SK Johnson on Genevieve’s ‘bad acting,’ Half Of A Yellow Sun, and the hilarity of Nigerians

by Sk Johnson

Nigerians will never cease to make me laugh. I mean they haven’t failed now and I certainly don’t expect them to stop now. Let me get straight into it.

So in 2008 it was announced that renowned playwright, Biyi Bandele would be adapting Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s award-winning novel, Half Of A Yellow Sun, into a film. This news didn’t cause that much of a stir – among mainstream audiences, at least – until 2012 when more news about the project made its way to public consciousness — the announcement that the movie would be shooting at the Tinapa studios in Calabar was enough to excite even those who knew nothing about Tinapa but had long been intrigued by the hype surrounding this near-mythical place. News of the film’s huge budget (compared to other movies shot in this part of the world, anyway) and high-profile crew also made it clear this wasn’t a project that was going to be ignored, even if one wanted to. Then of course followed the casting higgi hagga (to borrow a term from my dear Honourable Patrick) over Thandie Newton’s casting. I won’t even get into that now but I’ll leave you to hazard a guess as to how silly I found that whole “controversy”.

 [READ: Petition: Reconsider casting Thandie Newton in ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’]

Anyway, a short while later a couple of Nigerian cast members were announced, one of which was Genevieve Nnaji. Needless to say, there was celebration across the land. Maybe not exactly, but you get my point. Now, fast forward to January 2013, and the rumour mill churns out a story about Genevieve Nnaji’s scenes being cut out because her character was irrelevant to the story, and her acting “was not up to par”. Of course, Nigerians jumped on it, completely ignoring the ridiculousness of the entire story. First of all the idea that she would be cut out because of “bad acting” is entirely stupid. Even if she somehow managed to deliver the worst performance in the history of filmmaking, that would by no means result in her scenes simply being snipped off. If anything there would have been word of a recast, and reshoot of her scenes. The razzie’s exist for a reason – year after year people are given ‘awards’ for horrible screen performances, which people only saw because they weren’t chopped off in the cutting room like Nigerians were only too eager to believe was the case for Genevieve. But Nigerians, being Nigerians, simply jumped at the opportunity to snark up the gills about the very same person they had clamored about months earlier, when they insisted she be given Thandie Newton’s role.

 [READ: Objection! 6 and a half reasons a Nigerian actress should be lead in the Chimamanda film]

And if you were thinking that was enough, there was only more to come when the first trailer for the movie hit the internet, with many people noticing little beyond the fact Genevieve’s scenes and name were absent from the clip – you know, seeing as everyone in every movie is shown and named in every single piece of promotional material released for it.

[WATCHTrailer #2 for ‘Half Of A Yellow Sun’ featuring Genevieve Nnaji, Onyeka Onwenu and more]

I don’t know oh, dear people. I really don’t know why we insist on thinking like this. Because now, as the second trailer has been released, showing Genevieve is clearly in the movie, as opposed to what all the furious whispers suggested, don’t we look kind of foolish for running with silly and baseless assumptions? Even better is the fact Genevieve herself didn’t address any of the noise. Talk about laughing last, eh?

Watch the trailer below: