Interviews | 20 May 2007 10:53 CET


CAN we relive your childhood memories.
Were you very rascally then? No. I didn't have the opportunity to be rascal because I grew up with my granddaddy at Ebute Meta and I was well pampered. And not that I was just pampered, but I was over pampered because I was my grandfather's closest friend too. I was his favourite. So as a child, I never had a lot of time playing with my peers. I only had a great time playing with my granddaddy. It was a tight relationship, which never gave room for rascality or waywardness because when you are related to someone who is extremely far older, it's a different ball game. So, my growing up time was really a period of understanding what life was basically all about. I had the opportunity to know the difference between listening and talking.

As a child, were you in the habit of making people laugh?
Yeah actually. To a lot of my peers, and my friends, that we grew up together (from primary school to secondary school) they are always surprised, they are always shocked now. They are always saying that, 'It is not you. This is because when I was in school, the acting was not really in me. I had always been an introvert. I used to keep to myself. But within that innermost part of me, there was this zeal to do something that had to do with entertainment. I remember when I was in primary school, the graduating set put up a drama, and I was part of it. Then I said that was the last time. But after secondary school, I decided to be going to church. After a few months, I got myself involved with the African Church Youth Organization.

There I had the opportunity of doing a little bit of drama. I was given an opportunity to act and write a script, get the artistes together to produce for a society in the church during one of the anniversaries. I also played the lead. That was the highest level I got to in the world of drama when I was a child.

What is one inherent thing you don't like in movie industry?
Indiscipline. There is no discipline in the industry now. But then, there was discipline. When you were sitting close to someone who was much older, there was some sort of interaction with respect. There was discipline then in the industry.

What is the difference between Bayo Bankole and Boy Alinco?
Well, I'm a different person from the character of Boy Alinco. Boy Alinco is someone who is totally out of this world. And in life, you have people like that. They may not really look it but when they sit with you, the way they interact, the way they talk, you will know that the guy is sick. I'm different from Boy Alinco. It was just a character. In other words, my business was just to go to the field, play my part and get out. It is like a job.

It's just like the military: you see the soldiers going to war, you don't expect him to come back from war and start shooting. So, I go to the war, I shoot and after shooting, I come back home and I drop all my costumes. I drop my uniform and I become a normal being.

Do you find yourself mistakenly behaving like Boy Alinco?
Well it is very difficult for me to start behaving like that when I'm not wearing the costume. Then when I was doing it, it was very difficult for me but you see, whatever you see of Boy Alinco is just figment of my own imagination. In every at work, there is that person in it. Wale Adenuga and I might be in Alinco, he created the character. So, there must be a little of him there and that I have been able to actualize it. I'm very sure there must be a little of me in it. But whichever way, I think both of us contributed in building the character. He conceptualized it and I put life to it. The guy now acting the role of Boy Alinco is trying. He does it so well that one may believe I'm the person until you look at the face.

Do your fans recognize you without your costumes?
Oh yeah of course they do. Sometimes they see me and they stop me and ask, 'Sorry, are you Boy Alinco?' I do say yes humbly when I'm asked.

Are you enjoying your life as an actor?
Yes. If I come to the world again, I would love to be an actor but not a Nigerian. I regret being a Nigerian.

If I start telling you why, we may spend four hours doing that. Number one is the situation of the country is terribly bad for the artist. Secondly, the movie industry is filled with too many mediocrities, people who don't know their right from their left. Then those who knows their onions, are somehow timid. They can't come out and stamp their feet on what the industry needs because they feel that they don't have the money. I know that money is not everything but one thing I know too well is that the industry has been bastardised by mediocrities. No doubt mediocrity seems to be the order of the day in the movie industry as far as I'm concerned.
Look at the Yoruba movie industry for instance. They are not recognised by Nollywood. They belong to another body and that is the problem we have, not being able to have one body and speak with one voice.
That is why we have not been able to get the attention of the government. A Nigerian actor should be seen as one and not whether you are a Yoruba actor or an English actor.

How about the producers. Are they united?
Not at all. The producers too are not united –– it's a crazy situation if you must know. If we should have one solid body representing us, I bet you the industry would be better..
Let's get to know more of your vices and your weakness.
My weakness is disappointment. I get highly disappointed whenever any deal I hope will yield something positive just fizzles out. It hurts, it weakens me but I still try to forge on.

What is that misconception people have about you?
I'm an introvert but I can be an extrovert if I want to be. For that reason, people tend not to understand me.
Secondly, my colleagues think I'm not a serious person, that I'm careless with life, someone who doesn't know what he wants in life, but all these are misconceptions because within me is a serious person. Within me, I know what I want in life and all that.

Don't you feel bad about the misconceptions?
No, I don't allow them bother me.

What exactly can get on your nerves?
Nothing. I hardly get annoyed or get irritated over something. Honestly, I don't think I have seen anything that can annoy me because I don't get disturbed over trivial issues that can get other people annoyed. But what can annoy me is when a very close person steps on my toes.

Who is the closest person, your babe (girlfriend)?
(Laugh) No not at all. You know I'm married now.

Married? You?
Yes I am. You see, this is another misconception people have about me. I have a wife and two children, two girls.

What is that habit you have been trying to curbe?
On Fridays, I have the habit of going out. I have been trying to curb. My wife doesn't like it, but I have started making efforts to stop it.

Other sites The Nigerian Voice