Art imitates life in Ifeanyi Dike Jr.s stunning career

ifeanyi Dike

Ifeanyi Dike Jr. has come a long way from his days shuttling between Igbinedion University, Okada and Lagos to audition for roles. Rounding up his degree at the prestigious UCLA and with projects offers lined up in the US and Nigeria, Dike jr. is on the cusp of excellence. I took some time out to hear from the man himself before his whirlwind year goes properly into effect.

WILFRED OKICHE

First off, congratulations on everything that has been going on with you.

IFEANYI DIKE JR. 

Thank you, Thank you. 

WILFRED OKICHE

 All of Africa is abuzz about talks of you getting a show at ABC studios but most recently your negotiation with NBC to play an African doctor who moves to the States to pursue his dreams is close to home as you had previously held a medical degree. Is that exciting?

IFEANYI DIKE JR. 

It is definitely exciting. When my reps said the team from The Office wanted to meet with me, I was beyond excited because I have been a huge fan of the body of work they created. I mean they are literally the biggest people in comedy at the moment so yes I was excited. 

When I went in, I met with Allison Jones and Michael Schur and three other producers who said they had been waiting to meet me. I had to keep calm but really I was screaming inside. In any case, they told me about the role and we had a conversation for about 40 minutes about how the role is basically life imitating art and then I proceeded to read for them. It was a pretty fun experience.  

WILFRED OKICHE

And what was the experience like meeting Andy Samberg?

IFEANYI DIKE JR.

It was funny. I met Andy a week or so after Allison Jones at Universal studios and she had sent me to meet with him to discuss a project he’s working on. It was real funny because we did a scene were we would have had sex and I was just trying to be the most present actor (laughter) but no it was great. He has really soft hands. 

Ifeanyi Dike

WILFRED OKICHE

How is this going to affect your career in Africa in terms of finding the time to come back and shoot should you do the ABC or NBC gig?

IFEANYI DIKE JR.

American television has a particular filming schedule so any other work in Africa has to fit in off season and I really am looking forward to going back home and doing some work. 

WILFRED OKICHE

That begs the question; how are you juggling your present film commitments on the continent. I know you are in talks to play lead in C.J Obasi’s new film, you are a frequent collaborator with Abba Makama and he has a new film coming out plus all the other directors who have shown interest in your craft? How do you manage that?

IFEANYI DIKE JR. 

Well I have the best reps in Africa looking out for me and making sure that I have time to do the work. Also my American team is gracious so we all work out the schedules. They share me (laughter)

WILFRED OKICHE

Speaking of which, you have an unprecedented talent holding contract with ‘My Management Company’, how did that come about? You also have a talent holding contract here in Nigeria, that is just waiting for you to finish your degree at UCLA before you can start fully exploring more film options in Nigeria. Walk us through this contract?

IFEANYI DIKE JR. 

So I met with the CEO last year in New York at a festival in the HBO building and we talked. It was awesome because we basically share the same ideals. I thought they were just going to want to represent me but because of their producing arm, they offered me a holding contract. That kind of commitment is rare for an emerging actor, I was surprised but excited. I signed it and I am really excited to work with them. 

WILFRED OKICHE

Do you think the doors you have opened internationally will be left open for upcoming actors to follow suit into international acclaim?

IFEANYI DIKE JR. 

I mean at the end of the day, the thing that really matters is the work and I always try to put that first and that would be my suggestion to others, put the work first and every other thing will find you.

WILFRED OKICHE

Of course but really, your feature film as a lead opened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) which is the biggest opening for a Nigerian film, you won numerous awards and rights to the  film was acquired by Netflix. There is also talk of your next feature possibly opening at TIFF and you are preparing to shoot a comedy feature with Rachel Leigh Cook. You are meeting and negotiating with top studios. How does all of this make you feel?

IFEANYI DIKE JR. 

Truly grateful. It’s easy to take for granted these things and just keep going but I’ve learned to stop and smell the roses once in a while. I also try to call my mom everyday and she reminds me that I’m still a little boy so there’s that. (laughter)

WILFRED OKICHE

So, are we to expect an Emmy, Golden Globes or Oscar from you? What does your 5 year plan look like?

IFEANYI DIKE JR. 

I want to be the first African with an EGOT (an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony.)

 

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