Veteran Nollywood movie producer, Charles Novia is famous for his brazenness when it comes to airing his opinion. Weeks after calling actress, Juliet Ibrahim and her former lover, Iceberg Slim out for their “shameful public display of affection”, Novia has returned to slam movie producers who cast “talentless” individuals simply because of their huge social media following.
I have a big problem with the present Ensemble Casting system being deployed in Nollywood movies.
I have always had a problem with them though but it seems it’s been getting worse. It’s used more for a means to selfish ends. It’s a propensity for commercialism and delivers nothing but ridicule more often than not, at the end of the day.
Most Producers forage Instagram pages, looking for stand-up comedians, actors, OAPs, Slay Queens, Drag Queens and what have you, all in a bid to see how the millions or thousands of followers by such persons can bring the box office numbers to the movies. Many of such Instagram or social media celebrities cannot act to save their lives and I can’t recount how many times I have winced while watching many of them in such movies. This new evil of throwing artistic professionalism to the gutters just to make a few bucks at the cinemas has done much to damage the credibility of the larger industry.
One thought such ensemble casting was limited to the fad of comedy films, which has been the trend for a couple of years but it seems to have crept into films of other genres, with the same results: a sacrifice of artistry for melodramatic acting.
An industry with a projected trajectory such as Nollywood, cannot grow if the templates for professionalism are ignored. I’m harping on ensemble casting today because it’s the next culprit after the failure of screenplays and original stories, which I have written about months ago.
The audience should be given the benefit of something new, which takes their emotions into deep consideration. A filmmaker’s first job is to the audience. He or She must respect the audience. Respect the audience.
An audience taken for granted is an angry audience and they will take it out on the collective industry at the end of the day.
Cast mostly because you want to adhere to the principles of an audience suspending its disbelief while watching your film and not necessarily because you want to have the nebulous ‘highest grossing…’ title, which at the end of the day makes the bearer poorer. Fool them once, they permit. Not twice.