Many Nigerians in their thirties to seventies must have had fond memories watching him on popular TV series, soaps and movies mostly back in the ’80s, ’90s and 2000’s such as Checkmate, Fuji House of Commotion, Super Story, Everyday People, Tinsel and more.
He came into the limelight when he played the comical character of a deaf-mute as many recall till today, but his roles have evolved way beyond that, spanning decades and far-reaching – influencing many other creatives in Nigeria’s live and screen divisions.
His name is Jude Orhoha, and he has traversed Nigeria’s film and entertainment sectors as an actor, director, producer, events manager, production manager, consultant, master of ceremony, voice-over artist, etc.
Africa Movies Hub had a chat with Orhorha recently and here are the highlights and the full interview below:
- Nollywood movie practitioners must have side jobs to succeed
- Why many movie stars snub fans at events
- Just one film is supposed to get an actor well settled if…
- Industry practitioners must collaborate and synergize more
- Why actors must be closer to God
AMH: Please introduce yourself, brand, and tell us about your work
Jude: My name is Jude Ufuoma Orhorha. I’m from Delta State (Urhobo indigene from Warri). I’m a product of the Center for Cultural Studies (CCS) University of Lagos (UNILAG), and of the Dramatic Arts Department, Obafemi Awolowo University (O.A.U) Ile-Ife, Osun State.
I’m an Actor, Producer, Consultant, Production Manager, Events Manager, MC/Compere, Voice-Over Artist, Brand Ambassador. All-round entertainment is my life.
I’ve been involved in a lot of Productions since 1987 when i started as a professional, from the stage to the screens, and then radio.
Some of my stage plays are: Ogedengbe, Farewell to Babylon, Wedlock of the gods, Marriage of Anansewa, the gods are not to blame, death and the king’s horseman, Immaguero, Kurunmi, a view from the bridge, Who’s afraid of Soyinka, A Walk in the Woods, The Meeting, Obaseki, Azagidi, Woza Albert, Man Talk Woman Talk, Dance of the Forest, The Bridge, Trials of Brother Jero, Oriki of a Grass Hopper, Morning Yet on Judgement Day, etc.
My screen works include; Checkmate, Moving Finger, Olorogun, Fuji House of Commotion, Soaked Scarlet, Everyday People, Inheritance, Face to Face, Super Story, Tinsel, 2 Left Legs, Story of us, Clinic Matters, Flatmates, etc.
Some of my radio dramas are One thing at a time, Story Story (BBC) and Philomina.
As for movies, I was in; Half of A Yellow Sun, Echoes, Brave Soldiers, Anini, Fr Tansi, The Immortal, C.I.D, Children’s Day, Owo Blow, Iwalewa, Victims, Fr Damian, Razor Blade, D Reverend, Virgin Prostitute, You Me and the Guys, Beyond Obligation, etc. These are of the jobs I can remember for now.
AMH: A lot of experts in Nigeria’s entertainment industry advise that you must have a side-hustle in order to survive and become successful. How true is this? And what’s your side hustle?
Jude: It is true that you have to do a side job to survive in this industry because of the intricacies involved like financial issues and managerial issues.
First of all, we don’t really have well-grounded managerial skills in terms of managing artists and most times, sentiments interfere in d business, that’s why you hear of some of us being owed by producers and not getting well-paid for service rendered.
As for me, I do other things for a living as I stated at the beginning of this interview. The truth is that we don’t really get our worth here. Just one film is supposed to get an actor well settled if you consider the payment of royalties which is supposed to be our due as artistes.
The truth is that we don’t really get our worth here. Just one film is supposed to get an actor well settled if you consider the payment of royalties… – Jude Orhorha
AMH: Tell us about some of the most startling misconceptions about actors in Nigeria.
Jude: Misconception about artistes in Nigeria, hmmm…
Well for me, I seriously think that an artist is first of all a human being. So, whatever emotional, mental, spiritual or physical challenge he or she is going through, it has to be put into consideration.
Most times, people see their favourite movie stars and want to take a photo with them which they eventually do. But this has been used against them on many occasions. This is why some of my colleagues don’t even bother taking photos with fans anymore. So when you greet them, they just snub you due to their past experiences.
A lot of scandals we hear about artistes in Nigeria have been overblown to a large extent that I begin to ask myself, doesn’t it happen to other people in other professions? Doctors, bankers, pastors, you name it, they go through the same thing, and so why are the actors’ plight any different, why are they over-exaggerated?
