Actors getting pigeonholed into a particular role is not something new in the movie industry, and in Nollywood, it is even more prevalent. How this happens is, sometimes, an actor so excellently portrays a particular character that he or she gets trapped in that same role and ends up playing it over and over again in different forms.
Typecasting isn’t exactly a bad thing. The director of course wants to make a great film and when an actor is renowned for playing a character effortlessly, he or she immediately comes to mind and is cast for the role.
However, some actors find it difficult to shake off these roles and it affects the way viewers see them even in real life. They’re either the bad guys, the thief, the wicked stepmother or the wailer who’s always ready to cry a bucket full of tears.
How many Nollywood actors do you immediately associate with a role and view them the same way in real life? This piece will highlight some of them.
Strong fatherly figure – Pete Edochie
When you see the Nollywood veteran actor Pete Edochie in a movie, your first impulse is to genuflect. His character 90% of the time, is a strong male, head of the home, and ruler of his kingdom with a firm, iron fist. His rumbling voice, stern arch of his bushy eyebrows, and signature African proverbs that pepper his every conversation always drives home the point.
In real life, his fans regard him with high respect almost always adding “Sir” when referring to him. If a director should cast Pete Edochie for a role where he plays anything but the strong male or king, viewers will most likely be pissed.
Wicked Uncle – Chiwetalu Agu
What is a Nollywood film with a wicked uncle if Chiwetalu Agu doesn’t play it? Best forget it, it cannot be complete. This actor excellently mastered the act of portraying an evil relative who is always plotting to either kill his nephew or snatch a plot of land. His presence is always the harbinger of evil or mischievousness and even in real life, people think he has to have some of that wickedness to play the role so good.
Ritualist – Kanayo O Kanayo
Recently, Kanayo O Kanayo expressed displeasure at being tagged as a ritualist. This was after his latest submission to the #dontleavemechallenge and social media users joked he’d used his hypeman for rituals. The thing is, there was a time when Nollywood was obsessed with making movies of cults and Kanayo .O. Kanayo was the forever poster boy for these roles.
He’s either asking someone to bring their mother for elaborate rituals or jetting off to clandestine meetings in his array of ill-gotten luxury cars. Away from acting, Kanayo is finding it very difficult to shake off that stereotype and he’s asked fans to stop with the name-calling. Will they listen? I hope so.
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Foolish lover boy – Tony Umez
It’s very hard to think of Tony Umez not being a fool in love. He’s very famous for portraying roles where he’s a henpecked husband or boyfriend weeping for his lover not to leave him.
Loquacious fellow – Nkem Owoh
Nkem Owoh continually reprises roles where he’s either a talkative father or the village trouble marker. After his breakout role in the 2000 movie “Ukwa”, the actor seemed to continue replaying the same role but in different characters.
This has made his fans see him in the light of a loquacious fellow who’s always up to no good. However, he recently featured in the critically acclaimed Lion Heart. In it, we saw a more tame, cool, and wisdom serving Nkem Owoh. The director, Genevieve Nnaji obviously tried something new with the veteran and it worked.
Village idiot – Charles Okafor ( Mr. Ibu)
Most times, Charles Okafor popularly known as Mr. Ibu from his same-named 2003 film doesn’t even need to talk to be funny. His stance, his perpetual facial expression of deep confusion, and his mannerisms all make the comic character he always plays in films complete. He’s another actor who fans expect to crack a joke or act foolishly anytime they bump into him outside set.
Gangsta – Hanks Anuku
Hanks Anuku is the perpetual bad boy in his movies. Name one movie where he played anything other than a criminal mastermind and I owe you a gift ( just kidding). His character of gangsterism has trailed him all through life away from the screens and he’s become the poster child for black sheep in families.
Bodyguard – Gentle Jack (Vuga)
We are pretty sure directors take one look at Gentle Jack’s giant height and muscles and go yes! This is our bodyguard, or this is the guy to play the kidnapper! and slam him with the script. After his breakout in the 2000 film, “Vuga” for which he was so named, the actor till he took leave from the screens played very similar roles. Is he different from the fierce giant he always portrays in his films? Well, we’d never know.
Abusive Boyfriend – Jim Iyke
Somehow, Jim Iyke always finds himself cast for roles where he’s either the rebellious song of an Igwe, is an IJGB (i just got back) totting a phony Americanah accent or he’s an abusive boyfriend. In these relationships, his girlfriends never seem to want to leave and are always coming back for more doses of his toxic love. This character has also trailed him away from the cameras.
Lover Boy – Ramsey Nouah
Ramsey Nouah’s good looks pretty much sealed his destiny in Nollywood; a romantic lover boy who’s ready to sweep his female lead character off her feet. Off-screen, the actor has tonnes of female fans crushing on him, hoping for a tip of all that love and romance he displays in films.
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