He is a movie superstar and is fast becoming a BoxOffice king having featured in at least 2 of the top 5 highest grossing movies of 2014 according to FilmOne Distribution company. At the official premiere of comedy movie Gone Too Far at the Filmhouse Cinema Samonda in Ibadan, I had a very quick interview with him on the red carpet. He is eloquent, confident, opinionated and loves to have fun. Even though he has shot movies in Nigeria, London, South Africa and elsewhere, he doesn’t feel perturbed, nor allow his success to make him inaccessible. He has eyes set on bigger stuffs; in spite of the fact that he is a superstar, he is also your regular guy. This is my exclusive interview with one of Nollywood’s brightest stars, OC ‘The Great’ Ukeje.
IBPulse: Comparing #GoneTooFar with the movies you’ve done in the past, what is unique about this production?
Ukeje: I’ve done a lot of movies in the past, this time I tried my hands on comedy. This is my first attempt at comedy and I’m quite happy about that. It was an interesting film to shoot in London for 5 weeks and I had fun doing that.
We can now say that cinema is back in Nigeria. How do you think this would impact the quality of productions in Nollywood?
I think if we consider the fact that the number of cinemas we have affects how much money is being grossed and is on what the industry is based on as far as returns, then we will know that it’s a good thing that we have a cinema culture even though we are trying to get everyone from every stratum, we don’t want to do something that is just for the elites. We want to do something that people can go to the cinema and they can afford to watch the films.
But the most important thing is you know that once your film is up in the cinemas, a lot of people get to see it and they will criticize. I think it would help us to work on the quality of films we are doing and as long as the films that come to the cinema are being regulated by the appropriate authority, it would also help us to improve the quality of our films which is what we are also hoping for.
You’ve on the movie screen consistently now, how many more movies starring OC Ukeje should we still look forward to seeing this year?
Right now I can speak for Gone Too Far, The Department, Heaven’s Hell, I’m not sure of any other one yet but we will keep fingers crossed. I shot a movie in South Africa, I’m not sure yet but I believe it should be released this year.
You are one of Ibadan fans’ favorite actors. You are in Ibadan today and could have heard a lot about our city. What conceptions and misconceptions have you been fed with prior to this visit?
To be honest I’ve not heard any conception about Ibadan in term of cinema, it’s just I’ve always been told that Ibadan is a slow town, things are easy. But I’m glad that I’m seeing a lot of people who have turned out for the film and especially because they are regular people, film goers and I’ve had the opportunity to take pictures with them as well which is pretty different to what happens in Lagos. It’s good.