Read More AMH Interviews Here:
- Not Every Nollywood Actress is a Prostitute – Darlene Odogbili
- Stop Celebrating Mediocrity and Put Tribalism Aside – Director MJ
- Not Every Nollywood Actress is a Prostitute – Darlene Odogbili
AMH: Since you started your career, what has been the most challenging job you took on, and why?
Jude: Since I started acting, the most challenging role for me was Mbogeni in Woza Albert, a stage play where I played up to 32 different characters in less than 2 hours on live stage.
Since i started acting, the most challenging role for me was Mbogeni in Woza Albert, a stage play where I played up to 32 different characters in less than 2 hours on live stage – Jude Orhorha
AMH: If you had the opportunity to go back right from when you started, what will you do differently?
Jude: If I had d opportunity to go back to where I started, what I will do differently is to make sure that live shows MUST ALWAYS be a priority cause that’s the real “McCoy”
AMH: Was there a time you almost gave up acting? If yes, how were you able to pull through?
Jude: There has NEVER been a time where I gave up acting and there will NEVER be.
AMH: In an earlier interview, you advocated that for Nollywood productions to be done differently, there should be a combined resource to have an artiste village where practitioners can do movies without issues. How can this work?
Jude: What we need is to collaborate and synergize more. If movie outfits can put their resources together to produce a film and decide that that film is done the proper way, I think there will be a lot of changes because you will see everyone at their best as no one will want to falter.
Just imagine our honourable Desmond Elliot, Mo Abudu, Funke Akindele and AY putting their resources together to do a production, then Iroko adding their expertise to the finishing, how do you think the production will turn out? I leave the rest to you.
AMH: What is Nollywood not doing right as regards film distribution?
Jude: As regards film distribution I don’t think there’s anything wrong. It’s just a matter of time before we get stabilized.
AMH: Must every Actor/Actress become a producer, director, etc? Is this growth pattern in Nollywood what should be or actors should stick to acting and same for photographers, directors, etc?
Jude: There’s nothing bad in an actor becoming a director or producing, it’s a matter of choice, some actors prefer to be actors till infinity while some choose to diversify, there’s nothing wrong in it. If an actor feels it’s time to do other things why not? After all, our contemporaries outside the shores are doing it.
AMH: The current crop of Actors/Actresses seems to enjoy having their private life in the public domain especially with the advent of social media. How have you been able to keep yours private?
Jude: When it comes to social media, a lot depends on the individuals. I will keep saying that it is not where you come from but your orientation. Some people prefer going public all the time and it works for them and doesn’t work for others. It’s all a matter of choice. There are actors who are popular but decide to keep their personal and family life private. I’m one if such and I’m loving it. Call me old school but I’m comfortable with it. It’s my life. I’m one of such people.
AMH: I recall you saying as Secretary of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) that families of deceased Nollywood actors would begin to enjoy some good financial benefits via insurance policies. How is that going so far?
Jude: As the secretary of AGN, Lagos State chapter, we made sure that we solved the issues of insurance policies for old artistes and families of the deceased. But as for the present regime, i can only say that they’re making sure that those plans continue.
AMH: You advised in one of your interviews in 2018 that upcoming acts must learn to pray and be careful due to the many spiritual attacks practitioners face. Can you tell us of some of your experiences in this regard?
Jude: Actors MUST as a matter, of fact be much closer to God because a lot is going on spiritually and I’m speaking from experience.
I recall that there was a stage play I was involved in years back. On the day of the command performance, I could hear myself speak but the audience couldn’t hear jack and they kept shouting “PROJECT” that really destabilized me, only for me to know years after that someone amongst the cast wanted to outshine me.
In our present-day jobs, I discover that some actors go as far as being diabolical just to get that fame and money. Also, actors are easy targets because our faces are seen everywhere and our names are known so we are easy targets for those who are either jealous or don’t even like us. These are d reasons why i advocate that we should be more careful and get closer to God.
In our present-day jobs I discover that some actors go as far as being diabolical just to get that fame and money – Jude Orhorha
AMH: Lastly, please share 4 tips for new-comers who are hoping to become successful like you in the entertainment industry.
Jude: My four tips for those who want to become successful in our industry are:
- The fear of God