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Sam Sunny: Being an actor has affected many of my relationships
Sam Sunny is a popular young Nollywood actor, who doubles as a producer and content provider. His rise in the film industry has been steady and he attributes it to discipline and focus. In this interview with SAMPSON UNAMKA, The Engagement star opens up on his relationship with female colleagues, his love life, career, and the secret to his emergence as a fast-rising act.
SINCE fame and fortune came your way, how has it affected your romantic relationship?
Every Nigerian, no matter how much you make you still want more fortune and more money. Well, the fame Yes. The publicity is there already, you know, I’m out there. And obviously women are usually very attracted to people who appear on TV and all of that is not just about me, it’s about every actor but the major thing is that of course, there were several relationships that probably did not work out because they felt I was an actor, a lot of them.
We were friends for a while and I wanted something serious but they just felt oh no Sam you’re an actor, actors are usually very promiscuous, actors are never really serious, like I don’t know why it is some of these women just believe that actors are not serious. I mean we are lovable people, the fact that we play certain characters or because people see us play loverboy characters they now assume that we are like that. Some women just think that you are promiscuous and that most of the time, all we just do is do all kinds of sex styles, commit all kinds of sexually immoral immoralities on set, but the thing is, well, I cannot speak for other actors, but I know that a lot of actors are very disciplined or I can speak for myself. The thing is, I’ve lost relationships. it has affected a couple of relationships that would have grown to be a very beautiful thing, but a lot of them were skeptical about my career, but I mean, I always tell people, mehn, yes, love is very important, but I mean your career is most important, your career will not tell you tomorrow that I do not love you anymore.
So, how often do you get romantic advances from your female colleagues?
Female colleagues? it’s well. Attraction always comes with the job, it comes with the job, it’s part of the job you get, especially where you work. Nobody will tell me that you have never admired somebody in the course of doing the job or in the cause of them working, so there’s been several attractions you get I would not say I’ve had. I’ve dated some of my colleagues, I’ve dated one or two of my colleagues, you know and it’s just normal people meet for a reason and people leave for a reason that’s the much I can say.
Have you ever been offered sex for a role and how did you handle it?
Well sincerely I’ve not. I don’t think anybody has ever told me or that I have to compromise my integrity or compromise my body for a role, No. Nobody has done that to me. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen to people but I have never been told that I either must sleep with somebody or in that regard. No sexual harassment for me, in my case for a role, it has never happened to me.
Who or what inspired your decision to go into acting and your decision to go into movie directing?
I wrote JAMB several times so that I can beat the cut-off on economics at Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) and I didn’t get it. So I told my father that even if I don’t meet up with the cut off for economics, I would take whatever course I am given at the time, I would just take it. So, then, I was given African and Asian studies that was what I chose and then we borrowed courses in theater art. All the while I was never going to classes because I wasn’t interested in the course. In my second year two, we started doing practical in theater but I never attended the theater classes.
One day, the man who took us on the practical had a roll call where we had to demonstrate acting drama. The man said ‘I’ve been seeing this name Samuel but he never comes to my classes, what is going on. Tell him that if he doesn’t come for the next practical, he should not bother coming for my exams because he would not even pass’. When the news got to me, I got scared so I had no choice, I had to attend the class. When I got to the class the man said ‘oga, so you’re the one that has not been coming to my class, what is the problem? I actually opened up to him and told him I didn’t want to do this course. He said no problem we’ll talk about that later, but for now he gave me a character to play. He gave me the role of the pastor. I went through the novel, the morning that I was meant to present.
And I read through the lines and I really enjoyed it. When it was time, I was able to act five scenes without the script and the man was impressed but he didn’t want to show it, he was only trying to push me. I was able to memorize all the lines. I think I was even doing better than people who studied theater as a course. After showing our play to the other theater lecturers, they were wowed by what we did. One of them called me and said ‘you, the man who played Pastor. I’ve seen past students play this character well, but you came with a different spice, you gave true meaning to what this pastor is all about’.
All the comments they made gave me joy but that did not convince me enough. The man who called me and challenged me to play that character said ‘look, you may not have gotten economics and you’ve gotten this character, why not make good use of it. You have a future here, you may not notice now but with time, maybe when you leave school you would realize that you have a future in it’. That was how I started putting interest and tried out auditions and got picked, that’s how the brand Sam Sunny came about.
