Call him, the notorious playboy on screen, and you may not be wrong. Majid Michel, born of a Lebanese father
and a Ghanaian mother is one Ghanaian actor you cannot but admire on screen. Daring and romantic, Majid rules his world when it comes to the screen. Grossly misunderstood by his teeming fans , he is seen as an incurable playboy.
As one of the international stars who graced the just concluded 7th edition of the African Movie Academy Awards(AMAA), held last Sunday, in Yenoghoa, Majid paints a different picture of himself. He also put the record straight by denying the rumour that he has ever indulged in ‘love making love’ while on set, stressing that what people see on screen is different from what happens on set. “It may look real on screen, but it’s not” he told Showtime Celebrity.
Read more about Majid;
What’s your impression about Bayelsa State as the host of the yearly AMAA awards?
This is my second time in Bayelsa State. The state is cool and very quite. I like its serene atmosphere.
What are your expectations in this year’s AMAA?
Well, any time there is an awards event, I always leave it open. I just leave my heart and mind open for entertainment. But of course, I would be surprised if I win the Best Actor in a leading role award, and I would also be surprised if I didn’t get the award.
Ghana used to be a strong contender for AMAA awards, but this year, the country could only muster some few nominations.
What would you say is responsible for this?
We didn’t produced many movies last year. But sometimes, it’s like that. It was a bit slow considering the movies we produced last year. May be, Ghanaian film makers didn’t submit a lot of movies to earn them more nominations. We are looking forward to next year’s edition to stage our comeback.
People see you as a playboy in movies but in real life, are you a playboy?
In movies, yes, I am. I feel very proud when people describe me as a playboy. They watch my films and tag me as a playboy, meaning that whatever I’m doing, I did it believably enough for them to think I’m a playboy. I’m an actor for crying out loud, why would people watch me on screen and tag me a playboy. It’s a character I’m assuming.
Most roles you play in movies are very daring and sometimes, they tilt towards romance and all that, as if you are typecasted?
I don’t think I have been typecasted. If you really have watched my movies from the on set, you would probably realised that I have not been typecasted. The first movie I featured in “A Crime to Christ”, where I played a bad guy and my second movie titled “Agony of Christ”, I played Jesus Christ.
My third film was totally different from the first- two movies. I happened to play the role of a playboy. So, if you have been watching my movies, one after the other you would notice, they are totally different movies and different characters I play.
How do you describe yourself?
I am the last child of a family of ten children. I’m a very cool and loving guy. I like to have a lot of fun, watch movies till late hours of the night. All I do in my life is to read books and watch movies.
If I’m a producer, and I want to cast you in a role where you will be required to make love on set, how much would you want for a price?
My strong point before I choose anything is the script. Immediately I read the script, I need to be connected with the script. There is sudden likeness you develop as an actor, if you read a script the first time.
If I read the script and get connected to it, and also picture myself doing it, then I will certainly accept the script. But of course, we don’t have real sex in movies. You see it as real sex on screen but it’s not. You can’t have real sex on set, and it has never been done in any part of the world. I can do it, if I really connect with the story.
No two ways about it because it’s either I do it or I don’t do it at all. I have to make it believable whatsoever; it’s a movie and it’s a spice of life. It has to hit the viewer emotionally in a way. The viewer have to feel emotionally about those scenes they watch on screen.
I will do it and do it properly well, and as believable as possible. But there’s never a real sex in movies.
To accept the script, I have to have serious connection to the story.
Since you disagree that you are not typecasted in movies, how do you get passionate on set and at the same time, not get carried away?
Do you understand what acting means? Acting is assuming or taking over a character you adopt; interpreting the script you have read and trying to assume the character. I never acted Majid in a movie, I act someone else. I have to be passionate to make it look real because we are acting a movie; it’s a make-believe.
For people to assume it’s real, we have to do everything possible to make it look real. So, its entertainment. It entertains to make you to want to watch the next film. At that point in time, I have to fall in love with the opposite sex because she’s playing Sera while I’m playing John.
Soft-porn movies have become a major issue in the film industry in Ghana. Some of your colleagues have come out to criticise the trend, while many others do not see anything wrong with it. Having watched one or two movies you were involved in a sex scene, would you say playing nude in films is acceptable to you?
I have featured in two movies; “Heart of Men”and “The Game”where I did have a passionate romance scene with another actress. That the best I have done so far. After featuring in those movies, I started realising that other films came out with a bit of nudity which was a bit disturbing. I just think you have to have a strong point while writing the script, and if the people love the story and the sex scene, no problem.
Other movies, you are referring to, are disturbing. I totally agree with you. We need very good film making skills to tune down those scenes in the script, so it doesn’t look like a soft-porn. It can be shown in different ways for one to really understand love making happened in a scene. One does not really need to take off the clothes to prove anything.
I think the producers should put a stop to soft-porn movies. Different film making skills should be used to depict such scenes in a different way.
