With Inikpi, Talented Esther Ene Audu Continues To Raise Her Game
THE crew of the historical movie Inikpi, about the illustrious Igala Princess who offered herself for sacrifice to liberate the people of Igala kingdom of the Middle Belt region of Nigeria, didn’t have to search for too long for an actress who could play the role of Inikpi, the legendary Princess. Legend has it that Inikpi was as beautiful as she was intelligent and she was a princess who occupied herself with more than matters of physical beauty.
So with that description in mind, they went scouting and fingers pointed to an amazing actress who is having a good run, off and on screen. Enter the delectable Business Management graduate of the University of Jos and a native of Olamaboro Local Government Area of Kogi State, Esther Ene Audu. The amiable, humble and soft-spoken actress was on set somewhere in Asaba when Producer Abubakar Yakubu reached out to her. The deal was sealed and location report indicates that the actress playing alongside talented actors like Segun Arinze and Alex Ekubo bumped herself so well into the role.
In fact, when Inikpi, which is currently in post-production is eventually released, Esther who has been having a steady rise in the industry since she joined in 2003, will be one of the reasons why the movie will earn its acting credit. Clearly a good centre to hang a story on and an actress any good director would want to have on his cast, Esther who close friends and colleagues describe as disciplined, modest and confident, said she is excited about the Inikpi project. She also spoke about her career and life.
Congratulations. Finally, you are done with Inikpi, the movie?
Yes we are done and it was for me a great privilege to play the role of Inikpi, the legendary princess of Igala land. It was a great time working with the entire cast and crew, from the director down to the production assistants and from the major actors down to the minor actors. They were all excellent. It was so much fun shooting a story I have heard about right from when I was really young. I am Igala and so I am familiar with the historical account. So playing Inikpi in the movie was now the most fortunate thing for me.
You must be excited that at last there is an Igala story on the big screen?
Yes, I am so excited. My excitement started when the producer Mallam Abubakar Yakubu and the director Mr. Chico Ejiro reached out to me. I was called up and asked to send my email that they have actually been trying to reach me. They mentioned that they wanted to shoot the Inikpi story and they considered me a perfect picture of who Inikpi looked like. So they contacted me. I am sure they would have still given me the role whether or not I am Igala. But I was super excited that at last, the Igala history is been told, acted out on the big screen. There have been other Igala language movies but I think this is huge because of the calibre of people in charge. It’s a great feeling and I am so honored to be part of it.
What are your expectations for the movie when it is finally released?
My expectations are really high knowing that the story is not just any other story but a historic one in our history as a nation. I am sure moviegoer’s whether they are familiar with the story or not and whether they are Nigerians or not will be glad they did.
But where have you been. You seem to have taken the back seat?
No, I can never take the back seat. I will always be in front as a child of God. But seriously, I have been quite busy with other things. But then I have worked on some movie projects too. And you know how it is sometimes. Most projects take a while to finally be released. So am sure you will be seeing more of me on your big screens.
So how many movies do you have in your movie pouch?
I truly don’t keep count of the number of movies I have done but I know I have done quite a few. Inikpi is a movie dear to my heart and being an Igala girl it is quite a memorable one for me. I have done some other great movies that I love too.
What was that tale about you taking part in only gospel films?
I heard it too but there was no time I ever resolved to feature in just gospel films. I am an actor and I am able to be part of both gospel and secular movies.
You have been so consistent and committed that one should ask where you source the strength to stay on?
Well, It has not been easy. But God has been so faithful. He is been there for me all through and He is still there. It keeps getting better by the day. For me, my challenges are just the fact that actors are not being well paid for their talents and then the whole stress of working in a strange environment and meeting different category of people on each set. But it is fun though. I love the job and the hustle in it. But I believe that things will get better and change as they say is constant. My passion for it has kept me there and it will continue to keep me there until the very end because I don’t think I can be more fulfilled being somewhere else.
How much of family support do you enjoy being an actress?
I don’t have any problem with my family. They have since given their blessings and they keep praying for me and I am so grateful for family support and encouragement. They love what I do and are proud of me. God bless my family, best one can ever have.
And your looks and frame. You have kept this amazing look and slim frame for ages. What is the secret?
(Loud laughter) I think I just try as much as I can to stay fit, not just for the movies but for my health and appearance as a public figure. I dink lot of water, eat fruits and vegetables and I also exercise and then I also find time to rest. In fact when I am not busy on any set, I stay at home and rest. And resting for me is watching films, reading novels and spending quality time with family and friends
What is your favourite food, music and all?
My favourite food is plantain porridge served with fish and vegetable. Favourite music will be John Legend, Brandy and Asa. I am more of a movie person though not the book child. But I find time to read some great books. I am actually reading Attitude is Everything by Keith Harrell. This is like the fifth time I am reading it. Totally love the book. As for my role model, I have just added Kerry Washington and Terrance Howard. I am love with these guys. They are awesome.
We noticed you have not changed your maiden name. Is marriage not on your mind?
(Loud laughter) Abeg, I am not in a hurry to change it oooo. It will definitely give way soon. Of course I will get married some day. But for now, I am totally loving Miss Esther Ene Audu.
So what is on your plate now?
Well, I just finished the All star Comedy movie by Purple Ribbon production produced by Chioma Okoye and ably directed by Amayo Uzor Phillips. Should be out a few months time. It is a lovely comedy movie that everyone should see
No regrets at all. In fact, I will want to be an actor again and again and again. And as for my career ambition, Hollywood is my aim and winning an Oscar is my target.