Francis Duru: I love trends but don’t allow them to define me

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Francis Duru: I love trends but don’t allow them to define me

Since 1989 when award-winning actor, Francis Duru made his first debut with ‘Missing Mask,’ and became a household name in 1994 with the blockbuster flick, ‘Rattle Snake,’ it has been a roller coaster for him in tinsel town.

With over 200 movies and still counting, Duru, a recipient of the United Nations Ambassador of Peace award has continued to be relevant and in demand – a feat many of his peers could hardly achieve.

In this chat with SAM ANOKAM Duru who has starred in such movies as Persecution, Rhythm of Love, Warriors of Satan, Laviva, Entanglement, One On One, Great Ambassadors, House In Crisis, Bless My Soul, Worst Enemy, Gods of No Mercy, Final War, among many others, speaks about his scandal free life, career and other relevant issues.

What is the secret of your forever young ‘boyish’ look?

First and foremost, I did not make me. I don’t know what to say but grace leads me. What I eat come up but I think it is a process. Nothing too extraordinary.

Over the years you have remained relevant despite the constant evolution in Nollywood?

I think it has to do with one, I would still speak grace. I think my beginning has been very instrumental to my building virtues in different aspects of the industry that has been able to sustain.

My amateur days, my days in the university will always speak volume to where I am which is the sustaining factor. I dug deep. My foundation was deep. My roots spread artistically. I do so many things. I am a pure creative native. I did not stumble into anything. I am not a happenstance. I understand the dynamics of what I do. I can teach it. I can relate with it. I can discuss with it. It is all about the power of what you know, defining your purpose, it is all about the power of knowing why you are where you are and knowing what you have within you to spread and express yourself. Art is big. It is not just about acting or costuming, it is just not about theatres or movies, it is all about the world we find ourselves in each time we step into that world one way or the other we get to have pieces of knowledge about these things and as you move on deliberately contemplating on these things, they begin to take you to different spheres of life.

We have always known you as an actor, have you ever produced a movie?

We have done that severally. I was a foundation member of Directors guild of Nigeria (DGN) but just that my greatest challenge with myself is that I am not the loud type. I am not the one who wants the world to know everything I do. I believe my work speaks for itself and those things have deprived one of how come we do not know but those who know, know. Those who understands my persona will always tell you he does this he does that. Secondly, I try not to overstretch it because it has become a title thing rather than the responsibility. People produce because I am now a producer. It does not stop anything. There is no rule that says as an actor you must grow to become a producer or a director but if you understand your dynamics and the dynamics of the industry, if you have stood in front of the camera and have up to like 150 directors  direct you, you are a directing book. Your experience alone is enough to practice. If you have done more than 150 productions, that experience cumulatively is enough for you to produce. I see these things as a matter of choice and passion.

Ever since you started getting three decades, you have managed somehow to stay off scandals?

I still speak to grace because nothing in life is perfect. I am not a perfect guy, I make mistakes. I have been married for sometime, it is not as if my marriage has not have hitches domestics but not as big as it may be but I will tell you that I am happily married to the best woman in the world, three wonderful children and I have the essence. Now it speaks to one thing – foundation. Foundations is paramount. What are the things I give attention to? Do I give attention to the shine? Do I give attention to the things that makes me first and foremost an individual? If I stop acting today, do I have what it takes to make me stand strong as an individual?  I love trend but I do not allow trend define me.  It is a matter of choice. I know what I want. I know my destination. I know what my journey entails. I can identify my bus stops within the course to my destination. I chose the things I do. It is a matter of choice and total control of who I am. It is a total control of the artiste in me. What defines my life are not the things that define others. I look out for that sustaining trend that can sustain me over the years. I’m being somebody that when you mention the name, people don’t say ‘this idiot.’ I am conscious of it.

Are you fulfilled as an actor so far?

I am not fulfilled as an actor and I don’t think any human being is fulfilled as an actor. But to a large extent I have accomplished a lot. If I can teach the things I so, if I can answer questions about the things I do and in answering that question, people are happy, people get influenced and elevated. They get new knowledge, it means to a large extent that if I walk into a place and I’ll be an inspiration to a people, how much of my virtues do I spread around by virtue of what I know? If I can do that, I make bold to say yes, that is the level of accomplishment but as we continue, we keep learning, it gets broader.

We cannot stop to say we have achieved. As life keeps keeping us alive, we keep expanding the frontiers which means there is so much room for improvement, so I cannot say that I am fulfilled. But to be candid, I am happy that at 50 a book is being written about me-call for papers on Francis Duru, professors. I have come to a point that you can’t afford to ignore my essence. I would say yes but there is room for improvement and I learn each day. I learn from the youngest actor, I learn from the best actor, I learn from the actor who is making a blunder knowing too well in trying to answer the question to getting it right. I have expanded my mentality towards acting. It is a continuous school of life. Just as the actor never resigns, so flourish is continuous.

Do you critic yourself?

I am my worst critic. In doing it, there could be other ways of doing it right. I run away from self-glorification and it is a big cause for me. Each process is a new process that desires something to learn from.

What else do you do aside acting?

I am into broad based consultancy in various areas – alternative media, using the confines of the creative industry as a medium to express things that are more or less formatted in the abstract form that needs visibility. I give you an example, they say the SVG goals dwell more in the confines of abstract alone so how can I bring it real, how can I make it come alive? That is consultancy in that area. I write, I do jingles, I do Mcs, I manage events and a whole lot.

Have you thought of going in to politics?

I have been pushed not once or twice but for me, it is not what people want but how much of me gets into it. Once there is passion, I can do it. I can serve politics. My idea of politics is being called upon to do a job knowing too well that the processes of selection is cruel, it’s dirty but if being called a responsibility is heaped on me, we want you to, those are the kind of things that motivates me. It means it is the people’s desire for one to serve but we can also serve to create or make kings.

Francis Duru: I love trends but don’t allow them to define me

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