A glowing week to everyone especially in these trying times! Chin up everyone; the only way is up. This sort of reminds me of the Pharaoh’s dream of old where he dreamt of the seven scrawny cows eating up the seven fat ones. Well let’s hope it was just one cow that swallowed the seven this in our case! Anyway like I said, a wonderful week to all and I’m going to toot my horn this week and brag about one of my many talents – not that I intend making a career out of this one – stunts! Yes my dear friends I can confidently say I have earned my stripes in the world of stunts with no insurance! Hopefully this will be the last.
It was on a movie set in Lagos and the character I was playing was a slime bag that got his kicks off sleeping with other men’s wives. The movie’s not out yet hence no title yet. Sorry that’s the Nigerian way of doing things – no movie, no name. Well in this scene the cuckolded husband, played by Bimbo Manuel is so frustrated with his philandering wife’s (Rita Dominic) antics that he goes to help himself with the ladies of easy virtue at night. While parked on the road where the prostitutes ply their trade and seated in his car, he imagines his arch enemy, yours truly, crossing the road while he runs me down into hell where I ‘belong’. Now I jauntily thought it would just a case of crossing the road, being startled by the bright headlights, open my eyes wide when I realize the intention of the driver, raise my arms across my face to avert the impending onslaught and then ‘cut’! No such luck.
The director, Izu Ojukwu, walks up to me with a guilt laden grin on his face. The kind that says “I’m sorry to have to ask you to do this but you’re going to have to do it anyway cos I won’t have this scene look stupid”. All I’d have to do, according to him, was to walk casually across the road and the vehicle would ‘bump’ me from the side and I’d simply employ my athletic skills to fly up in the air, fall to the ground and play dead. I looked at the vehicle in question. It was a formidable looking Mercedes SUV and to make matters worse, it had monstrous steel bull bars attached to the front bumpers, rising up to my rib section! I looked back at him.
“Oh no no no. The engine will not be turned on. The P A’s will simply push the vehicle so it will roll gently and just graze you just a little bit.” He said in an attempt to reassure me.
With some reserve I consented and made ready on the other side of the road. At the first attempt I ‘casually’ sauntered across the road, my peripheral vision at its sharpest as I spied the black shadow gliding towards me like some oily monster until I ‘saw’ it at the very last moment and startled by the dazzling headlights, opened my eyes wide when I realised the intentions of the driver and raised my arms across my face to avert the onsl… “Cut!” The director bellowed. Damn!
“You are not supposed to ever notice the car. It’s supposed to catch you completely unawares. Take two!”
I walked across a second time. Twenty people must have been pushing that car because the speed at which that vehicle came at me made it look like it was fleeing a crime scene. I jumped back at the last minute swearing and hurling unmentionables at my would be assassins. By this time a small crowd had gathered round to watch even though it was 11pm, I decided to be a tough guy and go through with it. I crossed, walked bravely in front of the car and got hit. It wasn’t as bad as I’d thought it would be but if I had initially thought I was going to sprawl over the bonnet like I would an ordinary car, I was to change that thought very quickly if I was to live. The bull bars would not even let me get close to the already high bonnet let alone sprawl over it. Using the bars as leverage, I flipped and then flung myself over the side of the bonnet landing on the ground with a thud. Of course I had to repeat it again as it looked too ‘contrived’. It took two more takes for Izu to be satisfied with the sacrifice I had made. The good thing was I suffered no injury and no bruises. The highlight of the shoot that night was when on being knocked down, the ‘prostitutes’ rushed over to assist my character as he lay prone face up on the ground – Staying dead was a very trying time for my character especially with the camera trained on his lifeless body!
Whenever Nollywood deems it fit to honour versatile actors, I will stand tall in the exclusive club of actors who do their own stunts! Have a great week ahead everyone!