After Sugar Rush premiered on Netflix and a watch party was organised for it’s viewing, Twitter came alive with tweets commending Jadesola Osiberu’s production for its sheer brilliance and comedy. Some others, on the other hand, pointed out how “stiff’ they believed Adesua Etomi‘s acting was, even going as far as saying that she only “gets roles in the industry because of the colour of her skin.”
All through the night and well into the next day, the top trends were all about people’s opinions on Nollywood actors. Tweets like “Adesua Etomi and Genevieve Nnaji do not have any range. If you are looking for range, go and watch Mercy Johnson” filled Twitter’s streets.
While I won’t comment on the above statements, I actually do wonder why many actors have, so far in their careers, displayed a lack of range.
Re Sugar Rush:
Adesua Etomi is a beautiful soul but she isn’t a good actor. I understand that probably Colorism and favoritism may be responsible for her getting roles on a regular but let’s be honest.
Tobi that wasn’t initially a great actor did better as an actor in this movie
— Ovwie Okojie (@JennaOkojie) July 4, 2020
Best female Nollywood actors in the last two decades:
2. Omotala Jalade
3. Mercy Johnson
99. Adesua Etomi
— Obi Of Onitsha🇨🇦 (@Uncle_clique) July 5, 2020
While actors like Benedict Cumberbatch, Hugh Jackman, Angelina Jolie, Angela Basset, Regina King, Christian Bale, etc., can beat their chest and say they have and can act any role given to them, there are probably only a handful of movie stars in mainstream Nollywood that can boast the same.
Truth is if you watch old Nollywood, it’s quite obvious that the actors from those days are leagues ahead of these new ones.
Adesua Etomi no act reach Stephanie Okereke, so I no see where the Genevieve comparison from dey enter. New Nollywood na just hype and Lekki friendships.
— 4 (@Probably_Dafe) July 4, 2020
So why is that? Below are three possible answers on “who may be to blame for the lack of range we have seen so far in the industry.”
Could it be that Writers aren’t writing challenging roles?
The idea of a character, his/her mannerisms, etc., all stems from the writer’s mind. He/she is in charge of making a character have either the aura of a god or act like a terrified Ant living in a world of giants.
Most characters in Nigerian movies feel like they were written with a particular actor in mind. It may be part of the reason many actors suffer being typecasted. For example, If the mother in the story is well-learned and speaks eloquently, then Joke Silva or Iretiola Doyle will most likely get the role. If the father in the movie is rich and can pass off as being hip or young, then RMD most likely gets the role. If you look at the recent movies the likes of Ramsey Nouah, Jim Iyke, Nancy Isime, etc., have acted, you’ll realise that there’s a trend.
Beverly Naya is always acting mean girl roles once nollywood typecast’s you as something you can’t escape it. This is the same thing affecting Adesua Etomi 🙄
— . (@_Temilorun) July 4, 2020
Could it be that writers in the Nigerian movie industry don’t write challenging roles/characters anymore? We hardly even have actors from one part of Nigeria act roles with the accent and mannerism of someone from another part of the country. It’s the little things like this can go a long way in transforming how an actor portrays a character.
Are Directors Not Doing Enough?
If the writers aren’t to be blamed, then should the directors be blamed? The director is more or less the one who gathers all the theoretical pieces together and creates a visible practical result for everyone to see.
We have seen the likes of Rita Dominic, Gbenga Afolayan, and Wale Ojo, all act in different jaw-dropping and award-deserving roles at different points. While we can say it’s because they are very good actors, we can also give the directors credit because they, in some way, made detailed guidelines of what and how they wanted the character to be on screen.
It is the job of the director to DIRECT the actor into becoming the character the script writer intended. This is why sometimes your favourite lose out on an award, not because they CANT act but because they didnt quite pull off the character in the movie up for nomination.
— Blessing Effiom Egbe (@BLESSINGEGBE) July 5, 2020
When directors fail at stuff, it leaves the actor exposed.
— Film Director (@MealdredO) July 4, 2020
So if many actors in Nollywood are accused of not having range, could it be that the people directing them are just not good at directing?
Should We Blame The Actors Themselves?
We watch and hear of actors from other industries improvising, pitching, and making changes to their characters so the final product will be amazing. Heath Ledger more or less totally owned the Joker role by preparing for it, improvising when necessary, even going as far as creating the makeup for the character, and he ended up giving us one of the best live-action adaptations of the character.
Robert Pattinson received more negative than positive reviews for his acting as Edward in the Twilight franchise and he went back to the drawing board, acted many lesser-known movies, trying out different challenging roles to better his acting, and now we can all agree that it’s paid off amazingly.
So what’s wrong with the actors we have here in our own industry? If the writers and directors can’t seem to figure out how to change a character or make the role better, why don’t they? One would think they’d be bored of acting the same roles over and over again.
Some people start out as actors and have movie stardom thrust on them early (Julia Roberts, JLaw), others become movie stars first and then deepen their acting chops as they go along (Will Smith, Jolie). Then there’s those like Streep, Denzel, Hanks who juggle the two excellently
— Wilfred Okiche (@drwill20) July 5, 2020
The best actors worldwide all have different acting credits to their names, but here we have a case of the actor acting the same roles in different movies or are perceived as ‘too stiff in a role than should be free,’ ‘too lousy in a role that requires calm’, or ‘too eloquent in a role that requires the Nigerian touch/mannerism.’
Who is to be blamed for the lack of range actors in Nollywood apparently have? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.