He’s been part of Nollywood’s biggest projects, including the highly acclaimed Black November in which he stared alongside Oscar-winning actress Kim Bassinger and other notable greats like Akon and Vivica A. Fox. This year alone, he has nearly six films to his credit among which are SuruL’ere, Couple of Days, For the Wrong Reasons and Hell or High Water, the latter [which] is poised to become a socially-conscious, thought-provoking and perhaps most-controversial Nigerian film yet. So he is apparently so hot right now, and to be frank I never thought it would be easy getting this superstar to agree to an interview. But I was wrong; for not only did he agree to a chat, we talked at length about the funny character he played in Mildred Okwo’s SuruL’ere and other sundry issues bordering on the actor’s life.
EMMANUEL BENSON: Nice meeting you, Sir. You are arguably one of the biggest names in Nollywood; how does it feel to be a major celebrity?
ENYINNA NWIGWE: Truth is, I don’t walk around with that in my head…I just like to LIVE, so ‘How that feels’ as ‘a major celebrity’ isn’t a question I know what to answer, But how does it feel to be Enyinna Nwigwe as a person? GREAT!
EMMANUEL BENSON: I got to know [through research] that you never set out to become an actor. How then are you able to interpret your characters so well?
ENYINNA NWIGWE: I stumbled on acting, true… Fell in love with the art and honed my craft through time, both informally as an actor (on the job) and through daily living, self-development, human interactions and other unconventional (if you like) means.
EMMANUEL BENSON: Let’s talk about your latest role in the Audrey Silver film SuruL’ere. Would you agree that it is the most hilarious role you ever played?
ENYINNA NWIGWE: It is by far the most ludicrously hilarious role I’ve played as an actor; YES!
EMMANUEL BENSON: How did you get the role in SuruL’ere?
ENYINNA NWIGWE: I got a call out of the blue from the director Mildred Okwo (Whom I’d always looked forward to working with) She mentioned having a role for me that was like nothing anyone would expect, she ran the character description by me and I was excited about it which surprised her as she wasn’t sure what my reaction would be. So basically I said yes and went on to develop the character using people I had encountered growing up who I thought had a lot of similarities with the character and made up everything else to what became the character GOD’S TIME.
EMMANUEL BENSON: Now considering your status in the industry, do you still have to attend auditions or do the scripts just land at your desk?
ENYINNA NWIGWE: Auditioning is standard regardless of status, Certain directors insist on auditioning talent before picking, But then ‘Closed Auditions’ for the ‘bigger’ actors (Private) And an open audition for general casting calls, it all depends on the process the production decides to run with, Though most just cast directly knowing exactly who they want for what role….Different strokes….
EMMANUEL BENSON: I know a little about Ms. Okwo and from what I know she is one filmmaker with high expectations from everyone she works with. Did you have to put in extra work convincing her you were the right person for the role?
ENYINNA NWIGWE: I did! But I was in luck. My choices were very good for her and so it was such a smooth sail working with her….Every actor’s dream.
EMMANUEL BENSON: Who would you classify as the best producer(s) you ever worked with in the industry?
ENYINNA NWIGWE: Too many! I can’t risk listing and leaving any out. The truth is that I’ve had a blessed run so far.
EMMANUEL BENSON: And which one of the many blockbusters to your credit would you call your best so far?
ENYINNA NWIGWE: That will easily be BLACK NOVEMBER.
EMMANUEL BENSON: How do you manage fame, sir?
ENYINNA NWIGWE: I manage it by not remembering it….Like I mentioned before “I LIVE”…..I try to stay grounded, understanding the illusion that is ‘Fame’.
EMMANUEL BENSON: You know I have to say you are quite unlike some celebrities I know. For instance, I thought it would be difficult getting you to grant this interview but then I was wrong. Are you usually this simple and nice?
ENYINNA NWIGWE: I’ll take that as a compliment.Well I guess there’s simplicity in Living….
EMMANUEL BENSON: Do you feel accomplished with your career goals?
ENYINNA NWIGWE: I’m very grateful for where I am, but still in the first phase of the journey.
EMMANUEL BENSON: How do you decide which projects to be a part of?
ENYINNA NWIGWE: I simply follow my heart.
EMMANUEL BENSON: What has been your most challenging role so far?
ENYINNA NWIGWE: I hardly find that I use the word ‘challenging’ for roles cos it usually feels like an adventure through the time, Black November did challenge me by having to put me up against (and to dominate) An Oscar Award Winner (Kim Basinger) An Oscar Award Nominee (Mickey Rourke) Akon, Wyclef, Vivica Fox, Perisa White, Anne Heche… I played the lead male role amongst such globally recognized names and I was just a boy from Nigeria doing that; and it was such a jolly good easy ride…So I guess it did challenge me, but not enough to break me; going by feedback about my performance.
EMMANUEL BENSON: Nice. So what would be your appraisal of Nollywood?
ENYINNA NWIGWE: Nollywood is growing exponentially, Currently reinventing and attracting international attention, So much I could say but I’ll keep it optimistic and simple by saying we are finally ready for the world!
EMMANUEL BENSON: What is your relationship with fashion?
ENYINNA NWIGWE: I have none really, if you’re referring to my fashion sense specifically then, I’d say I don’t really put too much thought into it, I dress according to how I feel but within basic rules….E.g I wouldn’t wear a Tux to the beach.
EMMANUEL BENSON: Any secrets as to why you stay this young, healthy and fresh asides being moneyed?
ENYINNA NWIGWE: I love to workout. And I’M NOT OLD….(Laughs)
EMMANUEL BENSON: Lol. How do you steer clear of controversies?
ENYINNA NWIGWE: I don’t create any.
EMMANUEL BENSON: Are you currently working on any projects?
ENYINNA NWIGWE: I’m currently in the US filming ‘When Love Happens Again’ Which is sequel to ‘When Love Happens’ And same time running promotions for my films running concurrently in the cinemas ‘Couple Of Days, Suru L’ere, For The Wrong Reasons & Remember Me. Been a very busy first quarter and I’m grateful.
EMMANUEL BENSON: Any special remarks to your fans?
ENYINNA NWIGWE: Stay living in your truth always, live life on YOUR terms!
EMMANUEL BENSON: Thank you so much for granting this interview sir.
ENYINNA NWIGWE: Thanks for reaching out.
~Emmanuel Benson reporting…