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Aiming for the grand Oscars

By - | May 4th 2013

NAIROBI, KENYA: Suave and sexy Kenyan actor GODFREY ODHIAMBO has graced various local and international TV screens playing lead roles that have scooped him many awards. Well accomplished, now he has his eyes on bigger things in life. He spoke to SHIRLEY GENGA

You have been off the big screen for a while.

Yes, it has been a while and I am sure my fans have been wondering where I have been hiding. But I am still in the film industry. I decided to take a break due to personal reasons; but I will soon be back. In fact as we speak, I have got three drama series lined up this year.

So what has been keeping you occupied?

I have been managing my theatre company called Jawabu Arts Quality Production, which I started in 2006. It focuses on educational drama. I have also been doing some motivational speaking for youth in high schools. But my first love is, and will always be, acting.

When did you discover that you had a talent in acting?

In 1998 while I was in high school. When I was in Form One, my acting director made me play the role of an undertaker because I was the “biggest, darkest and scariest” student in the class. He taught me a lot; he actually made me fall in love with acting.

How long have you been in the acting business, and when did you get your big break?

I have been acting for the past eleven years, but the movie that opened the acting world for me was Malooned in 2007. It was my first major role and it catapulted me into the stoplight. Even today, I still meet fans who claim Malooned is still their most memorable film. Before that, I had acted in Afrika Mon Amour (2006), Money and the Cross (2005), Kitumbua Kimeingia Mchanga(2005), Playas (2004) and The Epitaph  (2004). I have also starred in From A Whisper (2008) and Nairobi Half Life (last year).

Apart from movies, you have also acted in many TV shows. Fill us in.

I have acted in: Noose of Gold, Nairobi Law, Tahidi High, Demigods and Changes.      

Which has been your best role both on TV and film?

I have never had a favourite role because each comes with its own challenges and dynamics. The attention that I give each role is special in its own way; as an actor, what matters is the process not the outcome.


Breaking into the Kenyan film industry is not easy, what was your experience?

That is true. It is never easy for any actor to break into the industry. This is so because when a person is new and young in the industry, patience is often lacking. Aspiring actors often spend most of their time wishing for a big break instead of improving on their acting skills in preparation for that big break.

I am glad I discovered this early enough, so I was patient and willing to put in the time to improve my craft as I waited for my breakthrough. My advice to aspiring actors is to avoid laziness. Success will not come to you, you have to go out and chase it.


Do you have a preparation ritual that helps you get into character?

I do most of the preparation before I get on set and it depends on the character that I am preparing for. While on set, my ritual is simple; I take time to be silent for a while, mostly in a secluded place and play the scene that I am shooting in my head. I do this at least three times before I start shooting. But it changes often depending on what my co-actor gives me.

Do you have a fantasy or dream role that you would like to play?

No I do not. For an actor, all roles should be treated specially and with the different attention that they demand. 

I do not feel that there are any roles that are more special than others. What we have in the acting industry are big and small actors- performance wise.

On second thought, I think it would be interesting for me to play a pastor. Do not ask me why!

What is the highlight of your acting career so far?

When I co-hosted the 6th edition of African Movie Academy Award in Nigeria in 2010. It was exhilarating and challenging at the same time. It was definitely a night that I will always remember.  There is also Afrika Mon Amor, a German movie that was a great acting experience. I got a lot of special treatment on the set. I was pampered a lot; everybody around was busy making sure I got everything I needed. Every hard working Kenyan actor deserves an opportunity to be treated like a star and to be pampered at least once in his or her career.

What next for you?

I am thinking of doing my own television show from next year. I have always wanted to start one, but something has always held me back.

I think the time has come for me to stop thinking about it and to roll up my sleeves and dig in. I cannot give all the details about it but I assure you the audiences are going to love it.


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