By Tony Ogaga
From humble beginnings as a student in the UK, Nigerian born Kevwe Ogunje is carving a place for himself as a force to reckon with. In this chat with Entertainer, Ogunje opens up on the joys of winning Europe’s biggest award for African, Caribbean and Asian communities the BEFFTA Awards.
Tell us about growing up?
I am the first of four Kids. Growing up was lonely. I was an only child for a long time. Dad was a chartered accountant while mum was in the university and working. I lived in the heart of Warri but was always locked up in the house so I did not really mix up with my peers.
How did you come into acting?
I started when I was at Benson Idahosa University in House of Theatre, a drama group. I was also an MC in school. I entered Nollywood proper in the UK, which is called Nollywood UK. I was invited by my friend for an audition for Shameful Deceit, directed by Ruke Amata and that was how the journey to five other productions started.
As a green horn what were your challenges?
They were just the normal challenges. Some directors and producers want big names in their productions forgetting that those big names started from relatively unknown names.
What project are you currently working on and why did you accept the script?
I am finalizing my TV series which I co-produced with my partner, Kande Fatoumata. I saw the script and fell in love with the story. It is a blend of comedy, romance and action drama entitled Twisted. Twisted was directed by Ruke Amata.
Could you compare the movie scene in the UK and Nigeria?
It is pretty much the same but in Nigeria, they operate on a little bigger budget. And the productions to an extent are richer in terms of story line and availability to the right casts needed. In the UK, 95 per cent of actors are on full time employment like I was until I made entertainment a business.
How did you feel as part of a team that won the BEFFTAs?
I feel very proud, fortunate and glad, not just because I was recognised but because the recognition came from a web series I produced entitled 2Sides. It was a trending comedy series where we put into fiction the realities black immigrants’ face daily in the United Kingdom.
What has been your most challenging role till date?
Playing the role of a cheating spouse whose manhood was locked by voodoo in London Na Wa, directed by Nelson Spykk. The film premiered at Odeon Cinema, London and the feedback I got was very overwhelming.
Who are your role models?
I have loads of role models. For acting I would say Richard Mofe Damijo, Olu Jacobs, Blossom Chukwujekwu, Deyemi Okanlawon, OC Ukeje and a host of others. For the Mcing part of my business I would say DJ Abass, IK Osakioduwa, and Tea A.