Cross over actress, Foluke Daramola in this interview with Segun Adebayo and Tunbosun Ogunleye, speaks on why she has been off movie seen for sometime, her broken marriage and challenges of being a single mother.
Would you say acting is a path you delibrately chose?
FOR me, it’s more or less a vocation, because that was not what I studied in school. I read International Relations for my First Degree and International Honour and Diplomacy for my Master Degree. Acting is what God had placed in me to sustain myself. It is also a talent God had given to me when I was young, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have my personal profession. Acting is a passion, l always love to look myself in the mirror and do something.I also love to imitate people that were ahead of me while I was growing up. I also thank God that I had people that guided me in that line.
How long have you been in the industry?
I have been in the industry for sixteen years. I joined the industry with ‘palace’. The basic challenge is that the level of energy placed in our work does not commensurate with the money we earn. For instance, the type of life our actors live is not the way they should be living. Do you know some live on friends, fans, relatives; some even go to the extent of doing what they ought not to do just to sustain them.
How was it like when you first appeared on set?
I starred in a movie titled Palace. I was Jide Kosoko’s daughter in the year 1996. I played Remilekun Lucas and I was really young then. I was about gaining admission into the university then. The mood was exciting seeing myself with veteran actress like Liz Benson, Tunji Bamishighin and co. Though, it was difficult going into the film industry. I got the role, but at stage, my director had to slap me to get serious I was always laughing. Today am grateful to him, Tunji Bamishigbin, since that production, I had my breakthrough in the industry. But from my mother’s point of view, it wasn’t easy because she was sure that artistes were social miscreants who don’t have to exist. But I was lucky to have good people who gave me the leverage to excel in the industry.
In your view, would you say the movie industry, particularly Yoruba genre is improving?
It’s nose diving, because people are not critical about what they shoot any longer. Most producers are not taking cognisance of the content of the movie and its target audience, what they are after is making money and releasing movies indiscriminately.
So what do you think can be done to checkmate this disturbing dimension?
Like I always say, the reason why we have experienced corruption in Nigeria is that money is not circulating to everybody. For the industry to move forward, good system should be on ground. I mean anybody that intends to produce a movie should be properly streamlined in order to able to streamline wheat from the tares. I implore our government not to give individuals money because they can use it for their personal purpose, they should only make the capital available so that anyone that intends to go into any area of the arts should have access to it.
The home video started with living in bondage, Asiri nla and lots more. Then people took their time to shoot movies. Then, people used millions of naira to shoot, unlike what is in operation these days if you have little amount of money you can produce.
You are a crossover actress, why do you think some of your colleagues have remained streotyped?
Honestly, this point makes me feel sorry a lot. I am sorry because the whole thing narrows our creativity as actors and actresses. I’m a producer and a director, one basic thing about me is that I believe in using raw talents. For instance, a person is usually cast as a gateman, doesn’t mean he must play the role in the conventional way, he should think about the way he can modify the role in order to make him unique actor in interpreting other subsequent roles as they come. My submission is that the blame can be attributed to the Producer, Director even the actor. So it is a collective problem. I am a professional actress, If I have to work with you, I will give you the deserved respect and I don’t find myself in factions like some would do.
How do you cope with being a single mother and your profession?
It has been very interesting. The experience has taught me how to be very strong and ready to face whatever comes my way. It has brought me closer to my children and I have been able to impact in them good morals that would help them to become a better person in the future. It has been fun because we relate very well. I have also learn how to be more sensitive to them, because If I fail, things might turn out the way I don’t want. I have to work day and night on improving my career by making sure that one does not affect the other. Sometimes, it can be very hard. I don’t have to appear in every movie, I have to treat issues as they come. When there is the need for me to stay with my children, nothing comes between that.
What is your take on the rate of nudity that appears to be on the increase in Nollywood?
Well, it depends on the script and the message they intend to disseminate to their audience. For instance someone that is given a role of prostitution needs to appear as a real whore in order to get the message across to the viewers. Though, I’m not exonerating some actresses that love to dress in a provocative manner, claiming some form of civilization to justify their act.
How many movies have you produced till date?
