Behind the scene | 6 March 2007 15:00 CET


Call him a chip of the old block and you would just be hitting the nail on its head. Chubby-cheeked with complementary fine features, the likes that are camera-friendly and above average acting skills, in a matter of time, he stands in good stead with movie directors –whether in English or Yoruba language movies.

Within a year of taking to acting full time and dumping a thriving career in banking, Kunle Afolayan's profile has risen so rapidly and it has seen him play starring roles in a handful movies that grossed rave reviews. But he is not resting on his oars just yet.

Rather, he is taking all of that to another level, as he appears poised to toe the path his father followed to fame by producing a movie of his.

And now, he has concluded plans to shoot his own film and those in the know say it is a very ambitious project in terms of cast, locations, budget and story. Added to all of that is the fact that he has been able to get some corporate support for the film project.

Kunle confirmed all of that in an interview with our correspondent earlier in the week. The movie, which he described as having a story that cuts across the North and South West regions of the country, would be shot both in Kaduna and Ile-Ife, Osun State. In fact, he revealed exclusively to us that 70 per cent of the movie would be shot in Kaduna and the remaining part in Ile-Ife.

Explaining the choice of the two locations, the dimple-cheeked lad said the story cuts across the North and the South West and the crew realised that they could get the props and cast in the states.

"The story cuts across the North and the South West regions. Again, we realised that we could get the props and cast that we need in Kaduna. For instance, when we went to audition in the town, we realised that the Kaduna train station has become deserted, the place is devoid of life; we have to literarily revive the place. Really, we would need about 50 extras to create activities in the station because it is deserted; we cannot possibly take all those people with us from Lagos", he explained.

The usual practice in the industry is to star popular faces believed to enjoy wide fan base that translates into commercial success, but he graduate of the New York Film Academy, New York, United States is treading a different path. Rather, he decided to go for a few core professionals and some fresh faces with acting talents. And he has no apologies for that. Instead, he told Klieglights that it is wrong to keep using the same regular faces in movies, which was why he decided not to touch some of such acting stars.

"I am not using the regular popular faces that many are used to, but I am using some popular faces still; people like Kola Oyewo, Toun Oni, Laja Ogunde, Angela Phillips, Laide Adewale and Deola Oloyede–daughter of Tunde Oloyede, among others. "Why must we all keep repeating the same people? I believe if we continue to do so, then there won't be room for new talents. More so, I don't believe that only popular stars sell movies, rather I believe if the product is good, it would sell. And I can assure you that many people would be amazed when they see the movie," he gushed, adding: "I'm trying to do things right, the way others are not doing, thanks to the organisations that are involved in it. At the end of the day, people would be surprised with what we will come out with".Product placements and a continuous update on a website dedicated to movie is not a common feature of the third largest movie industry in the world, but Aresejabata in Mainframe Productions' hit film, Saworoide, told us he already has a sealed deal with two corporate organisations' support in that area. The two corporate bodies, MTS First Wireless and Dangote Group, he told us, have given him the go- ahead to use their products in the movie.

Though he had never directed a commercial film before now, he would be co-directing the new film with Biodun Aleja, who directed Oga. Even then, he believes the experience he gained directing a film at the New York Film Academy, where he had undergone a course in digital filmmaking, would come handy as he plays the dual role of a co-director and lead male character in the film.Meanwhile, Aresejabata, his name in Tunde Kelani's Saworoide, has stated that it would not be totally correct to say he is toeing his late dad's path.

He explained to our correspondent that while it may be right to say he is moving in his father's direction by producing a movie of his, it is necessary to point out that the kind of story he would be shooting is way off what his father had penchant for. "In a way, yes; I'm doing film just like my dad did and I still believe he would be proud of me after seeing the film. But, in the other way, no; because my late dad didn't do the kind of film that I will be doing. My father was more into love stories; though there are some romance in the film, the intrigues in this is more," he clarified.

But the biggest challenge of the happy-go-lucky fella is how to recoup the huge budget, estimated to be in the range of N8 million, he is pumping in the project. The enormity of that challenge is not lost on him and he admitted so to Klieglights, but he is nevertheless determined to surmount it and he told us he is putting his all into it and is certain it would turn out a success.

"I'm putting my life, my everything into the movie. Some marketers told me that it would be impossible for any movie with a budget that is more than N1.5 to break even, but I believe this one would be different. It would work and succeed; it would be worth everybody's while.

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