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May 17, 2012

Majid Michel On Nse Ikpe-Etim - "I really like Nse a lot as an actor"; "And I can tell you for sure that with her, there is feedback loop".

After four consecutive years as AMAA Nominee for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Majid Michel finally clinched the Award for the Best Actor of the year 2012, event held at the Expo Hall, Eko Hotel and Suites...I love this interview ... Is one of his best ... Expert:

WHAT category were you nominated for?Best Actor in a Leading Role for the movie titled Somewhere in Africa.

Who are the other actors in that category?
There is Menzi Ngubane for the movies How To Steal 2 Million, Chet Anekwe for Unwanted Guest, Jafta Mamabolo for Otelo Burning, Karabo Lance for 48, Wale Ojo for Phone Swap and Hakeem Kae-Kazim for Man On Ground. These are tough people. It’s a very scary and precarious situation to put me in but in all, we are celebrating ourselves.

Is this the first time you’re being nominated for the category of Best Actor in a Leading Role?
What! This is my fourth nomination consecutively since 2009. I was nominated in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 so that’s four times consecutively.

Do you feel bad that you’ve never won the award?
Being nominated is a big honour on its own. You usually don’t care about the winning. The winning just comes. It’s just the icing on the cake when you’re a winner. To be nominated for AMAA Award is a great privilege just like it is to win. To be nominated means that you are recognised. It’s not really about winning, winning comes and that seals the deal finally. But yeah, we are usually excited when we are nominated.

What will winning the AMAA Award mean to you?
That will be incredible. It will be memorable for me. 2012 is an extraordinary year on its own so having been nominated since 2009; if I win, it will be incredible.

You’re one actor from Ghollywood that is mostly wooed by Nigerian producers. What endears them to you?
An actor is an actor. Act is an act; it’s just like a painting on the wall. It doesn’t have to attract just Nigerians or Ghanaians or people from Kenya or South Africa. It must attract people from any part of the world and that is pure act. It should attract a Chinese man; it should attract a German. Regardless of where I come from, I am an actor. So, I don’t categorise myself as a Ghanaian or Nigerian actor. It just happened that I was born in Ghana. I’m a universal actor and can fit into any given role.

Majid Michel Honored

What’s your winning formula?
It’s just basically doing your homework right. But the first thing is that you must know it is your calling and know exactly what you want to do. So, it fits in, like a puzzle as if it’s yours. Then, you will be able to do things effortlessly. Also, do your research right. Read books concerning your career and you will excel. If you want to be a marketer or a business man and you feel the passion comes from inside, then read the best business books in the world. Read from business-oriented people that have made it in life. Do a lot of research, strategise yourself and add your talent to what you have learnt; then it comes up like magic. There is a lot of research to do; no matter how small the task is.

Did you have any formal training in acting?
Yes, I went to a film school. There is a school for everything. There are schools for dancing, singing and acting; so I went to a film school because that is what I wanted to do. That is what I’m saying, if it’s your calling then educate yourself on it; there is no magic to it.

Would it be right to say you’ve paid your dues before coming into limelight?
I have been around for a very long time. I didn’t just pop up from anywhere. I didn’t have any life after school until the time I was on TV. I finished school in 1998 and in 1999, I started. But there is always a time for everything. It’s a gradual process. I really warmed-up. Some people come in and just like that, they are known. Some people have to warm- up for a very long time before they are known. And I was one of the people that had to warm-up.

But not a lot of people know this…
That is the secret. There is a saying, “You’ve always got to be the little guy. Never let them see you coming”.

Majid Michel and Meagan Good

What has the industry taught you over the years?
It’s just a general understanding about life, people around you and the human nature. Even though you’re one of them you can actually step out, observe them and see exactly what human beings are about. The industry has taught me a lot. We have a lot of gatherings. You have a lot of meetings with people.

You travel all around the world to meet people, I had the time to study people and see how they are and it’s very interesting. I never knew a whole bunch of things before about human beings, human nature, friends around you, people around you and now I’ve learnt so many things I didn’t even know or think I will know. And all has got to do with the industry and the business I’m in, and I know I’m learning more. I haven’t seen anything yet.

