Veteran Actor, Tony Umez finally shows up in the Limelight
He has been there right before the industry started gaining its waves. He came, he committed and left. But there’s no denying, Tony Umez was a different kind of actor.
He most often acted in dramas but if there’s one thing no one can deny, it’s that he has a comic timing that in some way captures the vulnerability he tends to portray.
When he is remembered, Nollywood enthusiasts always picture that vulnerable man due to his own ill-conceived actions often ends up with the wrong woman that ends up domestically abusing him.
The idea alone sounds comical, so does his performance, but what sets him apart from comical actors is how he captures the emotions of a vulnerable man even with his size.
The Veteran Actor recently was a guest on Rubbin’ Minds, a youth-oriented TV interview programme hosted by Ebuka Obi-Uchendu on Channels TV.
On the programme, the Veteran thespian shares the journey throughout a 30 year acting career in the movie scene. He narrates what led him to joining the industry in the first place, and what has become of the industry after his exit.
“Money is what got me into acting in the first place. The model I had in my head then was the Hollywood model where you hear somebody made about $20 million dollars doing one movie and I was like “Whoa!”, it was wonderful to me, there was serious potential.
Then I entered into Nollywood and my first movie, I played the lead in my very first movie. I played Chief Ikanga and I was to be paid N23,000 but up till tomorrow, I’ve not been paid. So my reason for venturing into the movie thing, I didn’t get it. I did one other movie, I don’t think I was paid too. So I felt it wasn’t an industry I would survive in so I left for about two years. I was doing private tutoring, I was making some money from that that kept me going.
After about 2 years I came back and did the movie The Princess where I starred alongside Zack Orji before I hit it big with Divergent and they paid me for that one.”
About the progress of Nollywood, Tony Umez said:
“I am impressed with how far Nollywood has come. We can do better but right now the way it is, we have done really well. Seriously we have done really well. And of course technology has come into play so things are much better. Then, it was gritty, it was grueling, it was hard work.”
While speaking on the perceived dip in the quality of talent in the industry in this current age, Tony Umez shared his criticisms:
“Yes (the quality of talent has dipped) because then, you had to know your onions. I’m not saying there aren’t wonderful actors now, I’m not saying that. But I’m just saying that the toil isn’t there anymore.
The passion that drives you to be better isn’t there anymore. It’s showbiz. We now focus more on the business part of the show so it’s a little different. Now it’s just be on set, be lucky enough to be on set and technology will do the rest for you.” He argued.