Nollywood actor, Deyemi Okanlawon, has revealed how he was shot by robbers after returning from an audition.
Okanlawon, who is among the highest grossing Nollywood actors, made this known in an exclusive interview with Daily Trust.
The father of two said after he survived the accident, he didn’t get discouraged.
“I will insist that I am still up and coming. The reason why is that, if you put me side by side with Denzel Washington, I still have a long way to go. My very first memory of acting was when I was five years old. I played every kind of role during those Christmas plays and I really enjoyed them. I enjoyed reading story books too. I have always had this storytelling performance thing right from childhood. My mother was a good baker and my father, an aircraft engineer. I would pick up not just story books but also his engineering books and that’s how I got interested in sciences. I studied chemical engineering at the University of Lagos and was also selling cake and bread from my mum’s bakery.
“One day in university, I bumped into this group of young performers who were doing faith-based drama production and joined them. That reignited my love for drama. I was about nine years old when I did my first TV commercial about family planning, Sola Sobowale was my mom and even that experience I remember vividly while the other kids struggled with their performance, for me, it was a breeze. So fast forward, I continued doing drama after graduation, with a much bigger church and what I didn’t realise was that I was being trained. I became the head of the youth drama group at that time and doing all these things. I also had a 9-5 job I was attending to.
“Sometime in 2010, a random conversation with a business contact of mine asked what I was studying, and I told him, he asked what I would like to do, and I told him acting. He said he had some friends in Texas and are back in Nigeria to shoot a film and if I am interested, he could let me audition. I went to the audition, and I got two film roles in my first ever audition. That’s how it started; someone saw the trailer for the feature film that I did then Tolu Ajayi of lucid productions. He called after seeing the trailer and said we should have a conversation about his own film ‘blink’. Blink is on YouTube for anyone who wants to watch it. It became my call card to the industry.
“Every night, before going to bed, I would tweet at every Nollywood name that I knew, and I would drop the link to the movie. Somehow, the movie got on Nairaland and it just went viral and from that point, a lot of filmmakers saw my work. Following that I got a call from Lala Akindoju who was working with Jade Osiberu on this movie called Gidi up, they invited me for an audition, and I got the part and this was before these streaming platforms. People saw Gidi up and were drawn to Nigerian filmmaking again because it just set a new standard. One of those nights coming back from the audition, I got waylaid by armed robbers and I got shot. I survived the accident, but I wasn’t discouraged.“…One of those nights coming back from the audition, I got waylaid by armed robbers and I got shot. I survived the accident, but I wasn’t discouraged,” he said.
Okanlawon is a Nigerian film, television, theatre and voice actor. He is best known for his roles in ‘Omo Ghetto’, ‘The Saga’, ‘Blood Sisters’ and ‘King of Boys: The Return of the King.’