What opportunities have you tried to grab for being here for the Award?
Well, if you’re an actor and you are out there already it’s a normal thing that people   will want you to endorse stuffs for them, people will want you to be in their projects, or even in charity projects. So usually we exchange cards,  numbers and contacts. But normally with actors that people already know, they usually come to you and propose stuffs.

What movie shot you into limelight? And how have you been able to manage the fame that came with it?
It was a movie entitled, Crime to Christ. It was done in 2007. I started acting in 2000 and I got my break in 2007.  That’s seven years after I started. I researched well for that movie. I really worked hard for it. I knew what was going to come. I already knew the reaction from people. I knew what I was going to do. And I understood the business because I had started a long time. I understood what I was getting myself into. I understood what the whole thing was about so it didn’t take me by surprise. I knew how to handle it. I know a lot of people will think they know you when they don’t. I understood the industry before I got into it, so I wasn’t taken aback.

So, as a famous young actor, are you saying it didn’t take you overboard, that feeling “of yes, I have arrived”?
Take me where?  There’s nothing about “yes, I have arrived”. There is nowhere to arrive. The sky is the beginning. You cannot arrive as an actor. What have you done to arrive? There is always something new to do and there is always a new actor to act with. There is always someone else to meet. There is always the next. There is a never a full-stop.

Majid Michel With Nadia Buari and Yvonne Nelson

What is your dream role?
I have done a whole lot but I haven’t played a blind man. I haven’t been blind in a movie. I have played something similar to Christ but I haven’t played Lucifer. I haven’t played someone who is possessed by a demon. I haven’t played an angel. There are a lot of things I haven’t done. There are lots of explorations that I want to do. There are a whole lot of angles and corners that I want to explore. Yeah, and I’m willing and ready to go all out to do it.

Any projects in the pipeline?
I have one movie with Nse Ikpe-Etim where I’m to play a twin. It is going to be shot here in Nigeria. It will be directed by Ogochukwu Oyeka. I don’t want to let it out now, we haven’t shot it. But we are about to. Preparations are ongoing for it. I’ve actually been paid more than half of the money; as a result, I’m fully involved. So, that’s the next thing I’m waiting for.  I really like Nse a lot as an actor and I’m waiting to see what she has to offer this time. I’m waiting for her to surprise me.

What are you expecting from her?
Nse has been acting for a while. Just like me, she’s warmed-up for a long-time. She never had that break, until not too long ago. But her delivery is impeccable. She has loads of facial expressions. I acted with her in Guilty Pleasures, where she played Ramsey’s wife. And I can tell you for sure that with her, there is feedback loop. Feedback loop is you feeding off your fellow actor and them feeding off you. And when you act with people like Nse who puts herself in the character, all we do is react, we don’t act anymore. We leave acting for those on stage. What we do is just react to what she’s doing and she reacts to what I’m doing; and as I surprise her, she surprises me too. So, it goes back and forth and that’s the feedback loop. And that is always magical.

You’re acclaimed to be Ghollywood’s ‘sex symbol’…
Sex symbol! Me? No.

When it comes to paying details to your roles, you go all the way…
Yes, it depends on the kind of director that I’m working with. I need to have trust in the crew I’m working with and that determines my limits. But I need an incredibly, outstanding story to do what I think you’re asking me to do; that I know will touch the spirit of the people that are watching the movie and draw something out of them.

Let’s take Heart of Man for instance?
The funny thing is that my name was never mentioned. It was just the movie that was mentioned, which is good because it was believable. And if it is believable, you can get away with it. That is what I am saying; you need to trust the people you’re working with to go the extra miles always. And that is good filmmaking.

And again I’m a strong guy; I know what I’m doing. That is the media. You have to understand the media and know how they are. They just write stuff for their money. At least, give me 20 percent of the money and I will give you more stuff to write about.

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