Which movie would you say brought you to limelight and how did you get the role?
Well several movies have actually brought me to the spotlight but there’s a particular movie which I could say brought me to the spotlight and has never left my memory and that movie is ‘The Engagement’.
I was at home and the producer called me and sent the script and I was asked to play the role of the playboy and I actually loved it, I was interested in the role but there was another character of a gateman who is a graduate and due to the circumstances of the country, no job and all he had to settle for the job of a security man and the producer called me later and asked if I had read the script and I said yes and he was like which role would I like to play I told him the playboy of course and he was like Sam, I would like you to play the role of the gateman although I wasn’t satisfied, I wasn’t even pleased at all with the role because I felt it was a small role and I should play a bigger role and not a lesser role but as Joke Silva would say there’s no small role there are only small actors which ever role you are asked to play be the best at it and you will be recognised so even with my displeasure towards that role something inside of me just asked me to go through the script again which I did and I began to see it from a new angle.
I had a very good insight about it and I took the role of the gateman, played the role very well, put in my best in the character of a gateman and truly it opened many doors for me and I was so excited that I did it.
What were your aims and visions when you decided to go into acting, would you say you have achieved them?
Like I said in one of the past questions, acting was a very passionate thing for me. I got into it out of circumstances that I now realized I wasn’t just just an actor who was not just interested in the film and the razzmatazz in the industry. I started seeing myself as someone who wanted to propagate a good motive. It was all about interpreting characters for me. Those were my visions, those were my dreams to interpret characters to be able to change the ills of society and that is why I’m very particular about the scripts that I do. Even characters that I’ve not yet seen play before, I don’t just jump on it because I’ve seen something like this play before. I take my time to do research and sometimes I put in the shoes of the characters. I study people and observe and bring it into the characters that I play.
My aims and vision is to change the ills of society, better the lives of people through film and storytelling.I will keep doing it till I become a director and interpret it better and exploit it with filmmaking. My vision is to get to the highest point of my character and move into movie directing, which is also a second passion for me.
What do you have to say on rape considering the allegations that rocked Nollywood directors?
Rape is a scourge, it’s a serious issue and it should be handled immediately and it’s on the rise in this country. It doesn’t just happen in Nollywood, they were several cases of sexual molestation, there has not been any case of a director forcing himself on an actress visa vis..
Its a global phenomenon everyone needs to fight.Nobody should be subjected to that kind of ill-treatment especially for the women folks, it damages them, the aftermath of that rape, most men just think just think its that urge to quickly satisfy them self but its not just that, you leave and indelible mark in a human when you force yourself on them, it damages them and in turn they remain in the society and the cause of that damage state they end up not having good relationships, a lot of women find it very had to stay with a man because there is already this notion that men are animalistic, men are wicked so a lot of them just hate men for no reason.
All rapist need to face the full arm of the law, they are not suppose to go scot free, they are supposed to pay for the punishment of putting somebody through a very terrible ordeal, most of this women never ever recover from it, most of this women become repulsive by the touch of men.its a damaging thing to our society, I do not in any way support rape and I stand against it and I’m of the opinion that every rapist should face the full arm of the law if it means that they even have to castrate them they should go ahead and do that, that’s my take on it.
How lucrative is movie production in Nigeria?
As with every other businesses in Nigeria, people don’t really get support especially from the government it’s more like a personal or individual effort here in Nigeria in movie or every other sector but the movie business is a very lucrative business if only the government would aid it and support just like our Hollywood counterparts but most times it’s just an individual thing here in Nigeria and you know it’s not very easy because most times people use their individual money to do movies without the support from the government and it might not really turn out very big or on a large scale but trust me the movie business is a very lucrative industry and we need the support of corporate bodies and the support of the government because some people do business with much money and sometimes don’t get their money back while some other people are very lucky they do movies with little money and get more profit back.
It’s a very lucrative business if it’s going to be structured well. It’s also lucrative if structures are put in place to protect the right of the movie makers, writers, actors and cinema distributors because piracy is one major challenge the movie industry is facing and it’s in the music business too but in the movie business piracy is more and it’s like a loop warm that has eaten deep into the creative aspect of movie making because most times people would just invest so much money and make loses and this has scared most of our investors.
Sam Sunny: Being an actor has affected many of my relationships