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Osita Iheme: Nollywood has changed since I played kid character
Although he is more popular for his comic roles in movies, Osita Iheme has shown his versatility as an actor in the last two decades. The Imo State indigene speaks to ADENIYI ADEWOYIN on his career, business, women, and other issues.
Your face adorned a lot of memes on social media, are you involved in the production of the memes?
I’m not really behind them, my fans are behind them since it’s something that they use to keep themselves company and make themselves happy.
Most of the pictures and clips used are from your movies from way back, how do you feel when you see them?
I feel happy because knowing that the works that you have done way back are still trending, they are still useful, people are still using it to make themselves happy in as much as we have a lot of contents circulating but they still refer to those fifteen years and bring them back, it shows that what we have done is legendary so I’m happy.
Looking back to your early days as an actor, how has the journey been?
Its been great because most of the work I did those years is still sustaining me because those years are the foundations of what we are becoming so I will say that the foundation is strong enough, it’s not shaking. I am enjoying it, I feel better.
Comparing then and now, what has changed?
In terms of roles I play, I can say it has changed because a lot of producers don’t bring such characters for me to play again. I don’t know why. Maybe they think those type of characters are not in the market again or they think those characters will not fetch them as much money as they used to. It has changed because those kinds of funny mischievous characters are not coming again. The scripts they present to me these days are the normal scripts, adult roles but the children’s characters are not coming up again.
What could have been the reason for you to be getting this kind of role they bring now?
The industry has changed from where it used to be before, most of the players then are not doing much in the production of movies anymore and by the special grace of God, I am established now unlike those days when we were coming up they can bring so many scripts and say I have so so so amount take this but now before they try to do any movie they should know that their pocket is heavy. I believe that that would contribute to what reduced that kind of stuff. Few of them that are ready will come up with it unlike those days where everybody will come but it’s not always like that when they come up with a good script I can say ok if its hundred percent do 80% or 70%. It’s just that people are changing from what they used to do before and they understand that they need to step ahead from what they have done before.
Which role do you prefer, the mischievous kid roles or the adult roles?
Both of them are fine. I’m trying to interpret a character so any character you present to me is ok. As an actor, you have to be versatile.
But you should have a favourite.
No, I don’t have a favourite. I’m not praising myself but as a good actor, you shouldn’t have a favorite role you have to be able to interpret any role presented to you.
Tell us briefly how the whole acting journey started
It started in Enugu when I went to do a movie so I met Aki and I was like oh this guy that I have been seeing on TV so we parley from there. The relationship has been wonderful ever since, I must say that I and Aki’s meeting was a divine connection. It was the same day we met the producer decided to put us on that Aki and Ukwa movie and the rest is history.
How has the movie blessed you?
I can’t even describe it because it has blessed me a lot. that movie contributed to everything I am today because it was the breakthrough movie.
Fans want to see more of such movies.
Like I said things have changed, for someone to do such a movie now they have to cough out a lot of money because aside from paying us, they will have to pay other people as well.
Do you sometimes feel any pressure from Aki like he is doing better than you at any point?
Nothing like that, we don’t do competition.
It seems your charges have skyrocketed
It’s not like we charge much more, we are only trying to compare then and now. For example, now I can do one movie equals to five movies then.
So what are you working on presently?
I just released my movie Babysitter. It’s on YouTube and it’s doing well out there. Although it would have done better if there wasn’t COVID.
How have you been coping with this period?
It’s been difficult for everybody, not only me. I’ve been trying to control my business indoors with the system but generally speaking it’s been bad but we are hoping that things will get back to normal.
In what ways has it affected you?
It has affected me everywhere, it affected my craft, it affected my business. The money that I’m supposed to be making I’m not making, the activities that I’m supposed to be involved in like shows and concerts, and my hospitality business were shut down, I know how much I generate monthly but the pandemic has affected everything.
How have you tried to overturn the situation with social media?
I have an online channel distribution network where I distribute my movies like YouTube that sustains me during the pandemic.
Aki is married but you’re not, when are you settling down?
When the time reaches you will know.
Is there any woman in your life presently?
It’s not about having, when the thing will happen you will know.
What about the female fans, how do you maintain your space and at the same time bring them close?
They are there and I am here. We are trying to maintain each other.
Have you had the most memorable day of your career?
I will say one of them was the time I received the national honor MFR award from former President Goodluck Jonathan. I was delighted that my country has finally recognized what I’m doing.
How would you compare former President Goodluck Jonathan and President Buhari?
You can’t compare now because the presidency is still going. You can only compare when he finishes his regime but for now, he still has three years so you don’t know what can happen in the next year.
Osita Iheme: Nollywood has changed since I played kid character