Thursday, 1st June 2023

Sisters Bound By Blood- Blood Sisters: A Netflix Nigerian Thriller

By Shola-Adido Oladotun
01 May 2022   |   6:00 am
What do viewers get when the incredible acting talents of Nancy Isime and Ini Dima-Okojie are featured in a film or series? Simple; a blockbuster that will live rent-free in the minds of viewers. Netflix, in partnership with EbonyLife Production, remains at the frontline in telling authentic African stories. The latest addition to its endless…

What do viewers get when the incredible acting talents of Nancy Isime and Ini Dima-Okojie are featured in a film or series? Simple; a blockbuster that will live rent-free in the minds of viewers.

Netflix, in partnership with EbonyLife Production, remains at the frontline in telling authentic African stories. The latest addition to its endless catalogue is a new crime thriller series titled “Blood Sisters.”

Blood Sisters primarily tells the story of Sarah, a young woman who is set to marry a physically abusive man. Despite her best friend, Kemi’s objection, she goes ahead with the wedding, which leads to a series of unfortunate events.

Guardian Life had a chat with the two leading ladies, Ini Dima-Okojie and Nancy Isime, who spilled the tea on what to know about the upcoming Netflix original series.

Becoming Sarah

No stranger to playing a role in a film that explores the theme of physical abuse, referencing her role in “Namaste Wahala”, Ini Dima-Okojie found Sarah to be a demanding character.

To successfully portray Sarah, she recollects putting herself in physically abused victims’ shoes, which meant doing a lot of research and occasionally reaching out to women who have had the experience.

She revealed that there were many nights she would cry after a scene, not only because of Sarah’s situation but also the realisation that many women are living out her story.

“I remember when I was doing research, I read many stories and what struck me the most was people that are victims of abuse, it didn’t matter if they were old or young, black or white, tall or short, and rich or poor. No matter how big or small, they were put in a place where they were victims, where they still fell for this pattern and a lot of them stayed.”

While viewers might be stunned by the beautiful outfits Sarah wears in the series, Ini reveals that the clothes tell a story about the character. “It’s crazy because you know she wore the most glamorous, amazing clothes, but then underneath there was so much pain, so much imperfection.”

Despite our incessant tease and a funny ploy to get a spoiler from her, Ini remained strong, excitedly chanting that viewers were in for the thrill of a lifetime. However, leave it to Guardian Life to be quite persuasive. In the end, Ini had to let us in on a little tea, even though it wasn’t a spoiler.

If you watched the trailer, you might remember that there was a scene with a house burning down. Well, get ready to be shocked because that wasn’t a CGI (Computer-generated imagery) effect, it happened.
“Shooting at Makoko was cinematic on its own, but when we were told that a building was going to be burned down, I was shocked. Though we have had many thrilling scenes before that, the image of seeing a house being burned to the ground or water, as the case was, felt very powerful.”

The Fiery Kemi

With a smile that could make anyone swoon and bright blonde low-cut hair that captures the hearts of many, Nancy Isime provides an insight into what it was like to embody TV’s next favourite character, Kemi.

“Embodying Kemi was interesting. She is such a strong powerhouse and knows what she wants despite her young age. She is just a girl who is family-oriented and also the kind of best friend who is ready to kill for you, literally. I enjoyed her taking over my role for the few weeks we filmed. “

Playing a multi-layered character like Kemi is often accompanied by several challenges, but for Nancy, it was barely an inconvenience. Despite having a different character interpretation in her head, Nancy was able to deliver effectively on her performance with the aid of the directors and cast members.

“When I felt like taking the character in another direction, I consulted with the directors, Biyi Bandele and Kenneth Gyang, and merged the different ideas we had about Kemi.”

Initially, she was sceptical about playing Kemi upon getting the part, because it wasn’t the role she read for, but after reading the script, she found the character fun, mind-blowing, and “fiery.”

