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Lucky Edim is an award-winning Nigerian scriptwriter, movie director and producer. He is the lead actor and co-producer of the multiple award-winning international movie, The Tenants. Late last year, he was given a role in the mini-series adaption of the classic novel, Moby Dick, published in 1851 by an American author, Herman Melville.
In the movie, Lucky plays the role of Daggoo; an African harpooner in company of Hollywood stars, William Hurt and Ethan Hawke, who acted as Captain Ahab and Starbuck respectively. His outstanding role in The Tenant shot him to the limelight as an international actor, thereby joining Hollywood stars to perform at the world scene.
By the end of 2009, The Tenant had won international awards, which include the Best Feature Film Award won at Moving Image Film Festival in 2008 at Toronto, Canada; the Best Feature Film Award won at the Hollywood Black Film Festival in 2009 at Beverly Hills, California, United States (US), and the Best Film Award won at Mid-Atlantic Black Film Festival, held in Virginia, United States (US) in 2009.
The movie, The Tenant, narrates the story of Obinna, a Nigerian refugee in Canada, who was to be deported in 30 days. A encounter he had with Timothy, his ailing landlord suffering from a terminal disease, however, provided him an opportunity to remain in the country.
Etim speaks more on The Tenant, himself and career in this interview with Golden Icons, a celebrity, inspirational and entertainment magazine. Excerpts:
How did you come up with such a brilliant idea, “The Tenant?”
The Tenant was born out of a long, cold winter night of brainstorming between me and Jude Idada (a writer and producer) in December 2005, after nursing our wound from the disappointing trip to Nigeria in search of funds for another project we had. Then, we set out to Nigeria to raise funds for a particular movie made for Nigerian audience but fell short because the budgeted fund, $400,000, sounded too alien to the various prospective investors we met, since in their estimation, that amount could make 10 to 15 films. With confluence of ideas and ideals lacking between them and us, we returned to Canada. We pondered on our experience and instead decided to create something that looks at the displacement of immigrant since we appeared to be immigrants at the time even though we had become naturalised Canadians. With the will to make it happen by any means necessary, we both sold our houses and cars, maxed out our credit cards and went to work. The rest is history.
How did you get into film directing and acting? Did you get some formal training?
I had my formal training in both acting and directing from the University of Benin (UNIBEN) in Nigeria and this was further enhanced by my study of script writing and directing at the Toronto Film School in Canada. The propellant for me to go into acting was my love for Literature and English back in high school in Nigeria. I realised early enough that my journey in the science world, as I was a science student at the time, was a dead end because after much soul searching, I couldn’t see fulfilment in the horizon. So I chose what I had passion for and after 15 years, I am still in it and love every bit of it.
As for directing, it became inevitable that I would wear this hat as well because I needed to harness the various facets of my being a story teller. I was made to believe that an actor is like a book waiting to be read and I was just impatient to wait for someone to hear my voice.
Is this your first movie production and what were the challenges faced along the line?
This is not my first movie production per se, but my debut as a feature film director. I had directed four short films before directing The Tenant and had worked as an actor on a few films prior to making this. It is definitely my first baby as far as Broken Manacles Entertainment Incorporated, my production company – owned in partnership with Jude Idada is – concerned.
The major challenge was funding because Jude and I financed the film. We struggled with getting money and got to the point that we had to sell off our houses and cars to make it happen. You can agree that it was a huge sacrifice that would jolt anyone, but the love, passion and the need to succeed against all odds kept us going. The post-production phase was not easy as well because of fund constraint. And it didn’t help that we were striving for perfection. We started shooting the film in 2006 and ended up finishing it in 2008.
Where did you shoot the movie, and how did you get other actors that played various roles in the movie?
Ninety five per cent of the movie was shot in Canada and five per cent in Nigeria. I had a casting call, that a lot of actors attended and had them auditioned and the actors you now see emerged the best of all.
What should we expect next from you, and how soon is this movie coming out?
The movie is out. There is a lot in the offing for me. The recently completed Moby Dick film that I worked on as an actor, playing the role of a Harpooner, is due for release at the end of this year. So, everyone should look out for that. Jude and I and the entire Broken Manacles family are working tenaciously at making a horror flick next and pre-production is underway. I have also signed on to be in a film called The Lockdown, and in negotiation to star in another film whose name I can’t reveal at the moment.Share