Do you also agree that the dominance of these soft-porn films is affecting the country’s image?
Even in Hollywood, you see serious intends romance scenes, but what makes ours uncomfortable is the fact that you cannot watch these movies with your family. We should rate these movies high, and create awareness that children below 18 years should not watch them. I think, Ghanaian producers should tune it down a bit.
Have you been faced with a situation, where you are playing a romance scene, and the opposite sex went out of her way to grab you to have real penetration?
It doesn’t happen like that. We have over fifty people hanging around, so she cannot get carried away. She can never get carried away for any reason. It is not possible to get carried away. We have to do it and do it right. Yes, one has to be involved, at least two-per cent just for that natural acting to flow. But you cann’t get carried away. It’s not possible.
How much of the price, have you paid as a star?
I haven’t paid any price yet, rather I have paid my dues following what I started in 1999, when I did a lot of movies for free. I was paid peanuts by the producers when I started. Then, I struggled to achieve fame. I paid the price of having to shoot films for free, and when the films hit the shelve I got nothing in return.
Do you have the ambition to take your career beyond the shores of Africa?
Every actor who is really passionate about the profession would love to go to the next level. And the next level are those who tells their stories properly with their cameras. When you watch Hollywood movies, you would realise they have the greatest actors there. So, definitely, one would want to work alongside great actors from Hollywood. I ‘m really nursing the ambition of starring in Hollywood movies.
Can you put a figure to the number of passes you get per day from your female admirers?
I can n’t give a figure to it now, but you see, you have a lot of people really liking you; wanting to take pictures with you; to come around you and all that. It’s a natural reaction.
How often do you fall in love?
I ‘ve never fallen in love before in my life.
Does it means you have a heart of stone?
I understand the business. I really understand the whole idea of showbiz, and if you really understand it, then, it’s wiser than cocaine. Yes, I have serious female admirers but one needs to know how to handle them.
Any nasty experience?
Yes, everywhere I go, around the world, in America, London, Italy, name the country. I have faced a situation where a female admirer walked up to me and whispered to me that she wants to sleep with me and that she would not bother me any other day , just for one night.
One has this feeling that you have been misunderstood, don’t you get such feeling sometimes?
I always get such feeling. Only those who are close to me know who I am. Yes, I’m misunderstood because if I don’t do it properly well on screen, people wouldn’t misunderstood me.
One also think that your wife must be a very patience woman, after watching those romantic scenes you play in movies?
She’s the strongest woman in the world today. Fortunately, my wife sees my scripts before I accept to play those roles. And any time I want to go to the location, she reads my scripts and she knows the role I’m going to play.
So, she is well aware of the role before it happens. It doesn’t take her by surprise. What she watches on screen, she is ready to tolerate it. She knows exactly how the scene is going to look life before I go on set.
What your relationship with your female colleagues back in Ghana ?
Cordial, we are like one big family. We understand the whole act. It’s just usual and normal. After work, we usually hangout to unwind.
How did you arrest your wife emotionally?
She never arrested me, rather I was the one who arrested her.
What’s the attraction?
She’s the most beautiful woman I have ever met in my life. We grew up together in the same neighourhood. I wasn’t a star before I met my wife. There is a strong connection between myself and my wife that goes beyond stardom or fans admiration.
There is a personal relationship we share together. And there is no comparison between what we are having and what is going on in the world.
Ho much do your family miss you each time you are on location or travel out of Ghana?
I miss them more than they miss me. That’s wy I hardly travel out of Ghana. I prefer to shoot movies very close to me, in Ghana. Apart from the fact that I don’t like flying, I try as much as possible to stay very close to my family. I hate to travel by air.
When I’m not working, I take my kids to town, where there are video games centres, playgrounds. We spend a lot of time playing together.
When you are walking along the street, do you have cause to be afraid of being mob,?
No, I don=t, rather they people are afraid of me. Even the police are afraid of me when they watch my movies and see how ruthless I could be to the police, it really makes them to stay away from me. People sometimes wave their hands at me from a distance when I’m walking along the street.
What influences your style?
I have actors I look up to; like Anthony Robinson and many others are the strong people that influenced me a lot. If you have been watching my movies very properly, you would realise I have similarities with Alberto. I try as much as possible to adopt his style of acting. I also read a lot of books in method acting.
While growing up, did it occur to you that you would one day become a star?
Yes, while I was growing up, I wished I would become an actor. And the dream later came true . It was a wish as a young man.
Who does your shopping for you?
It’s my wife who is always fighting me about what I’m wearing. I don’t really care about what I put on. I also don’t know what shoes to wear that would match my belt.
So, it’s usually my wife who makes me up and put me through, when it comes to what to wear. In most of the movie premieres I attend, it’s my wife who dresses me.
And she is not the person who makes your curls?
The only thing I’m particular about is my hair. The kind of hair style to carry. No one tells me what to do to my hair apart from myself.