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All 26 James Bond Movies, Including ‘No Time To Die,’ Ranked From Worst To Best

Dotun Thompson 0

I actually sat and watched all 25 previous James Bond movies (yes, counting Sean Connery’s Never Say Never Again) during the first month of “lockdown” in April of 2020. So when I give my usual “this list will not be your list” disclaimer, I should also note that this list won’t necessarily be the list I […]

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Home Acting SUNNY NEJI: WE CREATED A GREAT AND FAMILY FRIENDLY MOVIE

SUNNY NEJI: WE CREATED A GREAT AND FAMILY FRIENDLY MOVIE

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You’ve spent the last decade away from celebrity life, letting your music and the generation of artists it influenced keep your legacy alive. What was it about ‘Locked’ that made you break your creative hiatus?

I wasn’t on a hiatus; I just choose the projects I commit myself to very carefully. Charles Granville and I are good friends and we’ve talked for quite some time about working on a creative project together. He has a background in music and I’d thought that was where we’d collaborate. But when he told me about ‘Locked’, and sent me the script, I was intrigued.

 

What was so compelling about the character you play in ‘Locked’?

Answer 

I’ll let you in on a secret; I play not one, but two characters in Locked. I was thrown into the deep end of having to play two ‘identical characters with vastly different personalities and agendas. Nevertheless, I made sure I had fun with it.

 

Without giving too much away, what was the most compelling line of dialogue your character(s) had?

My favourite line of dialogue was between the characters I played, Taiwo and Kehinde. Taiwo tells Kehinde, “I have told you to stop talking like a rapper, you’re an old man o”. You’ll have to watch the film to find out why I said it.

 

You are joined in Locked by a mix of veterans and emerging stars. Who was your favorite actor to work with on the production?

I am partial to legacy, so I have to say Hilda Dokubo. Hilda’s taken some time away from the industry like me, so getting back into the rhythm of creating with someone who understood was a blessing on set. Not to mention that Hilda is easily one of the most versatile actresses Nollywood has ever produced, my Taiwo and Kehinde paled beside Hilda’s seasoned work.

If you had to guess, what moment from ‘Locked’ do you think will stay with the audience long after their cinema seats grow cold?

I think we made such a great film that I’m hard pressed to choose. It’s all kind of subjective anyway. But I think everyone who sees our film will leave with a heightened appreciation of the challenges mental illness can bring to a person’s life and how much we need to do to destigmatize all forms of mental illness. Mental health has always been a huge cause of mine, and the role written for me was compelling. The story arc ends with a truly unexpected twist.

 

How do you think this movie will change the narrative about mental health?

Mental illness is a spectrum and I don’t think the average Nigerian really understands this. If ‘Locked’ can help demstify some of the misinformation around mental illness while telling a great story, then I think our film has succeeded.

What’s going to surprise people about this movie?

If I reveal that, it will defeat the purpose of it being a surprise.

Who among the actors do you think played the most challenging character?

Not at all being partial, I’d say Hilda Dokubo

 

What sort of person is going to love this move?

I think everyone will love ‘Locked’. We were careful to create a film that wasn’t only great, but family friendly too.

 

How much a departure from Sunny Neji behaviourally were Taiwo and Kehinde?

Very different. For one, I personally have never experienced the power dynamic of sharing your life with someone else in that way. The twins are also Yoruba, and they have chosen somewhat different approaches to adulthood. They couldn’t be more different from me.

 

What’s your ritual for getting into character before you step on set ?

 I’m not one for a lot of extra. So I just run through my lines one final time.

 

If someone was going to make a biopic of your life, who would play you?

Subjects of biopics usually have little say in who is cast to play them, so all I have is a wish list which I’m keeping to myself. But I can tell you, I don’t think I want a popular actor.

 

Besides yourself, what celebrity would you like to see tackle this character?

Ramsey Noah and Desmond Elliot have both spent the last decade playing leading roles in Nollywood. They’d do justice to the script. If I had to choose someone younger, I’d choose Falz for his versatility.

ABAYOMI ALVIN: LOCKED WILL BE ENJOYED BY PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT AGES

As a rising Nollywood star, you have a whole roster of projects to attach yourself to. Why did you choose to work on ‘Locked’? 

The Producer, Charles Granville called me directly and pitched the idea of the film to me and the script really convinced me.

 

What was so compelling about the character you play in ‘Locked’?

Bobo is an unconventional character and his motivations are hard to explain. But as a man in love with secrets to hide and secrets hidden from him, he never truly relaxes. I try to mirror this anxiety in ‘Locked’ while ensuring that I don’t over do it and turn Bobo into a caricature.

 

What was your most compelling line in the film?

“I will strip her naked if i have to” by Tokunbo. It happens in a moment that shifts the plot dramatically, you’d have to watch it to understand.

 

Who among the actors do you think played the most challenging character?

I think Charles Granville really put together a very accomplished cast and I was honestly blown away by the kind of craft they brought to the project. But Hilda Dokubo had to portray the entire complex nuance and the paranoia that defines people living with schizophrenia. It took a toll on her, but she managed to give a near perfect portrayal. Sunny Neji dual characters, Taiwo and Kehinde come a close second. Playing dual characters is a challenge for any actor, especially one just taking on the challenge.

 

Besides yourself, what celebrity would you like to see tackle this character?

Okay, now this is a fun question. I’d say RMD because he is an excellent actor and technology will allow him to play characters at any age.  Funke Akindele because I think she is long overdue for a role that will earn her an Oscar win. Do I need to explain that of Ramsey Noah? Did you watch The Wolf Of Wall Street? If you have, then you know why I’d choose Leonardo Decaprio.

What’s your ritual for getting into character before you step on set ?

The moment before filming begins can be very chaotic. Everyone’s moving around, trying to sort out last minute problems. I take a very deep breath in that moment and center myself before I get into costume and into character.

How do you think this movie will change the narrative about mental health?

People of my generation are pretty awake about mental illness. But they are also unwilling to be publicly branded as schizophrenic. I hope this film will help him and other people who watch see that mental illness can be as subtle as it can be disruptive and that we need to learn to recognize mental illness in all its variations. Also, it doesn’t make you crazy if you find yourself a licensed therapist to help you understand your history and your present.

 

What’s going to surprise people about this movie?

Well, Sunny Neji’s roles. The ending twist and the costuming of this film are all high points in the film. I feel like choosing for them will limit the answers we will eventually get.

What sort of person is going to love this movie?

People of every age, from your grandmother to your baby brother will love the very pacing of the plot, our film’s crazy antagonists and heroes. We’ve made dresses with big ambition.

How much a departure from Abayomi Alvin behaviourally was Bobo?

Bobo is a fictional character, so as such he is allowed a lot more freedom than I am. He is also impulsive, a trait that I thankfully don’t struggle with. I feel Bobo would be someone I’d meet at a concert or art gallery, but I’d doubt we’d ever be friends.

What did you find most interesting about Bobo, the character you played on ‘Locked’?

I love the fact that Bobo is free and has a wild range of expressions. His boisterous nature and his relationship with his mother especially, I found unconventional but adorable. That allowed me a certain liberty playing him.

What did you find least interesting about the character you played in the film

I hate the fact that he comes off as a coward eventually. Especially in situations where firmness could have caused everyone immediate pain yet saved them from long term consequences.

 

Who do you think was the most rounded actor on the cast of ‘Locked’?

I’d have to say Hilda Dokubo. She has a way of capturing your attention. Few people know she is also very funny, but it’s a situational kind of humour that only happens when she is responding to commentary from her fellow actors.

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