#TheYNaijaInterview: My relationship with Uti’s fine, we remain friends – Alexx Ekubo

by Wilfred Okiche

As an actor, Alexx Ekubo has most often, been the best part of some disappointing films which he has appeared in. Not content with being just the pretty face, the star of films like Single, married and complicated, Weekend getaway and Lagos cougars has gone out of his way to convince audiences that he isn’t only about his striking good looks

We happened upon the 28 year old model and actor recently and he joined us for a brief chat. He talked about his love for acting, shooting nude scenes and those pesky rumours about his relationship with pal Uti Nwachukwu

Enjoy excerpts from the conversation:

Let us briefly recall your growing up days

My growing up was quite privileged. I grew up in a close knit, very religious family and it was quite fun. Mum is an evangelist and dad is an elder.

Have you always wanted to be an actor or did you stumble upon it?

I actually started my career from acting. I was exposed to Nollywood at a very tender age and I fell in love with it so when I had the opportunity to do it I embraced it with both hands. That is how it was for me.

And the modelling part?

I am still a model, I never stopped. I remember walking into a studio to take a picture randomly when an agent walked up to me and asked if I was a model. I said no and he advised me to consider it. He signed me up and that was it.

How has acting been for you? Have you been satisfied with the quality and type of roles you have played so far?

The thing is as an actor you are never satisfied. After one, you always look forward to the other, it’s a cycle. You play a banker in this one, you want to play a lunatic in the next, and a pilot in the other. So as long as there is life in you, you want to do the next big thing and embody the experience of someone else’s life. I have done a couple of very challenging and interesting roles but you know what? I still feel like there is more to be done. At the end of the day I would love to be a superhero, don a cape and fly around the world to save women and children.

Ok let us say the team from Marvel call you, hoping to cast their next big franchise…

Iron man. I won’t even think about it?

That’s great but I was going to ask which of your films you would send them as audition tape?

I haven’t played any similar characters so it is not likely going to be a case where if you liked me in Sango, you will like me in this, but normally they wouldn’t ask you to send them tapes. They would ask you to come and audition or send a tape where you read the script. And you don’t judge an actor by his previous work, as the saying goes, you are only as good as your last job. There are lots of actors who have won awards for their first acting gigs; Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar for her first film appearance in Dreamgirls, Lupita Nyong’o isn’t exactly a seasoned veteran, the kids in Slumdog millionaire and Life of Pi too. Every role is like a new slate for the actor.

Is there a role you would give an arm to play?

Any superhero; Iron man, Batman, Superman whichever one I can get.

There appears to be a thaw in your relationship with Uti Nwachukwu. What happened there?

You guys make this issue seem bigger than it is, everybody is talking about it. It is not what you think it is. We are friends who just happen to be working a lot right now, simple. It is what it is.

So what is it?

It is nothing, we are friends.

Any chance you would expand on that?

Not really.

Ok, the industry watchers who say that the crop of artistes that you represent- the young, good looking, models/actors- have snatched all the good roles even when you have minimal skills to interpret them, are they justified in making such a claim?

There is a catch there because you need experience to get a job and you need the job to get the experience. I see people that claim that we have come to take over but that is what I am trying to do. There is a lot of space for everyone to shine. I cannot play my part in a film and play my brother and sister and father and best friend at the same time, we need actors to fill all these roles. People say they are not getting roles but there are lots of older actors acting every day. I think what they should do instead of complaining is develop yourself to a point where you are almost indispensable. I am a point where I play a lot of young men but after some time, I will move on to that phase where I get to be peoples’ fathers. What goes around comes around. It is a chain that constantly evolves. I just did big movie with aunty Joke Silva. Uncles Olu Jacobs and Pete Edochie are still working. Do you think that they care that some dude named Alexx Ekubo is acting? They probably don’t even know my name.

Who are your acting influences?

A lot of the people I grew up watching. Ramsey Nouah, Regina Askia, Desmond Elliot, Uche Jombo. These are people who braved the odds and followed their dreams, making the industry viable so that people like us can aspire to something. I doff my hat to them and I am constantly awed by their work.

Have you done any stage work?

No I haven’t but I would really love to. In secondary school, I played the title character in an adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s The trials of Brother Jero and it was fun.

You have done a couple of films with some sizzling sex scenes, you must really enjoy playing them.

Not particularly. For me it is a job and it is like asking a Doctor if he likes the sight of blood. It is a job that has to be done. Keep in mind that when we are shooting those scenes, there are a whole lot of people standing in the same room; the actors, the producer, director, script manager, stunt coordinator, cinematographer, a full house. You sheet the same scene a for a number of times so it is more work than fun.

Are there instances when you want more from your co-star after the director yells cut?

There is no wanting more because the last thing you are feeling at that point is sexy.

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