Africa: For me, acting is quality above quantity-ETOMI ADESUA
Africa Magic Magic Viewers’ Choice Award winner in 2015 and Nollywood heartthrob, Adesua Etomi’s profile has been on the rise since winning that award. The beautiful actor who’d rather not make public her love life speaks to LANRE ODUKOYA about a movie entitled ‘The Wedding Party’ where she plays the virgin bride, her career and more.
Your year began with an award and you’re not one to rest on the laurel. What did you do differently to clinch this honour?
It’s the same as last year, believe it or not. I’m very much about quality over quantity. I never worry about how many movies I do. First of all, I’m a very spiritual person. So I don’t just pick any job. I have to feel led to do whatever job I finally choose. And also I’m very much about scripts. I’m very much about knowing the vision of who is making the film. I want to know how far they would go. I want to know the reach. I want to know how many people will see it. I want to know their plans. So I tend to pick my movies based on vision. I don’t do movies blindly. Everything I do is very calculated. And I’ve just been privileged this year because I haven’t done 10 or 15 movies. I’ve just done only a few. But those few carried the weight of 10 or 15. And that’s what I try to go for; quality and movies that promote the Nigerian cinema in a positive light. And I’d like to think that this is what The Wedding Party has done because people worked very hard on it.
What attracted you to the script?
Interestingly, we didn’t get the script for The Wedding Party till we agreed to play the roles. I think for me, the appeal was the audition material. It was the scene in the car that they used for the audition material. And also the fact that four outfits were coming together to do something like this. I haven’t seen it before in Nigeria. And that really mattered to me because if you look at these four people, individually, they are doing amazing stuff. The fact that they came together was a pull for me. The fact that people were thinking about promoting Nollywood in a positive light, that was definitely one of the attractions for me and as God would have it, I got offered the role.
How challenging was the role?
It’s very easy to think that Dunni is an easy character or a flimsy character but what we need to realise is that in a film that was filled with so much comedy and so much chaos, Dunni was very human, very balanced. She wasn’t trying to be funny. She was a girl in love and she had so much to portray in very short scenes, as opposed to other characters that had a lot of dialogue. Dunni had so much to do in her individual scenes. When you have a lot of message to pass in one scene and you’re not going to speak in the next four or five scenes, it’s a lot more work. Also, I just allowed myself to be vulnerable and not try to over think her. She’s a sweetheart, she’s a bit of a crazy person too when she’s yelling. It’s her wedding day so she turned into a ‘bridezilla’. None of the things that I did on set are things that I planned beforehand. In fact, what I had written before is not what I acted because it was very organic.
How much of Dunni was in you?
I’d like to think I’m a sweetheart. Dunni is someone you just love. And if you ask those who know me what they call me, people call me Sunshine. I think Dunni is very much the same, she lights up the room and she’s not trying to be something that she’s not. I’d like to think that we have that in common. And when it comes to love, Dunni and I are the same, you know, love conquers all. God is love and all of that. I’ve been brought up in a home where certain values have been placed in you and when you grow up, there are certain things that don’t leave you. So, Dunni and I are pretty much similar, not completely because there are some differences.
Does that include the part about you being a virgin?
I don’t discuss my private life and I’ll never say that to a paper.
Playing the role as a woman, how would you explain the feelings of other women in that situation?
First of all, I’d like to say that if anyone is in that situation, it’s really sad because love should conquer all, we are all part of the same family. But the beauty about filmmaking is being able to speak for people even though you’ve not been in such a situation before. We are not unaware of this. In this life, you must see it outside. Even if it doesn’t affect you, you know people that it affects, but I think the underlying message of The Wedding Party is: inasmuch as that was there, love was the overall message. And I’d like to think that people would just allow things to be. It’s never about what someone wants or what one person doesn’t want. If a man has chosen a woman and a woman has chosen a man and God has ordained it, then why not just let them be. I can’t really say more than that because I haven’t experienced it before. But I would like to say that if anyone is going through that, it’s a real shame. And I hope it changes for the better.
In light of your role in the movie, what would be your advice to young brides?
What I would say is: I hope they’ve done a lot of prayer. I hope they are sure this person is the one for them and I hope they understand that this marriage thing is for the long haul, whether good or bad. Once they’ve taken their vows, I hope they take them seriously. I don’t know what the odds are in marriage, but what I do know is that when you are in it, you’re in it. Young brides, do a lot of praying. Do a lot of listening more than speaking. Young brides, just remember to live in each moment because once those moments are gone, you don’t really get them back. You have to live in the moment, you have to revel in it, you have to enjoy it and you just have to remember that hopefully, you grow grey and old with this person you’ve chosen.
In The Arbitration, you played the villain. How easy was it for you to transit to another character?
My job as an actor is to be able to wear many hats. And I think one thing that’s really great for actors is their ability to play different characters and hopefully, play them successfully. So when I saw the script for The Wedding Party, I was like Dunni is sugary sweet, I love her, in comparison to something I did not too long ago.