IK Ogbonna speaks on AMVCA nomination

On June 30, Nollywood actor IK Ogbonna was nominated for Best Actor in a Comedy for his role in Damijo Efe Young’s “Excess Luggage,” marking his second AMVCA nomination. During an interview the actor talked about the nomination, which he says wasn’t exactly a surprise to him.

He also talked about being stereotyped in the industry, being ‘one of the worst Nollywood actorss’ at a time, and choosing “The Washerman” over a London set film which would have paid him more money.

Read interview below:

On not being surprised by his AMVCA nomination

I won’t say I was surprised, because from the movie set, all the actors involved – Mike Ezuruonye to Queen Nwokoye, to even Mercy Aigbe and Nino who came to visit us on set – kept saying, ‘you’re going to get a nomination for this performance.

And I was on the thread. I wasn’t sure if it would happen. I went on to win a few awards: African Film Festival Best Supporting actor and World music and Independent Film Festival in America, with the same movie.

So, I have won a few awards with this particular project, and seeing the AMVCA coming through and still nominating me is just another form of encouragement for me and my craft.

On breaking stereotypes

I think the mind works in a very powerful way. When you focus your mind on a particular thing, you start attracting those things your way.

I was stereotyped to be the gigolo and fine boy actor [and] I wanted to desperately break out of that stereotype. I created the story for “Excess Luggage,” and I didn’t know what character I would be playing while creating it.

I was probably going to play the role Denrele Edunplayed, but the director insisted that I played that particular character. So I was like, ‘okay, let’s make it happen.’

The first time I got nominated, I played the normal fine boy character, and that was 2014. In 2015, I got nominated again for another fine boy character, and the following year, I got nominated for a different character I played in a movie called “Stop,” where I was an Ebola patient from the ghetto. And now this. It’s all thank to God and everyone who believes in me.

On being called one of the worst actors in Nollywood

I just came back from Enugu before I went to Liberia for my first epic film with Nadia Buari, and no one thought I could pull it [the epic film] off. But I got on set and a director that believed in me did the right costuming and makeup, and then boom!

It’s a refreshing feel. I have been in the industry for four to five year now and I don’t want to do the same thing back to back.

I still get those type of roles – the movie I am working on with Mercy Johnson is actually a ‘fine boy role,’ but I also get called for those different roles because now, people can see my versatility. And that’s my joy.

When I started acting, I was regarded as one of the worst actors in the industry and people didn’t believe in me that much, but I am one person that always believes that I can do anything.

So anything I start, I must get to the apex of it. So I had to go and do my research. I researched different websites and YouTube pages for acting classes. And today, I am nominated for virtually every award you have out there.

It’s refreshing to see that as I put in more work, it’s being recognised.

On going for more challenging roles

I like challenges, the bigger the challenge, the more smile I have on my face. I get all kinds of scripts.

Like “The Washerman” film, I was supposed to be shooting in London that same period – the pay was bigger, but it was the same kind of [old] role – and Etinosa calls me and says, ‘IK, I want you to be on this particular project.’

I remember I got back from Atlanta that night, and I was on her set the next day. So I was supposed to go from Atlanta to London for that project, which would probably have been, in the eyes of the world, a bigger project, but, I went for a nicer story that would portray me in a different light.

IK Ogbonna would next be seen in the upcoming comedy film, “The Washerman,” set for release this August.