He’s one of the playboys of Nollywood who hit limelight some years ago, but didn’t become a movie star until a few years back, and that was after his dream to make a career in music was dashed. Known for his mean and unperturbed roles, Benedict Johnson, in this encounter, raises alarm concerning the lustful attitude of his female fans, who, according to him, disturb him by calling him at odd hours, without minding whether his wife is with him or not.
How has it been a movie star?
It’s been great. I have done a couple of wonderful jobs in recent times. Generally, life has been very good. So far, so good. The journey has been interesting.
Would you say you’ve have impacted immeasuarbly on the industry since you were launched into the mainstream movie world?
Yeah, I have made a lot of impact in the industry. At least, I have affected a lot of lives positively. I have done a couple of good jobs which affected a lot of people’s lives both in Nigeria and outside the shores of this country. Today, Benedict Johnson has become a household name in the industry.
Why did you choose acting?
What gives one joy is a calling. Many people miss the mark because they refuse to follow the dictates of their hearts. To me, I followed what makes me happy which is entertainment. From my childhood, when I was 12 years old, I composed music in addition to anchoring notable events for people as MC.
As a matter of fact, I paid half of my school fees with such monies I realised from the MC job. So, I have always wanted to be in the entertainment business, not just acting.
I started out with music, and I thought I was going to be one of the top music stars in this country, because I did a lot of good jobs in those days as far back as 1992/93. But I wasn’t able to release my own album because of some circumstances beyond my control. Some how, I found myself in the movie industry. But it was still in line with what I wanted to do in life, and as a result, I decided to grab it with hands. Here I am today.
You started out with music?
Yes, I started out with music. I have some tracks which I did in those days. I wonder if those tracks will be accepted by today’s market. But I have got a younger brother who has followed my footsteps and he’s doing a very great job in music.
He has released his album, which is very fantastic. I’m trying to concentrate on him at the moment, since I have made my mark in the movie industry. I want to encourage him on the other side of entertainment which is music.
What happened to you as musician?
Fund!. At a time, it was difficult raising the fund to go to studio to record my album. I couldn’t fund my career in music. Those who promised to assist me disappointed me along the line. So, I decided to take up the option of becoming a movie star when the opportunity eventually came my way. To God be the glory, that decision has paid off.
How did you grab the option?
A friend of mine who believed in me, while we were in the university, introduced me to the industry. He used to have a friend also, who was into movie making. The guy was shooting his movie, and there was this need for that my friend to invite me to be part of that movie.
So, he approached me as I obliged him the request. After playing the first role that was given to me, the producer was impressed as he decided to engage over and over again. But unfortunately, that movie did not see the light of the day.
However, I picked up the courage. I acted in the National Theatre and all that for people who paid for tickets to watch. Within a short while, things started falling into place one after the other, though it was not easy because it took me about four to five years to have my breakthrough. I still believed that wasn’t what I came to Lagos for.
I came to Lagos for music but I ended up becoming an actor. While I was an undergraduate at Abia State University, I was still trying my hands in music to make ends meet. After my graduation, I came to Lagos to stay with my elder brother, Leo, who encouraged me to go into acting after all attempt I made to actualise my dream of becoming a musician failed.
After recording a breakthrough, what happened next?
A lot of scripts started coming my way. There was this producer, Emeka Nwabueze, who came to me with three scripts at a time. He told me he watched one of the movies I did in Ghana and thought I would be the one to play the role in his movie.
Initially, I was reluctant to accept the role but after much persuasion, I gave it a trial. I never knew it was the movie that was going to launch me into limelight because I thought I had done a couple of other movies that were supposed to have launched me into the limelight.
Did you regret your inability to make it in music?
Not at all, because acting has paid my bills. Acting has done a lot of good things for me. Through acting, I have paid my bills, secured good apartment. I ride a posh car, among others. Mostly, I have made a lot of friends through acting.
Everywhere I go, I’m celebrated like a demi-god. What’s more? I think through acting, I have really achieved a lot, even though, I don’t really depend on acting alone. Aside acting, I have a lot of friends who offer me jobs to do.
You are every lady’s man, no doubt about it. What are some of the challenges you have faced in trying to cope with your female fans?
Laughs… Yes, I have faced a lot of challenges in terms of coping with my female fans. It’s not really easy. Anywhere I go, so many ladies would want to make me their friends. Some come with good intentions, many others come with outrageous intentions. So, I’m trying as much as possible to play cool, and always be on the positive side. I think the challenge is mostly trying to cope with my female fans. I like hanging out mostly with guys. It’s safer that way.
Do they disturb your phone often?
More often, they call my phones at odd hours. Even when I’m with my wife. They disturb a lot.
How do they get your phone number?
My number is as popular as my name. You can call any of the producers of the movies that I featured in , and they will release my number to you. I don’t ask them how they come across my phone number. But all the same, I’m enjoying the whole thing.
When they call you at nights, how do your wife react?
I try to be very friendly with everybody that calls my phone, and mostly, I try to let the caller know that I’m hooked. Very soon, I gonna make it public. Traditionally, I have fulfilled the marriage rites. Initially, I did not want to make my marriage a public knowledge.
I have tried as much as possible to take my family out of the picture but it has not been very easy. That’s why I quietly did my traditional wedding without the knowledge of anybody. I got married some three years back, and my daughter is approaching three years.
Didn’t you marry your fan?
I wouldn’t say I married my fan, rather my wife used to be my number one fan. She encourages me a lot, and she loves watching my movies.