Well you don’t just wake up in a day and venture into movie production. For me, it took me a lot of time before I produced. In fact, I graduated from school before I ventured into production. I started with the English before venturing into the Yoruba genre. Having understood the market, I then proceeded to produce my first movie. Till date I think I have fourteen movies to my credit, but I don’t have much to show for it. Though people like the story line, but having exhausted all that I have in my life for productions, I can’t boast of any profit I have made from them. Thank God I am educated that is why I can diversify into other things, but what about those without any source of ends means, except this field alone.
What is your take about superiority between Nollywood and A.N.T.P?
You see that is where we are getting it wrong; A.N.T.P is supposed to be an embodiment of Nollywood. It ought to be embodiments of Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba.
For instance in America, there is nothing like L.A wood or Houston wood. Everything is Hollywood. In the case of Nigeria, we are supposed to unite as one under an umbrella but if reverse is the case, I’m sorry, entertainment in Nigeria will just nose-dive, but I still believe it can’t die totally because people that have passion for entertainment will bring it on board. The way forward is to go back to the basis and start from where we stopped.
To what extent has Nollywood and Federal government gone in curbing the problem of piracy?
I’m sorry, the Federal Government is not doing us good at all. In fact, they are doing us a lot of harm. I mean what is the penalty for piracy? Just N20, 000 why would I Foluke won’t want to be a pirate, is it not easy? The last movie I did ‘’Wakati Eda’’ it branded me at a lost through piracy. When we got to the office of one of the pirates, he had already sold 45,000 copies when I have not even sold 20,000.
At the end of the day, he was even dragging issues claiming at worst we will settle the entire issue in the court which I believe he has a strong back-up. I implore the government to come to our rescue by imposing a stiff penalty on any offender. A lot of artists are dying as a result of this. No money but there is talent in us. I call upon the government to come to our rescue unless they want jungle justice by killing or maiming which might as well attract killing or jail term against the perpetrator. I call on the government once again to assist us because we can’t be thinking about the way to produce at the same time fashion out the way to curb piracy, so it’s the work of our government to solve this problem.
Any plan to make up with your ex-husband?
I don’t have any issue with him; I believe it’s a forgone issue between me and my ex-husband. In fact we are processing divorce case. However, nobody is feeling bad about it just as a result of ideological differences. No bitter feeling, I don’t even think of re-marrying which is not part of my agenda for now.
Tell us about your latest flick‘Wakati eda’ and the famous Television drama ’Tag team’?
It’s about people that clamour for wealth and position. I imagine people that are too desperate to be rich, because if you are destined to be rich, one will surely get there. Though you will surely work hard to actualise the destiny. I believe ‘’Wakati eda’’ is centred on destiny.
About Tag-team, I got my inspiration from my daughter. Though, she’s still very small, but she is sensitive and intelligent. The way she does thing marvels me. I also noticed she is always close to my mum, so that was why I used grandma and grand father in the production.
Is it true that you are planning to feature Wole Soyinka in your next movie?
(Laughs) Are you a witch? Because I saw him at the laying of flower of late M.K.O Abiola at the deceased’s residence recently, I was imaging him in to appear in one of my productions especially where we will be rotating cast. I imagine him play the role of a grandfather which is possible because his appearance would surely attract a lot of viewership even sponsorship. Well let’s continue hoping.
How would you react to the leadership tussle rocking ANTP at the national and state level?
(Laughs) My brother,I’m not a stake holder in A.N.T.P (Nollywood Yoruba). Like I always say, the system is not well organized. One of my pastors’ words ‘’A Leader is supposed to be serving, leadership means service’’. Those are the words of Pastor Sam Adeyemi. It’s a pity we don’t think deeply, rather we think on the surface but the association doesn’t need to be fighting for power instead we should think of how we can progress and how we can be recognised internationally. We should forget about individualism, we should rather embrace collectiveness, even if it bound for us not to have a leader yet, rather we institute a committee. The most dedicative member of the committee should be allowed to lead.
Your advice to upcoming actresses?
Like I have said, they should endeavour to get formal education inasmuch as you have the talent in you with education, one can cut corner when one lives the entertainment sector.