“Born to a Lebanese-Israeli father and Nigerian mother, the actor has starred in over a hundred movies.”
Some memorable excerpts…
Your performance in ‘The Figurine’ has been hailed as one of your best. Was it your most challenging role?
My most challenging role is yet to come. I have quite a few but for now I will say one of my most challenging roles was ‘Dangerous Twins’; and I liked ‘The Figurine’ a lot. You need to internalise every character before you can play it properly. I have been acting in Nollywood for over 20 years now, so I think you have to give room as an artist to paint the scenario you want to play out as an actor.
I tend to look at roles which various artists around the world have played that are truly captivating and try to internalise it. If it’s a [regular] character like a lover boy, you internalise the love like as though you truly feel it. This is what I do with all my characters.
Any plans to go into movie production?
Yes indeed, some time soon. I will want to leave the front stage when the applause is still high and go [behind the scenes]. I may still keep acting till I am old and gray, but at the same time, I want to leave a good legacy behind in Nollywood so that it doesn’t remain just an ordinary industry without base or quality.
In the near future, I want a situation where parents will encourage their children to be a part of it.
At some point you were dubbed ‘Nollywood lover boy’, do you still take up such roles?
It was because I was about the only one around; but now we have the likes of Majid Michael, Van Vicker, John Dumelo, Nonso Diobi, and Mike Ezerounye, so it gives room for variety.
Are there any roles you can’t take?
I doubt it. I like a situation where I can play all kinds of roles. In my latest movie, ‘Perfect Church’, I was a homosexual pastor. I didn’t like the role at first but I said, ‘Come on Ramsey, don’t be stupid!’ I did not have any homosexual contact in the movie, but it was evident in the dialogue and mannerism. What I did was psyche myself to see my partner as a guy.
What do you love best about being an actor?
I hate watching myself, it’s so hard because I think I don’t get it right. Whenever I dramatise something I feel it so deeply, as though it happened to me in real life.
Which actors inspire you?
Al Pacino. I like him a lot because I use two of his movies to prove versatility. In ‘Scarface’ – he was street tout who became a don but was still a street tout at heart. Then there was a total contrast in ‘The Godfather’ where he was a totally composed Don; and then in ‘Scent of a Woman’, he played a blind guy.
Here in Nigeria, I see Aunty Joke Silva as a very good actor. I never looked up to a lot of Nigerian actors because many of them did not play the character that sort of groomed me. Fadeyi Oloro – Ojo Arowosafe in ‘Arelu’ – was one actor I used to like a lot.
What happened to your music career?
I only sing in my bathroom and I am content with that. I also want to add that I am not on Facebook. My so-called Facebook page is being run by those boys who scam my fans. I have never been on Facebook and up till now I don’t have a record. My wife knows that about me and anyone who is close to me knows that.
Read the full interview here