By Jet Stanley Madu
Sam Uche Anyamele is one of Nollywood’s best actors. Discovered and nurtured in Wale Adenuga’s production, ‘Super Story’ where he plays Richard, he is making his debut as a filmmaker and director with ‘Spouse’s Secret’, a movie premiered recently in Lagos.
Shortly after the premiere, TS Weekend engaged Anyamele in an exclusive chat and the UNILAG graduate revealed how the church played a significant role in shaping his career. He also spoke about his foray into mainstream acting, his most challenging film and most embarrassing moment. Enjoy it.
How did you discover your acting talent?
It started way back in the church. You know, church kept us busy so that we didn’t go into the world. Instead of going into one wrong or the other, the church ensured that we had something doing all the time. That’s where I learnt how to play music. That’s where I learnt how to sing. In fact, everything about the art I practically learnt in my church, Assemblies of God Church.
How did you find your footing in acting?
It was through ‘Super Story’. One day, I went for an audition like every other person; and for unknown reason, I had to wait and wait and wait before it got to my turn. I had an amazing patience that day. But I believe it was divine. God had scheduled that to happen to me and it turned out good today.
Can you list some of the prominent productions you’ve done?
I have featured in over 100 productions, ranging from dramas, soap operas, sit-coms and stage plays. However, I made my debut in the award winning Super Story series, ‘No Pain No Gain’. On the other hand, some of the stage productions I have done include ‘Midnight Blackout’, ‘Nana of the Niger Delta’, ‘Idemili’, ‘Prison Chronicle’ etc.
Which of these works can you classify as the most challenging?
There’s ‘Virginity of the Goddess’ that I shot back then. They took me to a bush in Osun State for the shooting. There were live snakes and all. But I think it worked; it actually worked for me.
One would expect that you’d have a fiancée at this stage…
I’m not yet married. But it would be soon. There are certain things I am waiting for. Maybe, with this production, I’ll do that soon.
Is there anyone by the corner?
I think there’s someone by the corner. When the time is right, she would show up.
How do you manage your female fans?
I take them in my strides, which means if you’re not flowing with me, I’ll let you go. But then, the content in me drives me so strongly that we may not be able to connect if you’re not goal-driven. And again, you can’t marry everybody. You can’t date everybody. So, the relationships are not tied around marriage. But, basically, I try to be as prayerful as I can. Even the friends, I try to be prayerful when I’m around them. And when I say prayerful, I mean being real prayerful.
Can you recall your most embarrassing moment?
One day, a woman saw me in the bus and thought she had seen Richard (my character in Super Story), and having dealt with Ronke (my co-actor), she felt she should also deal with me. So, she removed her headgear and started flogging me with it until I ran out of the bus. That’s the most embarrassing moment of my career.
With fame and fortune that come with acting, what do you think you’ve missed most?
I’ve not allowed fame or fortune to take me off certain things. I still go out to eat my favourite food. For instance, I still go out to eat ofe gamgbam, ofe oha (oha soup). No, I will never miss that. I try to be as real as possible.
What message are you passing across with your latest effort, Spouse’s Secret?
Basically, ‘Spouse’s Secret’ is encouraging families to be bonded and be as strong together as possible. We are encouraging families to be strong, and reveal their secrets so they can pull together. The storyline centres on the characters, Ella and Sam, a young and dynamic couple. The couple holds on to their secrets at the expense of their matrimonial peace and harmony. Amidst a myriad of side attractions and distractions, the revealed secrets eventually results into fruitfulness, openness and unimaginable love and romance. The problem here is lack of communication. The couple couldn’t tell each other certain things. And those things keep being an issue to them. So, until they embrace communication, they couldn’t have a peaceful home.
If given the opportunity, how would you change the face of the Nigerian film industry?
First and foremost, I’ll build a film village because once that’s done it will reduce cost by 50 percent. For instance, you want hospital, you want a lounge and they’re in different ends of the city. They are not concentrated in one part of the city. You shoot part A, you go elsewhere to shoot part B, and then return to shoot part C. By the time you go round, you’re exhausted.