When Nollywood actor, Desmond Elliot made his way into the entertainment industry 15years ago, little did he realise that he could become a household name. Scripted mostly as lover boy, Desmond has proved his worth in countless distinctive scenes and plots which have won him numerous admirers and awards in the film industry.. Elliot, a graduate of Economics at the Lagos State University, speaks exclusively with JOAN OMIONAWELE, on his career, controversies, style and other issues.
Desmond Elliot rings a bell now, briefly recall how it began?
I grew up in Jos, Plateau state, Nigeria. Jos was a peaceful, wonderful and beautiful place. The environment was just conducive to producing a lot of entertainers for Nigeria.
You sound rather romantic about Jos, what do you miss about Jos?
I miss the cold weather, the peace of the old serene atmosphere, Jos was just homely
As an entertainer, what do you wish you could go back to do in Jos, the city you love dearly?
I want to do a film there because the climate is very good for film production, there would be very good pictures from the rocks on the hills, I just hope peace would be restored there so as to encourage people to come and invest.
You are a star here in Nigeria, yet reports had it that you decided to relocate your family abroad last year what was that about?
I don’t know where people got that from, my family is here with me in Lagos, they only go abroad for holidays but we retain our Nigeria’s base. Holidaying abroad does not mean living abroad. For now, we are where we are.
You have been in acting business for 15 years now, what in your opinion makes a good actor?
In addition to being talented, an actor needs to be well- packaged. I guess you know what I mean. We are in an exotic profession, so you need to come out looking exotic. In entertainment generally, packaging matters a lot, that’s why they put you in the cinemas because you are expected to appear larger than life. You must always look good and be at your best possible.
Can you let your fans into your latest plan?
I am working on my first Yoruba movie and I am really excited about it, we are almost rounding off and would go to Oyo in a few days to shoot the remaining scenes. I guess people will like it. I can’t wait to complete the project.
You seem to be more engrossed with movie production than acting these days.. why?
Well I still do both, I made my name in acting and I am not ready to quit that terrain now but movie production is more like an art, it makes me more of a different person, understanding each of the characters on set and being able to welcome new ideas and everything that comes with directing is amazing
In truth, how will you assess Nollywood in its journey over the years?
Oh, it’s growing and it’s growing fast, what we need now are binding, enduring policies. We do not have political (structural) policies. It should get into a point where more giant corporate bodies must be lured into coming into filming and this cannot happen when there are no structures. This is because the first thing any great investor will ask is the structure of organisations or bodies they wish to fund or collaborate with.
Are any of your children showing interest in acting?
They always tell me they want to act but when they see the stress that acting comes with, they always give up. It’s a lot of stress, but they like it but I tell to them that acting is not all-glamour.
What about your wife, what does she think about your job?
She is also in the industry. She distributes my films, she understands what I do
So, sometimes she doesn’t have issues with you?
Well she does, but never over my job
How does she cope with your female fans?
It’s been 15years, how she want take cope again after 15 years?
How long have you been married?
This is my 11th year
And what do you think is the secret to keep a celebrity marriage going?
Basically, it’s understanding. We must all understand that the make of a man is totally different from the make of a woman. A man must understand the priorities of a woman. Women love attention, they want to know that they are loved and there is security but for a man, all he is thinking about is money, while a woman knows that though you still need to provide for the family, she would still crave for attention. A man sees the question’ how are you as how are you’ but a woman sees how are you in three different ways. She begins to think, okay, why is he asking me how I am? At what time is he asking how are you? Did one word come before the other?
We learnt that you want to delve into politics. What experience have you to make a difference on the state of the nation?
The current situation is very pathetic. I feel God has helped me thus far and I want to give back through politics that will be favourable to the youths. The worst part of our national life is that the level of corruption has not allowed youths to understand what it means to live a meaningful life . Just because of lack of knowledge of what to do, we are being sidetracked. There are no jobs, and issues like these lead to frustration.
A whole lot needs to be done on agriculture, every state in Nigeria needs to see how it can contribute to nation building. There’s a lot that needs to be done.
What accessories can’t you do without?
I think I can’t go out without a wristwatch
What’s your notion on tattoos
I wouldn’t wear one, but I have no problems with anyone wearing one
In a few years , what do you want to be remembered for?
It would be basically about giving back. I want to be known as a man who gave back to his society
There was this story about you dating two blood sisters, what was it about?
I don’t know. It was baseless. The ladies in question are my wards and I take care of them.
Are you blood relation with them?
Do I have to be related to them by blood? We are family friends and we have been family friends for years. Their parents are abroad and whenever they are in Nigeria, they stay with me, so it was a baseless distraction and the person who did the article about me has since apologised.
There was also a death rumour about you last year, what happend?
It was actually a movie I did, which would be released later this year. I had to get the person who did the story and asked for his reasons.
How do you cope with negative press?
I have come to understand that there is no way rumours won’t crop up. I have been in this field for the past 15years and there is no way one can be without one word or the other, people will definitely say things about you whether they are true or not.
After the hustle and bustle, how do you treat yourself
I just take a vacation and relax for a few days.
Culled from Tribune.com.ng