By Christian Agadibe
Malaysia–based Nigerian actor, Abbey Abimbola aka Crackydon recently premiered Blackout, his latest movie inspired by the plight of Nigerians over erratic power supply.
Crackydon described Blackout as a high budget, interracial movie that features lots of international actors. In this interview, he opens up on the biggest sacrifice he’s ever made in his career and experiences with Malaysian women. Here are excerpts.
Tell us briefly about your background?
I am the first born of seven children from my mother’s side. I grew up in Mushin, Lagos. I attended Archbishop Aggrey Memorial Secondary School and then proceeded to Olabisi Onabanjo University but dropped out before I could finish.
What’s the inspiration behind your latest movie, Blackout?
I came up with the story of Blackout because of the situations Nigerians are facing, for instance the lack of electricity. You can imagine a country of about 200 million people depending on 4,000 to 5,000 megawatts of electricity, when we have the potential to generate nothing less than 12,000 megawatts. I believe that a country with inadequate power supply is living far behind the rest of the world. Rwanda is part of Africa and just three years ago, it became the first country in the world to use drone technology to advance the healthcare of its people. Tell me, are we still the giant of Africa? Why is it that Nigerians still depend on generator considering its health hazard? That is the reason I said I didn’t make the movie just for money, but to expose the ills in the country.
What were some of the challenges you encountered shooting the movie?
Some of the challenges encountered during the shooting of the movie included moving from one location to another, as some of our vehicles broke down on the road. Again, I could not get proper equipment; I had to improvise. And while I was shooting the movie over there in Asia, one of my stars miscalculated his moves and he almost lost his life. Thank God everything went well.
Do you think the movie was able to address its motive?
The major reason I shot the movie was for people to support the motion, and even if they won’t provide solution to the problem, at least we can show some Nigerians the root of our problems. If you ask me, the root of our problems in Nigeria is lack of electricity.
What is the net worth of the project and how much was spent to make the movie?
Considering that we had to travel to so many places, and then including post-production, the total budget for the movie is N55 million. And if I have to consider a lot of things, then I will say N60 million, because there were some things we did not pay for as a result of our partnership with MarasTV, one of the biggest channels in Asia.
How did you get into the movie industry?
I got into the movie industry about 18 years ago, and coming into the industry my passion was different. But getting into the industry and featuring in one or two movies, I started seeing some things differently to the point that I had to travel out of the country. It wasn’t easy for me because by then I had done over 150 movies and yet my pocket was freaking empty. You can imagine spending so much money and not getting returns; that was the reason I decided to change my game and leave the country.
What was the first movie you featured in?
My first movie was with Olu Michael, and that was my first English movie; while my first Yoruba movie was Orukan.
What’s the biggest sacrifice you’ve ever made for your career?
The biggest sacrifice is travelling out of the country. At the time I travelled out, I was doing extremely well but I had to leave the country because I wanted to see beyond my nose. Thank God I am doing very well now because I have done a lot of international movies.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learnt in the course of your career?
You have to see beyond your nose; do not get stereotyped and remain stagnant, try and see beyond your industry. For me, going out of the country was the biggest sacrifice. It wasn’t that easy until I had to learn martial art before I started getting the needed acceptance. Nevertheless, I learnt great lessons through that process, and today it is really paying off.
What personal qualities have helped you get to where you are today?
It’s consistency and perseverance because I simply refused to give up on myself. I appreciate the fact that I have followers who have been so supportive, but the major thing is that I never gave up on myself.
How many movies have you produced so far?
I have produced close to eight Nollywood movies, but internationally, Blackout is my debut movie.
How many movies have you featured in till date?
I have featured in over 50 Nollywood movies and over 50 international movies, including Asia and Indian movies. So approximately, I have done more than 200 movies.
What current project are you working on?
I am working on another movie. Fifty percent of it will be shot in Nigeria and 50 percent will be shot in Asia. I don‘t want to disclose the title now.
From experience, which are much better in bed between Nigerian and Malaysian women?
That’s a tough question. Malaysian women are far better in bed than Nigerian women. But Nigerian women have more strength in bed.
Why did you feature Jaywon in Blackout?
Jaywon did not feature in Blackout but he made one of the soundtracks. Also, he’s one of my line producers and he stood by me throughout the production.
What advice would you give to up and coming actors?
Never give up on your dreams, keep your heads up. People will not support you at first, but if you don’t give up on yourself and keep going till you excel, definitely people will celebrate you.