Nollywood actress, filmmaker and author, Lilian Amah-Aluko, in this interview with TONY OKUYEME, talks about writing, acting career, Nollywood, politics among other issues
How was it growing up?
Growing up was peaceful and kind of fun. My parents were strict but loving. We had all the necessities and a few luxuries.
What inspired you to go into acting?
Truth be told, my major inspiration was Sound of Music. My parents took my siblings and I to see that movie in a cinema in Freetown where we were living, and I simply fell in love with the Von Trapp kids. I started acting professionally with my role in RMD’s Out of Bounds in 1996/7. Before that I had only acted in school productions. I feel I was born to be an actor because I was always happier in the fictitious worlds I created in my head.
What were the reactions like when you started acting?
My parents were a bit worried but my first role as Alero in ‘Out of Bounds’ dispelled any doubts they had. My siblings, friends and colleagues all loved it and so did the fans I made. So I can only say I have been blessed.
You seem taken a break from acting. Why?
I still act, though I haven’t been getting a lot of roles. Actually, I never have had a lot of roles. I love acting and will keep acting as long as I get good challenging roles.
As an artiste, what do you look out for in a script before accepting to feature in it?
I look out for a script that is true to whatever message it seeks to share. I look out for an exciting and intense character that will challenge and stretch me.
At what point did writing come to the fore?
I have loved books for as long as I can remember. Reading them led to trying my hand at writing them especially since I had a fertile imagination anyway. I wrote my first novel ‘Echoes of a Heartbeat’ during my youth service though it didn’t get published till many years after.
Between acting and writing, which of these engages you the most?
I thoroughly enjoy both. I am a Gemini – writing and acting fit into my dual persona.
How and when do you get your inspiration as a writer?
I am on my third book now and can safely say that for me, inspiration strikes when it will. I see, feel, hear or encounter something and a light bulb goes off in my brain. Voila, a story is born.
Which of your movies do you consider most challenging and interesting?
I have found every character I have had the privilege of playing interesting. The character I found most challenging is Nori in Hush.
Can you recall your most embarrassing experience?
Why on earth would I want to recall embarrassing experiences? I have had my share of them and have no wish to remember them or share them with the public.
What is your take on the frequent breakup of marriages in the entertainment industry?
Many marriages all over the world are failing though some are flourishing. We are in the end times and the marriage institution like almost everything else in the world is under siege. As long as humanity is not standing aright in creation, marriages will continue to be shaky and it is not peculiar to the entertainment industry in Nigeria.
What would you say is your strong point?
My compassionate nature and determination to succeed in life.
Would you encourage your daughter to become an actress?
I would encourage my daughter to be the best at whatever she loves, acting inclusive.
Why have you not gone into politics?
Because I have no reason yet to believe that it is my calling.
How would you describe yourself?
Friendly, caring, simple, determined, impulsive, loving, driven and quick tempered.
Why has it been so difficult to stem the tide of piracy?
It is impossible to stop piracy. Even developed countries have piracy issues, but there are strong deterrents there so pirates don’t operate freely or openly. A drive through Maryland will show you that though we have anti-piracy laws, nothing much is done to enforce these laws. Pirated films and books are sold openly and nothing is done about it. People need to be sensitised about the damage piracy does to an economy and the law enforcement agencies need to directly confront piracy the same way they battle smuggling. Even the laws need to be amended to include stiffer penalty for defaulters. Corruption in Nigeria is the major reason why piracy is so rampant.