In addition to the theme of physical abuse explored in the series, manslaughter is also a subject that would spark debate among viewers. Expressing her opinion on the controversial theme, Nancy said, “It depends on the scenario. Sometimes it’s self-defence. So, for a man slaughtered, of course, killing a person is never right. But there are scenarios where the person was defending himself. But that’s not my part to tell. The court will always dig into it and see what it is.”

Spilling the tea on what to expect in the series, Nancy said, “Look out for the blood, the gory, the horror, the twist, and just look out for the girls. It’s so funny because I feel like a lot of people would feel sympathetic towards the girls and be on their side the entire series. That’s something I want to see; are you on the side of the girls or against them?”

Remember the heart-capturing blonde, low-cut hair we mentioned earlier? Well, we asked her if there was a story behind the iconic “Nancy-cut,” and you bet there is!
“I was hot one day and decided it was time to cut my hair, but I cut it to wear wigs comfortably. After cutting it, I was like, ‘See, babe, oh!’. Deciding to push the envelope further, I met up with my barber, tried a few hair colours, and Voila, a signature look, was born.”

In the spirit of sharing, Nancy gave Guardian Life exclusive skincare tips that include moisturising, sunscreen, working out, and minding one’s business.

If the last tip isn’t enough to make you wonder “what fascinating creature is Nancy Isime?” She opens up about crying being therapy.

While we wait for Nancy to teach us how to properly eat rice and egusi, we are excited to see her play the role of the selfless Kemi on our screens.

The Blood Sisters

Nancy Isime and Ini Dima-Okojie. Photo Credit: Idris Dawodu For Guardian Life

A common thread that existed in Nancy and Inis’ responses, except for their refusal to let us in on a secret, was the love they had for each other.

Beyond the roles they played in the film, both actresses have strengthened the bond of their friendship and may somewhat be referred to as real life blood sisters. From Ini appreciating how much of a sister Nancy was to Nancy mentioning how supportive Ini was to her during filming, it was hard not to label this duo “friendship goals.”

When we thought that the friendship aura radiating from both actresses couldn’t get any stronger, an unofficial blood sister crashed the photo shoot.

We obviously can’t tell who that “sister” was. But let’s say her name starts with an “S” and ends with an “A”.

Blood Sister’s BreakOut Star

Making her major acting debut, Genoveva Umeh plays the role of Timeyin in the Netflix Original series, Blood Sisters.

An alumnus of the EbonyLife creative academy, Genoveva recollects getting the role when Kenneth Gyang, HOD of the Directing faculty at the time, noticed her stellar acting talents in short films and recommended her to the CEO of EbonyLife Media, Mo Abudu.

Timeyin is such a strong character, and Genoveva couldn’t help but fangirl over how viewers are in for the out-of-the-box and complicated young lady.

“Expect to meet a fierce young woman who has a lot of love to give but deals with addiction and family resistance. She wants to overcome her demons of addiction but she also wants her family’s support. Timeyin is the Gbas Gbos the audience will love!”

Speaking about her experience working on set, Genoveva said, “I had the time of my life, and didn’t want the shoot to end. I remember sitting at our first table read, and thinking how incredibly blessed I was to be working with acting legends & heavyweights that I’d either grown up watching and some that I had observed build their brand solely on the integrity of their craft.”

Affirming the notion that family members are a person’s biggest supporters, Genoveva recounts how, from a young age, her parents encouraged her creative personality, most especially her dancing skills. To date, they continue to encourage her through prayers and words of affirmation.

Blood sisters is just the beginning for Genenova as she reveals, “My long term plans involve taking on more acting roles. I’m currently preparing for a few international films that promote authentic african stories. I’d like to continue to foster good relationships both at work and in my personal life and simply enjoy the everyday as it comes.”

What’s next?

For Ini, it’s the sound of wedding bells that are going to be ringing anytime soon .Nancy, on the other hand, eagerly awaits the AMVCA ceremony where she is nominated in two categories.

And what about you? Mark the date, May 5 on your calendar, and keep your fingers crossed for the release of the limited series, Blood Sisters, exclusively on Netflix.

NOTE: Ini Dima-Okojie’s name was wrongly spelled in the introducing paragraph. The error is regretted.