It is a known truth that most people find it extremely difficult to dissociate a role played by an actor in movies from the real person behind the screens. This was confirmed by Nollywood multiple-award winning actress, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde in a recent interview with Encomium during which she talked about her controversial role in the movie ‘ The Prostitute‘ and how she feared the character played in the movie could have jeopardized her marriage. Only with the verbal assurance from her husband was the actress able to feel mollified of her fears. Although, she played this role about 20 years ago, she somehow still felt the role kind of threatened her marriage through the perception of her audience.
During the interview, Omo Sexy specifically described how this character threatened her marriage and said: “The only time I would say I worried was when the movie, The Prostitute came out. And that was the first major fresh shaking I had. It was like a kind of controversy. From the movie poster to the sex scenes, whatever in that movie that was shot after I left there but was shot as if I was the one who did it. And you know, Nigeria was not ready for that, so there was a lot of controversies around that. So, that was the only time I really worried about my marriage. And to be frank and candid, until my husband told me he wasn’t bothered, then I had peace.”
Her marriage to Capt. Matthew Ekeinde is now 18 years old, growing stronger by the day without hitches that could have derailed such celebrity marriages if it were in a Hollywood setting where divorces are as common as staple food in America. After all the ‘made in heaven’ marriage of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman ended in a high profile separation several years ago.
It is an unfortunate thing to say the least that most movie viewers still identify a person with the character the person play in a movie and are unable to separate a person’s character in a movie from the real individual. For example Elizabeth Taylor is still identified with Cleopatra, a role she played almost half a century ago instead of Elizabeth Taylor as a unique person different from Cleopatra, the Pharoah of Egypt who lived more than 2,000 years ago. An anomaly that is even ludicrous if we think about it but that is the true fact.
In his autobiography “My Life” , US Former President Bill Clinton said that he liked ‘The Prophet Moses’ more than the Actor Charleston Heston in the movie “Ben Hur” which was filmed more than 50 years ago. President Clinton was then locked in an anti-rile legislation with Congress where actor Heston was the President of the American Rifle Association, a powerful lobby group that opposes all guns control.
These two cases are just a microcosm of how the audiences perceives the actor via the protagonist cast in the movie instead of the real character of the person. It is unfortunate that Ekeinde played a Jezebel-like role a long time ago but a few of her faithful audience may still identify her with the character and unfortunately, it may be hard to shake herself of her character cast without shaking off her faithful audience as well.
In a way, Actors may have to live with the aphorism that there is a price to pay in every profession and be appreciative of other benefits that comes with the profession such as fame, popularity and monetary gain which often offset the negative impacts of the characters played in movies. After all, it is not their fault that the audience sometimes are not able to sieve out facts from fiction.