Vincent Opurum, an actor/model from the Eastern part of Nigeria, Imo State to be precise, might not pull too much crowd while on the street like a well-known Nollywood star but has a vision of moving far beyond the industry. He explains his expectations in the movie industry in this interview with Trainee Reporter, Ifeoma Meze. He also talks on how he handles the female fans that come with being a popular face. Excerpts:
Apart form entertainment, is there any other thing you do?
I can generally be known as an entertainer, because I am an actor and model. I am strictly into entertainment. That is all I do for now.
Do you have any form of education?
I am a secondary school leaver. Since then, I have been attending one programme or the other. I am still hoping to further my education. I would love to read law but that will be much later. Right now, I am strictly in entertainment.
Why did you choose acting?
Because I am a humble servant. I have a whole lot of things to do in the future especially with the less-privileged. I have the heart to serve people and as well impact to the world and the only place that I can gain attraction is in entertainment. That is why I started in acting.
Which part of entertainments do you have passion for?
I have passion for acting. If I don’t have passion for acting, I would have left long time ago. The people I started with back in Kaduna have all dropped the career but I am still in it irrespective of the shortcomings in the industry. I believe that that is my destination and I am also heading forward.
Can you tell us the number of movies you’ve featured in?
There are a lot of them. My love my sorrow, Mission to no where, kingdom of me, Borrow pose, Devils workshop, and so on. There are a lot of them that I have acted so far.
Did you play a major role in these movies you mentioned?
Yes. In mission to nowhere I was the only male supporting lead apart from the star role. I also played a major role in Devils workshop. In My love my sorrow and Borrow pose I played a sub-lead. I was also in the poster of a movie titled offensive relationship. So far so good, it’s either I play a sub-lead or a major role.
So far, would you rate yourself as an up-coming actor?
I would say that I am an up-coming actor because my senior colleagues have been there. Most times when movie producers and directors are casting, they first of all look up to my senior colleagues. Even at that, I believe that if I should be rated in the industry, I will be recognised from the first to second quarter as one of the major leads on roles. The truth is that it is good to humble oneself and let them lift you up.
Are you easily recognised by the public as an actor?
Of course yes, the public do recognise on several occasions. The recognition has its own levels. For instance the way Jim Iyke attracts crowd is not going to be the same way I do but am still working towards it. There is a stage that I will get to and’ll know that I have arrived. And even when I get to that level, I cannot just start running my mouth. What I am trying to say is just that in Nollywood there are certain levels and a level that, I believe God, I will get to. I know I will get there someday. Right now Vincent Opurum is becoming a known name. It is a gradual thing.
Is the recognition from people a problem to you?
It’s not a problem to me because like I said earlier, the crowd is not as much as that of a well-known star. For instance people like Nonso Diobu and Jim Iyke might have a problem with crowd they draw to them. They will have to hide from the crowd because they will definitely have enemies among the multitude of people that are fans. But as an up-comer like me, the crowd is not much. People recognise me but not to the point of signing autograph or hiding from the crowd.
Would you say that acting has been fulfilling to you?
So far so good, since acting has been my passion, I will say it is quite fulfilling, because irrespective of the shortcomings and challenges involved I still stay focused. I have never felt the pinch, no matter what I pass through I know that I will always overcome and I thank God for that.
Who are your role models?
Leonardo Decaprio and Russell Crow are my role models for American movies. When I vas coming up, I always looked up to Ramsey Noah, I liked the way he played his roles. But these days, I have to come up with my own style. The truth is that if I want to be like Vincent Opurum, I have to map out my style. Right now, I have my style and will ever be Vincent Opurum.
Do you have any challenging role?
I have not seen any challenging role yet. I am hoping to have one because I love challenges. The first challenge that I would like to meet is when I get to the level of a Hollywood star not just Nollywood. When I am invited to take up a role in Hollywood, I would know for sure that my challenges have started.
In order words, you do not have any challenges at all?
The kind of challenges I faced when I started building a career in acting are quite different from the ones I am facing now. There was a time I was always trying to play one or two roles just to show my face. But these days I watch the kind of movies I find myself in. I check the kind of directors and producers I am about to work with. Sometimes a director might say that you are too small for the role they want to give you. It once made me grow my beard to make me look older. But even at that, I still looked young. It is my nature and it has also helped me because I can play the part of a 20-year-old boy and will fit in. The thing is that I always have room for improvement. The only challenge I have now is that so many scriptwriters are coming up with different storylines and you have to put in more efforts to meet up.
What was your growing up like?
I am from Imo State, Eastern Nigeria. I grew up in Kaduna State before I relocated to Lagos, five years ago. My growing up was a wonderful thing. I was born with a golden spoon but somewhere along the line my parents got broke. I left my parents at the age of 19 because I wanted to have my own. Not that they didn’t have enough to take care of me but I took up that challenge and it’s been fun. I am the first in the family of five, three boys and two girls.
What are your expectations from the movie industry?
My expectation is to become a notable face, not just as a celebrity in Nollywood but also in Hollywood. I want to see myself winning not just NAMA awards but Oscar. Our music industry has gone that far in winning international awards. This time around I want it to be happening in Nollywood and I believe some day, the Americans will have no choice but to in invite us for awards. And I will be one of those to win it.
What would you say to up-coming actors?
The only thing I can say to them is to ‘be focused’ no matter the intimidation, no matter what they hear, no matter the side-talks, they should remain focused. They should stop keeping friends in the industry because that is where the gossip starts. People start getting to know your weaknesses from there and before one knows it, you will get distracted and your entire plan will be shattered. You don’t have to talk too much, face what you came for and face it squarely.
While growing up, did it ever occur to you that you would be an actor?
Yes, sometime lately, I began to see some of the things I saw in my dream. I dreamt about them but never knew it was an acting sector. So recently I saw most of those things coming to reality.
Do you have problem with the female folks?
I have lots of problems with females. I need the grace of God to handle it. Every time I pray that God should give me the wisdom to take control. The secret is as a male actor, you gain more favour from the female actresses to grow faster and the female from male actors to grow faster. But I still pray seriously for God’s wisdom because it’s very difficult. Sometimes you talk to a lady and you do not know when she takes it personal because women are too emotional.
How do you handle them when they approach you?
My yes is always a yes and my no remains no, as simple as that. And I make sure I go with a smile while giving out my response because God has given me a wonderful smile. When you smile at them and tell them no, they will understand and still be your friends but when you frown and tell them no, some can go as far as hurting you.
So do you have a girlfriend?
Yes, but she would not like my exposing her yet, because we are on probation. I have friends and when I approach any girl I let them know what I do and what to expect. I would advise the person to put me on probation to know if she can cope with the fame.