Kelvin Obazee is a fast-emerging name in the movie industry. He, believes he has contributed so much to the industry within the few years that he has been a thespian and would like to keep the momentum going. He speaks with (SEGUN ADEBAYO of Tribune) about his rise to fame, family and plans.
You have been in the movie industry for a while but it seems you don’t appear often in movies like your colleagues do. How has your acting career been?
Yes, I have come a long way in the industry especially when one considers the work I have put into my craft to ensure that things work properly. But in the real sense of time-counting, I see myself as a beginner who is still learning and has a long way to go. Yes, the journey so far has been a fantastic one and by the time the movies I’ve featured in so far start coming out, I pray for total acceptance from movie fans.
Coming into the industry for some is by providence. What is your Nollywood story?
For me it’s just the passion. I’ve always wanted to be an actor from my tender age. I tried a couple of auditions and I also spoke to a number of actors about my interest in film-making and at the end of the day, I thank God I am here today.
You are a quiet person, how does this help you get along with your career?
Like I said the other time, when it comes to time counting from days to months, and to years, I still consider myself more like a university fresher. I’m still very new and I thank God for every step so far. I am getting the job done and I am enjoying my time. My acting life has nothing to do with my demeanor.
What was it like back then when you started and how do you feel about how your career has turned out?
Honestly, it keeps getting better and that’s what progress is all about. More challenges, more battles to win and more benefits to come.
What prepared you for this acting life?
It is just the passion. There is also determination and the place of talent. All these things work together for you if you know how to handle them very well.
In an industry where the make-believe life usually makes actors paint a larger than life picture of themselves in real life, they are always trying to live up to the life they are not capable of living. What do you make of this?
I think that’s where talent and professionalism come into play. Sometimes in a week, I have to play more than two different characters on different sets and it’s important I interpret these characters well and in detail. So If I am able to do that perfectly, coming back home to my default mode as a father and husband shouldn’t be a problem. One does not affect the other. I know who I am on and off set.
Does movie-making really pay the bill for you or there is what some people call side hustle for you too?
Yes, it does to some extent for now; but my first job as a construction engineer pays the bulk of my bills for now.
Who challenges you most in the movie industry when it comes to script delivery and interpretation?
The truth is I will always have something to learn from every actor I look up to. They all have their different uniqueness both in character interpretations and their normal way of life.
You have a friendly personality; how do you cope with advances from ladies who like to have a piece of you?
I am married, and I have kids. I keep my family at the utmost part of my heart. I have a friendly personality so I make sure it doesn’t go beyond that.
You have an English name and one would have expected you to be in the core sector of Nollywood; how do you feel?
I do both English and Yoruba movies. My name is Kelvin Kolawole Obazee popularly called Obatidey Kelvin, so there is a Yoruba name among my names. I’ve been in two English cinema movies this year.
People say Yoruba movies are badly subtitled, but some of you have a good command of the English Language. How do you feel when bad subtitling casts a doubt on your professional competence?
Why don’t the people that are quick to pass such judgment concentrate on the movies that are correctly subtitled? At least you can’t pass your judgment based on just a few movies in which you find slight typographical errors.
With the number of years you have spent in the industry, would you say you have truly come of age as an actor?
I have come of age and I am happy about the way things are shaping up. I am fulfilling my dream.
Tell us about your growing up days and the life you envisioned as a young man?
I was born in Benin City, Edo State but grew up in Akure in Ondo State. Those that know me well during my childhood days will tell you that I’ve always been an entertainment person. From my early days in church as a drummer, to playing the keyboard, I have been involved in entertainment for a long time; I was also in the church drama group. I was a dancer and a singer. I released my first music album as far back as 2001. Entertainment has been a big part of me, so you see why becoming a professional actor was made a bit easy for me.
People say they don’t usually cast you in movies as much as your colleagues because you are picky with scripts and jobs. Not many of your colleagues do this. What’s responsible for this?
It’s simple! We all are building a brand especially those of us at the early stage of our career. Being intentional with your craft should be sacrosanct or else you would become a stereotype. Yes I am picky for now, when the time comes we will reassess what is needed.
How has life as an actor been?
I can say that I am grateful to God for making things running smoothly. It has been a fantastic journey. I haven’t really seen anything as challenging, the passion supersedes all for me.
What’s your latest movie project and how have you been sourcing for funds to push it?
My latest project is Ajaga, the one I co-produced with Yetunde Oyinbo. The fund I make from movie-making is what I push back into it.
If you have not been an actor, what would you have been?
I am a construction engineer and I would have remained one, if acting had not been in the picture.