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Mike Ezuruonye: The face of African movie

EXPLAINERS
By | March 5th 2011

By George Orido

That Mike Ezuruonye is the fastest rising star in Nollywood today is not doubt. He was buying fuel at a gas station when Nollywood director Ruke Amata of Amata Dynasty spotted him.

This set him on the track to pursue his most cherished dream — acting. "I met someone I knew way back at the National Theatre Dickson Iloegbu, he was a director, and he called me to do a movie for him, that was Mayor 2 where I shot eight scenes," recalls the soft-spoken Ezuruounye.

After his debut in the film Mayor 2, Ezuruonye, who is an accountant, never looked back.

Mike Ezuruonye during the interview. He is one of the accomplished actors in Nollywood.

[PICTURES: GEORGE ORIDO]

Ezeruonye’s real claim to fame came when he starred in the film Critical Decision, with huge commercial success and international acclaim.

It also made him a household name as well as making him one of the most sought after actors in Nollywood.

Destiny child

In a cool and relaxed poise, Ezuruonye strikes a pose reserved for a child of destiny.

Having lost his father at a tender age, the young actor grew in the care and tutelage of his mother to whom he owes his success.

Since 2005, Ezuruonye has appeared in 40 movies. This is telling because he acts along Superstars such as Genevieve Nnaji and Ramsey Noah.

To his credit he has maintained the star performance with such compelling execution including in Ropes of Fate, Clash of Twins, Forest of Tears, Jealous Friend, Lost Mogul of the League, League of Gentlemen, Missing Child, Native son, Prince of the Niger, Testimonies of Pain, Act of Faith, Beauty and the Beast, Desire, Don’t Wanna Be a Player, Feel My Pain among other movies.

Today, Ezuruonye is the face of GLO or Globocom owned by Mike Adenuga Group and is the fastest growing telecommunications firm and leading mobile phone services provider in Nigeria and has presence in Benin, Ivory Coast, and Ghana.

With his fame firmly tucked in Nigeria, the 2008 AMAA nominee for the best actor is already working with actors outside Nigeria, including Ghana and even Kenya’s own Millicent Mugadi.

"The industry is challenging you have to be aggressive and good at your work. You also have to a have passion for it because in terms of money it takes a long time to come. That is why I try to venture into other things like having my on beauty salon to complement my acting career," says Mugadi.

Ezuruonye who has interest in computer and beauty enterprises says the future of film in Africa will be in producing something that appeals to the whole continent.

It is only with economies of scale that the African film will make it big with time and revealed his upcoming projects and partnership with South African filmmakers.

"I think the problem of piracy can be stemmed by a good distribution system where genuine movies are accessible to merchants," he says of the biggest challenge facing African Cinema.

Ezuruonye suggests that it is time African producers thought about sub-titling movies in French, English or other African languages to spread demand across the continent.

Ezuruonye’s belief and conviction in the African spirit is manifest in his tying the knot with his sweetheart, Nkechia, in Igbo traditional ceremony in the sleepy town of Owerri, Imo State.

The bride is a medical psychologist who recently relocated from Canada to Nigeria.

The handsome actor could not hide his joy as his colleagues congratulated him.

Patience Ozokwor. Nonso Diobi, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Uche Jombo, Tonto Dike, Desmond Elliot, Ini Edo, Jackie Appiah, Rukky Sanda, Chioma Chukwuka-Akpotha, Chinedu Ikedieze and Mercy Johnson are some of the faces that added glamour to the colourful event.

Ezuruonye, the first born in a family of four, sees the African family beyond the continent and mentions the Caribbean and African Americans as part of the fold.

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