Actor Adewale Alebiosu is a familiar face in the Nigerian movie industry. He is widely known and celebrated for the unique way he delivers his role as a herbalist in movies. The Ogun State-born movie producer, in this interview by FEMI OGUNTAYO, shares his experience as a popular face in the industry without a car, as well as his career as an actor. Excerpts:
Who is Adewale Alebiosu? Your growing up and educational background?
I am Awo Lojo, Ololupena, I am the real Ifa Olokun. Those who are my lovers, who watch my movies well know me and know that is my slang. I am from Abeokuta and I grew up there too, I attended a primary school in Owode Isiun after which I proceeded to Egba Owode Grammar School and then later went to Kebbi State to further my education. Though Kebbi didn’t work out well for me because there were some crises there at that time.
How did you join the industry?
I have been in the acting industry all along, even during those times when I was in school. I would go to rehearsals and return. Then later when I left school, I joined the industry fully and went to Agege, where I met my then boss, Taiwo Balogun in 1979. He was a comic actor, I was with him for some time. Then I told him I would love to learn how to act the traditional way and he told me it wasn’t an easy role to play and that it entails a lot of things. It was after that I joined Fathai Adetayo popularly known as Lalude. He was living in Iwaja in Lagos and it was with him that I learnt how to act the traditional way of chanting incantations and all that until now that God has decided to show me to the world.
How were you able to carve a niche for yourself in the industry, especially with the kind of role you are known for?
Whatever one has a passion for, one would put his all into it. Apart from the fact that I trained under Lalude, I also did a lot of research personally. I would go to meet those herbalists and native doctors and ask them about some of the things that are not that clear to me. All because I wanted my acting to be perfect that even when the real herbalists watch me they would attest to the fact that all my incantation and acts are perfect.
Do you get some moments outside acting where people relate with you funnily in real life because they used to see you play the role of a native doctor every time in the movies?
I get that a lot. Some people would see me on the street on a normal day and ask if am a real herbalist and I would tell them I am not. Some of them don’t believe me.
So are you a Christian, Muslim or a traditionalist?
Well, I came from a Muslim background but now I am a Christian and I still go to church.
Do you have some regrets whatsoever since joining the industry?
I wouldn’t lie to you, I think about this once in a while. There are times people would invite me to their events for special appearances and when it is time to go there I would go in a cab or bike because I don’t have a car. So, when I get there they would be asking why I didn’t come in my car. This makes me sometimes regret ever venturing into acting because even those who I trained, some of them now have two to three cars. Sometimes I think\about quitting to start another career but I look at my age and I feel, it is too late. So, the passion and the hope that one day everything will change and it will be like a dream to me are what keep me going.
What has been your happiest moment as an actor, since joining the industry?
That would be the first time Odunlade Adekola invited me to participate in one of his productions. That day he called me and said he loves my style and would like to have me in his movie. It was a long time ago, but that day I was happy because I felt it was a great deal for me for Odun to call me to participate in his movie.
Many actors have always claimed the acting business is very profitable for them, is that the case with you?
Acting is profitable, but just like every other career, without support in one way or the other, it can be frustrating too.
If you could change a thing about the Nigerian movie industry, what would it be?
Firstly, our leaders are one of our problems. There are some things that should be attended to in this industry but most of these leaders are just treating this issue with I don’t care attitude, once they are okay, they don’t mind what is happening to others. This shouldn’t be so. For example, this issue we have with our marketers is something that is really giving me serious concern. Sometimes you take your movie to these marketers and the proceeds you get from it might not even be up to the production cost. Also, these marketers sometimes unite against a particular producer and tell each other not to take a project from a particular producer who has offended one of them and they will succeed in doing this because they are united. Our leaders too ought to imbibe this kind of culture to also achieve a lot of feats for their members. Let me just leave this matter at this junction like this for now.
What should your lovers and fans expect from your brand moving forward project-wise?
I have a project I am currently working on that I have not finished because of the paucity of funds and I don’t just want to do it anyhow. If you check some of my previous movies, one that I titled ‘Ogbe Alara’ is on Apata TV on YouTube, people watched it and it received a lot of positive reviews and comments. A lot of them were surprised I could play the role I played there. I played the role of a young man as opposed to the usual old man herbalist that I play. So this new one I am planning to release soon is titled ‘Mr Gold’, I pray I get the funds I need for this project, it is going to be a bomb also.
Some words for your fans
I need their assistance at this particular moment in my life. We do these movies to teach people lessons and also help build many homes, we also need assistance. Just like I said earlier, I need a car, even if it is just a small one, to help make my work easier and more convenient. So, they should help me. On the project I said I was working on too, they should please help me with it, any form of support will be greatly appreciated.