Once upon a time, there was a boy called Ahanna. After his father passed away, he joined a gang of robbers to escape the constant family troubles that befell him. This was the story of the Nollywood blockbuster, Rattlesnake that captivated audiences in 1995. Fast forward to 2020, the Ahanna story is being re-told in a completely new way, thanks to Charles Okpaleke and the Play Network Studios team.
In the highly anticipated remake, Stan Nze takes on the iconic role of Ahanna; a young man who is dissatisfied with the way his life has turned out and masterminds a way to steal the life he wants. He handpicks the Armadas, a highly intelligent group of thieves and together they carry out spectacular heists that bring them everything they ever wanted. But like everyone knows, nothing lasts forever. Soon, The Armadas find themselves with bitter enemies on both sides of the law. Will Ahanna be able to mastermind his way out of the life of crime he chose? Or will his sins catch up with him? You’ll have to watch to find out.
Executive Produced by Charles Okpaleke and Directed by Ramsey Nouah; the Rattlesnake remake is star-studded. Alongside, Stan Nze, the cast includes Osas Ighodaro, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Elma Mbadiwe, Chiwetalu Agu, Ayo “AY” Makun, Fred Amata, Bucci Franklin, Efa Iwara, Ejike Asiegbu, Chinyere Wilfred, Tobi Bakre, Gloria Young, Norbert Young and a host of others. It is also a fun fact to know that this is the first movie in Nollywood history that stars the Young Family, where their daughter Antoria Uri Young makes her acting debut.
Hailed as the ‘King of Remakes’, Charles Okpaleke’s entrance into Nollywood has reshaped the way the industry tells stories by paying homage to the classics with a 21st century lifestyle spin.
Some would say that acquiring the rights of the original Living in Bondage film was a high risk move. Yet, the 2019 sequel, Living in Bondage; Breaking Free received critical and commercial acclaim – becoming one of the most successful movies in Nollywood till date with a record of 163 million Naira at the box office. One can say that in this case, high risk equals high rewards. Another unexpected move from Charles that yielded these high rewards was his decision to partner with Nollywood veteran, Ramsey Noah whose directorial debut won him the AMVCA award for Best Director.
Thus, it is no surprise that there has been wild anticipation for what Play Network Studios has up its sleeves for Rattlesnake. Unlike Living in Bondage which was a sequel to the original story, this is a remake. From what we know about remakes, there are no rules, any story can be completely transformed into a newer and exciting narrative.
A few days ago, this September, a virtual press conference for Rattlesnake was held. Journalists and film critics had full reign to ask all of their burning questions about what exactly was in store for audiences. In attendance were most of the cast and crew; including Charles Okpaleke, the Executive Producer; Ramsey Nouah, the director; Chris Odeh, the producer and Nicole Asinugo, the scriptwriter.
The producer Chris Odeh Said ‘‘While producing Living in Bondage, the idea of re-making other nollywood classics was discussed. Some of us in the team were teenagers or pre-teens at the time some nollywood classics were made, this is why I think telling the Rattlesnake story is important; it has a strong “coming of age” narrative which a lot of us can resonate with. You know that period in time when your father is warning you about armed robbery or getting into bad gangs. I don’t know about you, but my father sat me down, showed me the Rattlesnake movie, pulled my ears and said “It will never be heard that my son went to lagos to join a bad gang” The film first of all, gives us that nostalgic feeling, secondly, it does alot for the igbo culture and the nigerian nation, thirdly, we honour Amaka Igwe, who is an icon and has been responsible for a lot of people you call stars today; likes of the RMD’s, the Nkem Owoh’s and co. We came out the first time with LIB and we are going to keep coming out every year to blow your minds.”
Judith Audu, the line producer and host of the recent Digital Press Conference stated that ”Rattlesnake is a film that will entertain and educate you. You are going to have drama, Emotions will run wild, you are going to go home asking yourself questions. The film is filled with family values, friendships, love and so much more. What we are promising is an experience.’’
Nicole Asinugo, when asked what it was like to write the movie, graciously gave the credit to original script writer, Amaka Igwe. she said, ‘’There was already a lot of material to work with, I was just building on what the great Amaka Igwe wrote. As a remake, one is creatively allowed to think about things from a different perspective, but stay true to the real essence of the movie, which I believe we did; so even if you did watch the original Rattlesnake, we made sure we incorporated experiences relevant to now. We also had the freedom to build on and incorporate other characters.”
Despite the constraints of the Covid-19 pandemic, the cast and crew were able to push through with production and post-production by complying with all necessary measures intended to keep everyone safe by keeping a very close system, maintaining clean healthy environments, and sanitising regularly with the support of a health agency.
Okpaleke, at the conference, confirmed that the movie will premiere on November 8th 2020, with safety precautions as top priority. The movie will be released in cinemas on the 13th of November, 2020.
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