Kelvin Ikeduba is widely known by his fans as the Bad Boy of Nollywood because the graduate of Economics from the University of Benin has natural affinity for the “Bad Boy” roles which he interprets with smugness and ease.
Though he started with English movies but his foray into the Yoruba genre of films has been greeted with enormous success. In this interview with Showtime Celebrity, he speaks on why he is a cross-over actor, his kind of women and his career that is seeing the both world of English and Yoruba films.
Excerpts: By Ayo Onikoyi
My journey into Nollywood
I started acting professionally in 2000. I started with English movies but at a point, I thought of versatility and diversified into acting in Yoruba films since I never had any problem speaking the language.
I wanted a challenge and I saw Yoruba films as a challenge. As a non-Yoruba who decided to act in Yoruba films and still be prominent. Basically, I didn’t go on my own, it was Femi Ogedengbe who introduced me to take part in a movie by Saheed Balogun. The film was Omo Alhaja, and what I got was a bit part, a kind of one-scene shot. My next movie was Ogidan by Kolade Afolabi. There I got a supporting lead role, first time I got a lead role in a Yoruba movie and that’s how it all started.
Pitching my tent with the Yoruba movie sector
Like I said earlier, I love challenges and it is not true that I have left English movies, I haven’t. Last year, I shot three English movies but they were project movies. I guess I am getting used to doing project movies in English now.
I shot a movie for a producer that came from America, A father and a Jewel, it also starred Segun Arinze, Gloria Young, Funsho Adeolu and the rest of them. Another was City of Gangs produced by Nonso Diobi, a project film too. The film is due to hit the cinemas very soon. Right now, I am a cross-over actor and it’s paying off well for me.
Making more money from Yoruba than English movies!
No. The thing I am trying to say is that people have been able to see that through Yoruba films, Kelvin Ikeduba is able to diversify and take up more challenging roles. In English flicks, Kelvin Ikeduba is known only as a bad boy or action figure. But in Yoruba sector now, they know me also as a bad boy.
Comparing Yoruba movies with English counterpart
I don’t want to segregate, the thing is this: both sides are under Nollywood and if I am going to talk in terms of that, I am going to talk in terms of Nollywood. Nollywood, like every film industry has its ups and downs. Some years ago Nollywood was a baby and a baby before walking must learn how to crawl, how to stand before learning how to walk. Story-wise, technically, Nollywood was a baby but right now it is standing, but more technically than story-wise. To tell you the truth, most of the stories are recycled people just change characters. I wouldn’t say it is because we lack scriptwriters, we have wonderful scriptwriters in Nigeria but basically most of the producers are myopic, they don’t want to pay for good writers to write stories that ‘s why they keep recycling stories.
Principles guiding my acceptance of movie roles
What attracts me to a story is to act. I love acting and I tell you if I stay for two weeks without acting, I feel like something is wrong with me. The passion comes from my heart. What really attracts me to a story is when the story itself is very unique before I now look at the character and later the money. For me, the story must be very good and the character must be challenging.
Coping with female fans
I am a very appreciative person. If you appreciate what I am doing I will appreciate you back, for real, without anything at the back of my mind. When it comes to the issue of women, I, Kelvin Ikeduba, have never seen myself as a lady’s man. I am just a guy, I don’t carry anything on my mind
Not being a lady’s man!
No! I do like women. See, the thing is this, if a lady likes me it does not mean I have to feel on top of the world.
What am I implying!
What I was saying is that I was brought up well, from a Christian home. Forget the ‘ruggedity’ I am known for. After being trained well, I retrained myself. Most times, I don’t like mistaking white for yellow or blue.
I am in a relationship. Even me, I am confused and I am asking myself: are you in a relationship? But I want to believe I am in a relationship so when people ask me I can say I am in a relationship.
I am now! But the relationship does not look like a relationship. Sincerely, I want to believe there is a woman in my life but this woman does not know she is the woman in my life. See, the truth is this: I am a very careful person and from one or two of my friends that are married I have learnt a lot of things about women. I don’t like giving women assurances and it turns out at the end of the day she is not the woman God has destined for me. You understand. When the time is right I will invite you guys.
Picture of an ideal woman
My ideal woman must be God-fearing, beautiful inside not necessarily outwardly though I like women who are attractive. The most important thing is she must be a mother.
Have sex on set
And they will still pay me my fee. And the girl fine? I will do it (laughing)
Movie that launched the brand ‘Kelvin Ikeduba’
If I have to start with English I will say it is “Went to the Top”, the movie that won the Best Upcoming Actor where I played the role of personal assistant to a movie director. Another one in the English genre is War Game, a campus film that was very bloody and Yoruba, definitely Ogidan and Ibosi Oru.