Jimmy Odukoya: Homeboy earns worthy Hollywood call up
It is not one of those across the border productions that they describe as Hollywood productions— produced in the US with a mix of foreign and Nigerian actors. No, it is not. This is the real deal; a Hollywood production and homeboy Jimmy Odukoya has landed his Hollywood debut in TriStar’s forthcoming historical African epic, The Woman King as directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood.
Jimmy, son of the son of late Pastor Bimbo Odukoya and Pastor Taiwo Odukoya of Fountain of Life Church will be starring alongside American actress and producer Viola Davis, John Boyega, Lupita Nyong’O, Thuso Mbedu, Jayme Lawson, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Masali Baduza and Grammy winner, Angelique Kidjo in the film, which is expected to premiere in cinemas in September 2022.
Based on an original screenplay by Dana Stevens, Jimmy will be the only Nigerian-based actor to star in the film that is set in 18th century Africa and that is based on true events that happened in The Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries. The story follows Nanisca (Davis), General of the all-female military unit, and Nawi (International Emmy nominated Thuso Mbedu), an ambitious recruit, who together fought enemies who violated their honor, enslaved their people, and threatened to destroy everything they’ve lived for.
It was Jimmy who broke the good news of his landing a role in a Hollywood movie after producer Viola Davis made the announcement on social media. Viola said she was excited and it is indeed a dream to work with Angelique Kidjo and the talented cast comprising Nigeria’s Jimmy Odukoya, Thuso Mbedu and Fiennes Tiffin who broke out in the box office hit After trilogy, based on the Anna Todd novels.
In between mourning his stepmother, Rosemary Simangele Odukoya, who passed on recently, the Nollywood actor, public figure, Pastor, Musician, Relationship Coach and Motivational Speaker took to his Instagram page to celebrate the significant achievement in his career noting that he is truly humbled and honoured to star alongside iconic American actress and producer Viola Davis.
“The timing of this is crazy to me, but God has a way of continuing to shine a light during difficult times. Truly humbled and honoured to star alongside the iconic @violadavis and all the amazing cast and to be directed by the legendary @gpbmadeit. Thank you @farafrique.actors.”
Best known for his romantic roles in Nollywood movies, Jimmy who was schooled in the United States has been having a smooth run in Nollywood since he joined on his return. An alumnus of the prestigious Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma from where he bagged a first degree in Business Administration (Advertising minor) and an MBA in Business Administration, it didn’t take long for Jimmy to grab roles as soon he took the decision to begin acting nearly a decade ago.
A gospel musician whose hit song Stand By Me is popular amongst teens and young adults, Jimmy has featured in a number of Nollywood movies including Celebrity Marriage, Love in Sight, Baby Palaver and A Lot Like Love. Other movies that have had the benefit of his expert portrayal are Baby Shower, Cooked Up Love and Bolanle Austen-Peters’ The Bling Lagosians.
Married to Kemi and blessed with two beautiful children, some Nollywood celebrities took to their Instagram page and social media handles to congratulate Jimmy, who combines acting with being a relationship coach, motivational speaker, singer and being a full-time pastor.
Veteran actress Ajoke Jacobs described Jimmy’s landing of a role in a Hollywood movie as a super tremendous win. She wrote: “This is a super tremendous win for a most charismatic actor.”
A similar congratulatory message came from the star of Kunle Afolayan’s Swallow, Deyemi Okanlawon. Deyemi wrote: “Sad that this is coming right off the back of our recent loss… but I have tried to keep quiet about this for too long… introducing Hollywood actor Jimmy Odukoya. May the lines continue to fall for us in amazing places.”
Singer Nikki Laoye wrote: “This is huge. What a blessing indeed. Congratulations dear Jimmy. Keep shining in the midst of it all.”
Actress Kiki Omeili described the feat as “huge.” The star of Married But Living Single wrote: “This is so huge PJ. Congrats. God does give us beauty for ashes. Congratulations.”
Others celebrities such as Kate Henshaw, Ireti Doyle, Femi Jacobs, Yvonne Jegede, Uche Jombo, Nse Ikpe Etim, Adesua Etomi, Uche Macauley, Blessing Egbe, Stan Eze and Kunle Remi all took turns to congratulate Jimmy, who revealed in a recent interview that he has been under tremendous pressure being a pastor’s son.
Jimmy had remarked: “There is actually a lot of pressure. When I went abroad to school, I didn’t attend church for the first two years; I was just doing my thing. My mum always told me that I would become a pastor, but I used to laugh and ask her how that could be. Honestly, I did have my own days of partying and clubbing. When mothers say they want their sons to be like me, I tell them I have not always been like this. My mum has been dead for over 15 years, yet my actions today can still affect her legacy. The pressure never goes away. I came to a quick understanding very early in my life that one cannot please everybody and people always have expectations of how they expect one to be.”