From Mildred Okwo’s “Surulere”, to AY’s “A Trip To Jamaica”, comedy seems to be taking centre stage this year. 2016 indeed promises to be an exciting year for the Nigerian movie industry with a lot of movies being shot at different locations across the country.
Notable film makers and stars are getting busier than ever, working round the clock not only to raise the bar but also, to tell the entire world that the art of film making has come to stay in Africa
Particularly in Lagos, it’s a different kind of experience. Two notable film makers, Lancelot Imasuen, and humor merchant, Opa Williams, respectively hit locations last week to shoot romantic comedy films that would point the way forward for the industry.
While ATM is being shot in Lekki, Opa Williams and his production team are currently at Ijede, Ikorodu, shooting his comeback movie, “Three wise Men.”
Besides their different story lines, the two movies starring big names in the industry, are bound to raise bar when they are finally released in the cinemas. When HVP visited the two sets last week, it was a different kind of energy as directors, actors, and stage hands were busy working tirelessly to make the set come to life on screen. You are mesmerized, watching the actors interpret their roles on set effortlessly, and waiting patiently for the directors to say “action.”
It took me 10 years to complete the story of ‘Three Wise Men’
Meanwhile, on the set of Opa Williams’ “Three Wise Men,” one could see professionalism at play. It was an assemblage of Nollywood veteran actors; Richard Mofe Damijo (RMD) who recently returned to acting after he left the industry for politics more than nine years ago, Zack Orji, Victor Olaotan, Tina Mba, Ebele Okaro; rising actress, Gennfine Kanu and other production hands, were working tirelessly to make the set come to life on screen.
The movie, which the humour merchant said took him about 10 years to put together, is also a comedy film. Described as one of the films that will set a standard for comedy movies in Nigeria, the film tells the story of three wise men played by the trio of Victor Olaotan, Zack Orji and Richard Mofe-Damijo who, having seen through the vagaries of life and are now at the waiting lounge, have reason to look back and see how well they have travelled the road of life thus far and what becomes of the last days of their lives.
Directed by Pat Oghre, the movie is about self-examination, betrayal, and moral re-armament.
According to Williams, “I’m over 50 years now. The question is, have I actually lived my youth? Have I actually lived my own life? So, the movie is about self-examination. One of the men lost all his pension money to a woman. So, I need to evangelise the kingdom; I’m moving to faith-based features. The question is, what do you do to life for moral re-armament. The movie is an expose of three men who are in retirement and what to do with the cash they got paid. Along the line, they forgot the Lord’s prayer. So, where do we go without God?”
On why he decided to feature the trio of RMD, Zack Orji, and Victor Olaotan in the movie, Opa Williams who created one of the biggest comedy shows in the country, “Nite of a Thousand Laugh” revealed that he initially wanted to feature the late Sam Loco and Justus Esiri. But when the two veteran actors died few years ago, he had no choice than to replace them with RMD, Zack Orji and Victor Olaotan. “I wrote the story about 10 years ago,”he revealed adding “I don’t see the film as a religious movie, rather “ it’s about moral re-armament.”
My stories take time and must have messages. I’m not prolific. Now is the age to do proper movies. I’m coming out with something different, with a lot of innovation, a lot of maturity. The movie will hit the cinemas possibly mid this year. It will take between two and three months to round off the production.”
Zack Orji said he was attracted to be part of the film because of the storyline, in addition to starring alongside RMD and Victor Olaotan.
“Opa has enjoyed a very high level of production and he’s coming back with “Three wise men.” The story is hilarious and at the same time, it has a very serious theme and the content of the story is also redemptive. That was what attracted me to be part of the production when Opa invited me. Also, the fact that I am starring alongside other Nollywood greats like RMD and Victor Olaotan is part of it,” Zack Orji said.