MELVIN ORJI: Playing Great Roles
The Nigerian film and television industry would be incomplete without the likes of Melvin Orji, who contribute greatly to the second biggest film industry in the world.
Melvin Orji is an actor, film director/producer known for his impressive roles in numerous TV commercials and films. When he’s not acting, Orji takes his time to finetune the skills of other young Nigerians through his humanitarian contributions. Following his impressive achievements on-screen and off-screen, Guardian Life sits down with the remarkable actor to discuss his career, acting in Nigeria, and the future of the Nigerian film industry.
The Nigerian movie industry has seen a remarkable change in the last few years; what are some factors you believe have influenced this change?
The Nigerian movie industry is undoubtedly the biggest in Africa, and it’s also among the top movie industries in the world. One of the key factors of Nollywood growth, in my opinion is the distribution deals with Western streaming services. Now a lot of people can watch Nollywood films anywhere in the world.
What made you choose acting as a career? And what is it that fans don’t know about you?
It started by being a commercial model and working with numerous notable brands. I had an unwavering passion for the entertainment industry and decided to go for training at the City Varsity School of Media and Arts in South Africa, where I acquired intelligible skills in filmdom. So, I rocketed onto the film industry; I was featured in The Men’s Club, Royal Castle, the legacy which was my first Pan – African movie feature, From Lagos with love, and many more. People don’t know that I am a good cook! Husband material 1000 yards, lol
It’s not every day African parents throw their support behind creativity, was there any challenge getting your parents to accept your career path?
There were no challenges; my mum bought my modelling form back then. My dad was sceptical, though, but later supported me with regular transportation to modelling auditions.
What would you consider your biggest role yet?
I consider every role a big one because of the opportunity given. I mean, we have a bunch of creative actors in Nigeria.
Who would you consider your biggest inspiration as an actor?
Creativity thrives in abundance among Nigerian youths; how do you think this incredible talent can be finetuned for the world at large?
The best way to be finetuned in any industry is to first observe other people and read as much as you can. Listen to your surroundings, watch as much as possible and have a life outside of that industry.
Where do you see the Nigerian creative sector in the next five years?
The Nigerian creative sector is growing by the day, and in the next 5 years, I am certain that the creative industry can potentially create more than 3 million jobs in the next 5 years. From music, movies, fashion, tech and the likes, the industry will add to the country’s revenue and growth.
Are you involved in humanitarian activities that you’d like us to ask about?
So, every year, we set out to feed the less privileged, and this year’s outreach was one for the books. We fed at least 800 inmate prisoners at the Ikoyi prison; it was an interesting time as well as a sad one, listening to different stories of the inmate; most of them claim they were innocent. Imagine a prison with a capacity of 1,000 – 1,500 inmates max, with almost 2,700 inmates; the rooms aren’t even enough for them. Another shocking thing I discovered was that only 600 inmates had been confirmed guilty the rest of them are awaiting trial. It is sad, I must confess, but we could only do our best, fed the few we could, prayed with them and gave them some words of encouragement. We also donated a few books to their library because some prisoners are in school, and some are planning to write exams.