Talented Nollywood actress Omowunmi Dada is a force to reckon with in the industry. She has proven to be an actor with a difference. In this interview, the movie star talked about the recent movie ‘Oloture’ which she featured in and the role she played in it. She spoke about her challenges and how she was severely beaten by a boxer. Excerpt:
What motivated you into acting?
The love for the Arts motivated me into acting and the fact that I cAn be someone totally different per time in a bid to tell a story. I had always been artistically inclined. I was in Igbo Cultural Troupe in primary school, Yoruba Cultural Troupe in secondary school. Then, I went ahead to study Creative Arts at the University of Lagos. So, being an actor is very intentional for me.
You are all over the news for the role you played in Oloture, can you speak more on the character you represented in the movie?
Linda represents the strength of every woman. Linda represents every first born girl. Linda represents that woman that is ever willing to do anything to support her family and to make sure that her family gets the best in life or the better life than they have right now. Linda represents that woman that is very determined, dogged, very hard working, very resilient and goal oriented. In the true sense of it, Linda represents that girl looking for greener pastures and has just seen how crucial and how difficult the society is. She gives up on herself, seeking greener pastures in Europe. Unfortunately, she is going there for the wrong reasons. She knows what she is going to do, but because of the love for her family, her younger ones, she wants the best for her family and she has taken it upon herself to be responsible for them and so she makes the wrong decision. Like every girl, she makes sure everyone around her is happy at the expense of themselves.
What was the experience like while interpreting the character ‘Linda’ in the movie?
Becoming Linda on Oloture was an interesting journey. From the casting, to reading the script ,making research and preparing to finally becoming her during principal photography.
I will say that the Linda is one of the most challenging characters that I have played . When I read the script, I burst into tears. I realised that this was the reality for a lot of people out there. It was so emotional for me The first thing I did in the quest for looking for Linda was to go to a number of brothels, related with some prostitutes because Linda is a queen of the streets. I knew I couldn’t give a half-baked Linda. I had to deliver a Linda that was believable.I met with a number of prostitutes, related with them to understand their mentality, their motivation and the why they do the things they do. I realized some of them are actually nice people who life has just been unfair to them thereby making certain negative decisions.
Linda smokes a lot but Omowumi does not smoke at all as a person, but I had to learn how to smoke. It didn’t go well with my system. There were times I was sick from smoking on set, but considering the fact that the character was more important,I had to keep at it.
Also, I had to learn the Benin language. It was difficult to learn, knowing the right intonations and pronunciations. I would say a big thank you to Aunty Mo Abudu who insisted I spoke Bini and that I did it well. I must say a big thank you to Omoye Uzamere and Adesuwa Oransaye who helped me a great deal with translations, voice notes and more.
We Sometimes shot late into the night. We were scantily dressed, got cold, but I just had to be strong. I kept the hair on my skin to grow as I wanted to be raw and as true to the character as possible.
What has been the perception of viewers to the character you played in the movie?
people love Linda and the connect a lot to her. Her motivation, pain, struggles, quest for a better life as a young person in a developing country.
Have you been faced with any challenge(s) while interpreting a role in a movie?
oh yes, there has been challenges while interpreting a character. I remember Maja in the movie City of Bastards, who was Deaf yet not mute. The way she spoke was different. I had to consciously tweak my oral and nasal cavity to sound like her.
I also remember a boxing movie I did titled MOREMI. On the 3rd of my training for the role as a boxer, my coach organized a sparring session with other professional boxers. This lady I sparred with didn’t get the memo that I was an actor not a boxer. She beat me blue black. When the stopped the fight, I ran into the locker room and cried. For the first time in my life, I didn’t have the skill to defend myself. I almost dropped the role but then I am not one to run from challenges. Instead it got me to be more determined to train better and get the boxing skills for the role.
How was growing up like for you, any fun memories?
I remember dancing a lot with my daddy. It was our thing almost every Saturday. I was pretty much a tomboy as an only girl so I used to do wrestling with my brothers and play video games. We would set traps for a these birds called Oderekoko, roast it and drink garri with it. I remember travelling with my grandma and cousins to the village for Easter and New Year celebrations. we would go to the stream to swim and fetch water for the house. Roast garri with Neighbours. I remember always going to watch the masquerade dances too at the village square. That was a highlight for me and I miss those fun days
How do you cope with your male admirers as you are a very beautiful lady?
I believe every woman gets male admirers. I appreciate them but don’t let them get into my head.
What are those things you have done in the past that makes you regret your actions whenever you remember them?
I don’t regret anything. I fix what I can fix, pick the lessons to be learnt and Move on.