful to me, there was serious potential. Then I entered into Nollywood and my first movie, I played the lead in my very first movie. I played Chief Ikanga and I was to be paid N23,000 but up till tomorrow, I’ve not been paid. So my reason for venturing into the movie thing, I didn’t get it. I did one other movie, I don’t think I was paid too. So I felt it wasn’t an industry I would survive in so I left for about two years. I was doing private tutoring, I was making some money from that that kept me going. After about 2 years I came back and did the movie The Princess where I starred alongside Zack Orji before I hit it big with Divergent and they paid me for that one.
Speaking on how far Nollywood has come so far, Tony Umez said:
I am impressed with how far Nollywood has come. We can do better but right now the way it is, we have done really well. Seriously we have done really well. And of course technology has come into play so things are much better. Then, it was gritty, it was grueling, it was hard work.
Speaking on the perceived dip in the quality of talent, Tony Umez said:
Yes (the quality of talent has dipped) because then, you had to know your onions. I’m not saying there aren’t wonderful actors now, I’m not saying that. But I’m just saying that the toil isn’t there anymore. The passion that drives you to be better isn’t there anymore. It’s showbiz. We now focus more on the business part of the show so it’s a little different. Now it’s just be on set, be lucky enough to be on set and technology will do the rest for you.
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