Ghanaian movie sensation, Majid Michel, has become a household name in Nigeria. Famous for his choice of roles, the light-skinned actor never fails to wow his fans wherever he goes. Recently, he was in Nigeria for the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), and spoke with Senior Reporter, Ovwe Medeme, on his life and career.
What have you been up to in Nigeria?
I have been in Nigeria for several weeks now. At first, I came for the AMAA. I then seized the opportunity to shoot a movie with Mercy Johnson. Also, I took time out to do a brief comedy shoot that will be shown at the AY Show. I was involved in the comedy skit with Yvonne Nelson and Aki and Pawpaw.
With your frequent performances in Nollywood flicks, is it safe to say that you are courting the Nigerian movie industry?
I don’t think I am courting anything. I don’t see myself as frequent in the Nigerian movie industry. For some time now, I have been absent. This is the first film I will be doing after a long spell of silence. I am hoping to come more often if I have good scripts.
What is your take on the Nigerian movie industry?
I have done quite a number of movies here and I think I am in a position to say that it has always been very wonderful. Nollywood movies have a way of always cutting across people. It is very connected to the kind of movies we do in Ghana. We just have to try our best to make it better. That is all.
Compared to the Ghanaian movie industry, what differences do you see?
I don’t see much difference. They are pretty much the same. The only difference is just in the fact that more movies are being produced in Nigeria than in Ghana. The quantity here is more.
So far, how have you been enjoying the Nigerian atmosphere?
The Nigerian community is different from the news we hear about it. We always hear bad things about Nigeria and Nigerians but it is really not the way it seems. It is not the way we hear about it in town. If you don’t come here to experience it yourself, you will not know that Nigerians are very lovely people. They always want strangers to be happy in their country; they try to give the most hospitality that they can. I love that experience but Nigerians always have bad names outside, I don’t know why. When you come into the country, you wonder why they say all these things about Nigeria and Nigerians.
Do you see Nigeria as a place where you would love to live permanently?
Whenever I hear Nigeria, the first thing that comes to my mind is Lagos. I don’t think I would want to settle for a place like Lagos. I wouldn’t mind a place like Abuja. Abuja is like Switzerland. Lagos is just too fast-forwarded for my liking. Everything is too quick. I like to take things easy. I really love Abuja. It is very cool.
As an actor, are there times when you reject scripts?
Of course I reject scripts. If I don’t, then you won’t stop seeing me in the screens.
When preparing taking a script, what is the first thing you look out for?
I think that should be strictly an individualistic thing. It has to do with every single person and how he connects with his roles. I would look at something one way and you would look at it differently. A third person will see something else. One person might be looking at the dialogue and the lines in the movie; I might be looking at the story line while the third person might be looking at something totally different like the action in the script. Basically, when I read a script and I know the kind of character in it, I try to get connected to the character. If the connection doesn’t come, I don’t accept the script. As I am reading it, I try to play the role in my head.
In preparing for a role, what do you take to set?
I don’t take anything of mine to set. I buy a new pair of jeans, and a black vest when I get on the set and I am lodged at the hotel, I make the production manager buy me a new sponge, a new toothbrush, new towel, which I use throughout the period of that shoot because I don’t want anything coming with me from home to remind me of who really I am. That is how much I put into getting into my character. People wonder why I don’t bring a bag on set. Everything I wear on set was given to me to use in the movie and that is what I take back to the hotel room and that is what I bring back in the morning. Everything goes there.
So far, do you harbour any career regret?
Nothing like that whatsoever and I don’t think any regrets will come in the future.
Considering the fact that you are married, how do you relate with your female fans?
The same way I relate with the male.
Have you had any ugly experience with your fans?
Of course I have had all sorts of experiences. The biggest of all was during my visit to Liberia. It was more like an attack on my team. There was blood all over the car. They beat up the security around us. We managed to escape. In a way, it was fun to watch. It was great seeing everybody and knowing how much of an impact I was actually causing but it wasn’t fun seeing the rowdy part. It sometimes feels good to know how crazy the fans could get over us.
Tell us about yourself?
There is nothing extraordinary about me. I am just a very God-fearing person. I am the last kid of 10 children. I lost my dad in 1992 and I have been with my mother since then. My father was a Lebanese while my mother is a Ghanaian. I lived all my life in Ghana
What was growing up in Ghana like?
I grew up just like any normal Ghanaian child. If you know much about the people of Ghana, you would be able to relate with the average life of a normal Ghanaian. That is how I grew up.