In an industry that boasts of so many talented professionals, it is heartbreaking to watch some of the most gifted actors play the same role over and over again.
One would imagine that it would be really easy for any good actor to mimic or imitate divergent kinds of personalities; that every actor would strive to be versatile, to showcase as many personalities as possible to pick even the most unlikely script just to challenge himself/herself in a brand new role.
Unfortunately in Nollywood, some of the most popular actors seem to stabilize into their preferred roles, e.g. “bad guy”, “monster-in-law”, “rich kid” “village nuisance”, “Igwe” “mistress”, etc.
Speaking on “Jara” last year, former – Actors’ Guild of Nigeria (AGN) president, Ejike Asiegbu attributed the stereotypic and iconic characters portrayed by actors as a default generated by the entrepreneurial monopoly of Nollywood directors and producers over time.
Hence, the problem of rush hour casting has not only fine-tuned the Nigerian screen to seeing only a few faces, it has also forcibly made actors to act roles not fitting for their looks or age. In Nollywood, you get to see a 38 year-old looking lady playing the role of an 18 year old school girl; and a 35 year-old looking lady assuming a motherly role of a 30 year-old looking man; yet the make-up artists do not put much effort to redeem the mismatch. This however, does not justify the actor.
The problem with stereotypes is that it doesn’t provide room for growth; before long it becomes a boring routine and it denies the actor the opportunity of growing into a well-rounded, versatile performer.
So who tops the list? Find out below:
Jim Iyke: often typecast as the drug addict/ yankee returnee, handsome Nollywood actor Jim has overtime earned the nickname of Nollywood bad boy. A typical Jim Iyke role will have the following attributes – rudeness, “foreign accent” accompanied with a lot of cursing. Then, for clothes, he will stick with hats, sneakers and face caps and Jean.
We would like to see Jim in other roles – such as playing the role of a father, a politician or even a just King.
Patience Ozokwor: When we think of Patience, we think of an evil mother-in-law who is physically intimidating and spiritually manipulative. We can’t deny though, in her case, she plays the role to perfection. But it would be a pleasure to see her undertake some more challenging roles.
Chiwetalu Agu: No one can deny that Chiwetalu is funny and his usage of specific language slangs, phrases or cliche’s in each film has made him a household name in Nigeria and among Nollywood admirers abroad. But how much is too much? Is it time he acted something completely different?
Do you agree with my list? Share your thoughts.