With a background marked by cooperating Breeze (2001), Omugwo (2018)
and now (Mokalik), famous Nollywood actress, Ayo Adesanya, has a rich history of working with expert director and producer and actor, Kunle Afolayan. She told ADEDAYO ODULAJA in this meeting how she has stayed significant and what dealing with Mokalik intends to her.
What was the first thing that came to your mind the moment you were approached to be part of Kunle Afolayan’s Mokalik?
While there was no way I would have imagined it would be as refreshing as what we now have ready as the film, the first time we talked about it, all that came to my mind was that there was no way I would miss being on set as an actor in this movie because at the end of the day, it is a film being directed by Kunle Afolayan and I have nothing but great memories about and positive reviews of the works we have done together in the past. So if I must tell you about the process of joining up with the rest of the cast and crew, I have to let you know that I didn’t walk; more like I ran to join them on set.
You just mentioned the fact that you guys have worked together more than a few times in the past, was that enthusiasm linked to your experiences with his productions in the past?
That is an emphatic yes. It is on account of the fact that I know him, his intense directorial manner and how much attention he pays to every detail. I am sure nobody is surprised he is so highly rated in the industry and has a trajectory of getting better and bigger with each film. All these, combined with the joy that I derive from working with him and how people have received the works within Nigeria and beyond make me always more than willing to work with him.
But didn’t you think not much story can be infused into a film based on the regular mechanic?
I didn’t think that way because first you have to know the person you are working it and the direction a film is likely to go. The other issue is treatment, that is how you want to approach the story to make it exciting with sub-plots while ensuring you do not lose sight of the main story. Also, that is why we have scripts, which normally get sent to you and go through, then you go for reading sessions to try and bring it to life. All these would have given you more than ample idea regarding how the film or story will unravel and so on and don’t forget there is no way he would have called me if there was nothing for me to do in it. Reaching out to me or calling on me to come and see if I could play a role shows there is a purpose to be served and all I need to do is ensure that works according to plan.
How do you consider the import of the message thinking about the society now?
The film is not just as exciting as possible but the issue it treats is important and it affords everyone the chance to take a look at life from the other side even if once more. The intention is to entertain and also help people see things in a different perspective and I hope that happens.
As established, you have played many roles in films by Kunle Afolayan, how do you rate your role in Mokalik?
It is always difficult to rate but what I can say is, this is the latest; so you would understand if it excites me more than the others. Another might come in future that I will be hopelessly enamoured with even if you call me biased. But more importantly, I can’t rate them because works done with Kunle are in their own class, you can’t compare with others.
The film is ready to go to cinemas as a movie, what are you expecting as an actor in this film?
The expectations I have is for it to go to cinemas normally and do very well, for Nigerians to accept and absolutely fall in love with what we have been able to put together.
As an actress, you have been around for a while yet you are still very relevant and leading across the industry, what will you put this down to?
I would say it is all down to the grace of God because as much as I can confidently say I put my best into every production I have been involved in. I don’t consider myself better than anybody else. So, it’s just down to God’s grace and the people who have always shown me love all the way.
At the beginning of your career, you were more aligned with mainstream Nollywood, the English section, but you then became a fixture in Yoruba. How is that playing out now?
Well these days I am still getting as many roles as anyone can imagine from the English section of the industry. As I am speaking with you, I am billed to head to an English movie location and I must tell you those are the bulk of the scripts that come to me. And when they call me, I have to go.
Do you have any movie of yours that is under production?
Definitely, I have plans to also fete my fans this year.
Would you like to put a name to it and when your fans should expect it?
Let us keep the issue about the title under wraps for now but in terms of when to expect it, let them keep their fingers crossed and watch out for it. Definitely before the end of the year.