Hiyah, sorry i'm just putting up a post now...my weekend was busy!how was yours tho? Got another interview for your "perusal"(ooh,big words!)If you are a fan of Richard Mofe Damijo,you're going to luvv this...myt seem a bit lengthy,but the guy sure is interesting...Enjoy!!!
RMD finished his call, unfolded his tall frame from his chair and headed in my direction. He clasped my hand and gave me a bear hug.
“How you dey? Wetin dey happen?”
I repeated the threat I had issued him earlier in the day. “The fact that you missed our original appointment will be part of the story” I warned.
RMD unleashed one of his famous billion-watt smiles.
“I am really sorry, I had a voice-over session at the studio, a bit of an emergency” he again apologized.
I thawed somewhat.
“How was your trip to London”? I inquired
“Fine, I go receive award for the place” he answered.
I wagged a warning finger.
“The interview has started and you are still speaking pidgin to me”!
His eyes narrowed. A sudden realization that his friend was also, for the moment at least, his inquisitor.
He swiveled his chair around and retrieved the award from the mantelpiece.
“I was in the UK to receive an Award” he repeated, this time in Queen’s English.
There were about three mobile phones on his desk. One of them rang, interrupting our conversation.
He looked inquiringly at me.
“Go ahead, no problem” I assured.
“What role do you enjoy most, family man, businessman, actor, lawyer, or teacher ?” I asked when he finished the phone call.
RMD paused for a few moments to reflect.
“I enjoy the role of being a family man the most, although I don’t see my life in those compartments. There is a seamless flow and I just be those things I am, everything complements the other” he mused.
I decided to reverse the question and so I asked RMD what was his toughest role in his career as an actor.
“Toughest role?” he repeated.
“Maybe Ozzidi. However, I love challenges and cutting-edge roles, so the tougher the better” he laughed.
Right, so what would he regard as his career defining role?
“Segun Kadiri in Checkmate” he responded without hesitation. “It was a role I was given the freedom to develop the character, so I incorporated things like the feet on desk, scratching under the eye and so on” . His face glowed from the memories. “Up till today, some people still call me Segun Kadiri” .
Having achieved so much, what else would RMD love to do? I wondered.
“I would love to be able to paint” he answered without hesitation. “I collect and curate artworks but I can’t paint at all”. He shook his head despairingly at his fate.
“To play the saxophone”
I shot him a sharp glance.
“You want to compete with Lagbaja?”
RMD roared with laughter
“No! It’s just something I would love to do”
How about singing then? Any future plans to release a CD?
RMD shook his head.
“I can sing folk songs, but you know what, Gbenga? I can’t sing in English. I would love to voice-over an animated movie but singing?” His voice trailed off as he reflected on the question. “OGD All-stars is the farthest I can go” he concluded.
So, which singers does RMD like?
“My tastes are wide and varied, from Tunji Oyelana & The Benders, LadySmith Black Mambazo, Frank Sinatra and of course Fela”.
What? No rappers?
“Somehow, I have not connected with rap music. Well, maybe Tupac, but really, I am not a rap fan at all”. Another call comes in. RMD answers and speaks sharply to the person. “Please don’t call this line again, this is my wife’s number. Next time call my own”. He ended the conversation, a look of exasperation on his handsome features.
“who be dat?” I ask
He waved his hand dismissively.
“Don’t worry jare, lets continue”. He made an effort to gather himself
I decided to restore his good mood.
“How is Jumobi?”
A broad smile spread across his face.
“My wife and children are fine”. A quizzical look at me.
“When was the last time you spoke to her”?
I paused for some moments
“E don tay small” I confessed.
“Make sure you call her soon, so you don’t enter her black book” he warned.
How does she cope with all the women swarming around her husband?
“She does not have to cope with anything. Marriage is all about trust and she knows I am responsible enough to steer clear of any situation that could undermine our marriage” RMD declared emphatically.
“How about the stories about you and Stella Damasus?” I prodded.
A fierce scowl showed on his face.
“That was a very annoying and irresponsible write-up by one of the soft-sell magazines”.
RMD glared at me.
“Totally untrue” he declared.
Oh-Oh. Time to change track…
I flipped my notes, trying to avoid his eyes.
Which actors remind RMD of himself?
A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth.
“Well…..” he paused reflectively. “Maybe not totally, but I see flashes in Desmond Elliot, Ramsey Noah and I like a young man called Nonso. He is an actor in need of a good director”.
“Teju Babyface. He is an actor in waiting” RMD said.
“How about me? Don’t I remind you of you? ” Tarila, a short, slim movie director who was listening to the interview interjected.
We all laughed heartily.
“You must be kidding” RMD finally answered, his voice still quavering with mirth.
An aide knocked and enters the office. RMD looked at me and shrugged apologetically.
I used the intermission to check through my notes and spotted a question I had nearly missed out.
“How involved are you with MEE foundation ?” I asked after the aide left.
RMD swiveled around in his chair and retrieved a fat manuscript from a side desk.
“This is her book, Centrespread, which I am working with some other guys to develop into a 13-part series. We are looking for sponsors at the moment”.
Still keeping MEE’s memories alive eh? Does Jumobi mind ?
“Not at all” he assured.
“What pet name does Jumobi call you? I teased
“Sweetie”, he smiled broadly.
Ok, enough of that..
Does a skilled and consummate actor like RMD ever suffer from nerves or stage fright?
“Oh yes. I get butterflies in my stomach and my adrenalin levels go crazy. But it is a good thing because it means I am fired up and primed to give my best. Infact, I would be scared if I was not scared” he laughed.
I sensed that even though RMD was enjoying himself, pressing matters required his urgent attention. So, I decided to bring our conversation to a close.
“Final question, Richard, ten years from now, how do you see yourself?”
He clasped his hands together and closed his eyes for a few moments.
“I hope to be retired and a very rich actor, so that I can devote time to charities and empowering young people. I have a passion for young people, maybe because I had children in my own youth”.
I sought clarification
“Retired from acting?”
He shook his head
“No, I meant retired from business. I will always be an actor!”.
Gotta luv this guy,gotta luv him!!!