Evang. Kayode Owojori is an actor of many years standing with a wealth of experience in the movie/theater world. He has featured in several Mount Zion movies and other Christian productions. Owojori before joining the Christian drama had antecedent outside the church. In this exclusive interview with Gospel Film News publisher, Oluwafemi Dosu, Kayode Owojori at the film location of ‘Mary’s Option’ disclosed how he started his career and why he dislikes people calling him an actor. Excerpt:
As a professional, what can you say about the storyline of this movie, Mary’s option?
The movie is a new way of retelling the bible story. A new way of saying it just as the bible said it. Jesus Christ had friends, Mary, Martha and their brother, Lazarus and he related with them. In the movie, Pastor Amos had friends; Laura, Mary and their brother Rufus. So, it’s just the basic interpretation of the bible story and the bible said Jesus Christ was going about doing good and healing all that were sick and the Lord was with him. In this same way, pastor Amos was just doing the work of miracle without allowing any part of the glory to come back to him. That’s something about Mary’s Option which is very impressing.
Will you say the movie has what it takes to keep the audience glued to the screen?
Well, it depends on the audience you are talking about. It’s not really an evangelical film. It’s rich in a message for the believer. And so if a believer would see the movie, he would reappraise his Christian life as to how much of Christ-likeness is in him, especially if you are a minister working in the vineyard or just a Christian doing His business he will relate with the film. Is Mary’s option my option, or is Martha’s option my option? Martha’s option is the type that will go around doing things and satisfying everyone and not being satisfied at the end of the day, but Mary, the bible says Mary faced that one thing and that’s the richness in the message for the believer.
As an actor of many years standing, what are the challenges you have faced in the industry/ministry and how did you overcome?
First, I don’t allow people to call me an actor. For so many reasons I run away from that title. Secondly, I believe that I’m a minister of the gospel in the way of retelling stories by playing characters, and to that effect, I can’t see myself facing challenges more than anyone that any Nigerian is facing. I just consider every challenge an opportunity to overcome and to interpret it in such a way that I will be able to overcome the challenge as it may come. For instance, I prayed about Mary’s Option and the Lord gave me the go-ahead, but as I was coming I lost my mum, I was to leave about a day and I lost my mum, and the issue was as a first son, go back home, take care of the family and so what I did was to go home organize the family and tell them I would be back and I’m here. I don’t want to consider challenges enough to disturb me. Really there are meetings going on but I don’t consider that as denying me of the work that I’ve come to do, basically because I have families that support me, it depends on who you are.
You have played several roles in movie and you said you don’t really see any challenge, which of those roles do you see as challenging?
If you are called to the ministry of interpretation of roles you will not consider any role as a task, you would rather consider any role as an opportunity to express yourself. All the roles I’ve taken in Christian movies to date, I’ve taken them as they come. The lord has helped me so far any of my directors have not complained. As the roles come I believed God helped me, so I don’t even go home complaining that I let myself down or i let the Lord down, I just do it as the Lord wills.
So as a minister that interprets roles, what does it take to bring you to any production?
To bring me to any production, pray because I will also pray. If you pray and the Lord gives you the leading, I will also pray. Let me tell you a story; before I came into Christian film productions I was basically doing Christian stage plays and then Evang. Mike Bamiloye called me and said Bro. Kayode there is a production we want you to do and I asked him how did you come to me and he said the same way we have been handling our productions since God called us into the ministry; we pray, God leads us to who to call and we call them and it works for us. So, he said they prayed and God told them to call me for the film production and that was One Careless Night. Initially, they taught it was going to be a one-part play but ended up in a six-part drama. Putting someone who was green, not known in the Christian movie world to come and handle a major role in a movie that was going to be six parts is a risk. They took the risk, I took the risk as well to plunge into it, so if you prayed and the Lord told you to call me and I will pray and the Lord will tell me to come, it’s an agreement.
How did you start your career as a minister who interprets roles?
I told you a bit of that by Mount Zion calling me and before that, I was already doing a bit of Church Drama and all that but many people did not know that I had an antecedent outside of the church and my antecedent was well over forty years as a university student. As a matter of fact, for my first degree, I read Dramatic Art and I already been doing televisions and stage plays before Nollywood started. I had done several with NTA that’s NTA network, I’ve done with BCOS that’s Oyo, I’ve done several other stage play before the Lord caught me. When the Lord caught me, you know what he said; “Give me your talent and when it is the right time I will return it to you” I’ve never forgotten that and that was 1988 around April or so. He said give me your talent and I will return it to you at the right time he said that in 1988 and I did not argue with the Lord. Many opportunities to act, even when Nollywood started gaining ground, I refused and they called me names. My friends brought scripts to me, they gave me offers but I refused because the Lord said he will return it to me at the right time. Do you know when the Lord returned it to me? 2005 since 1988 when our daddy Mike Bamiloye called me you know what God said, he said: “now take your talent and use it for me.” So you wonder why many of us don’t go out often. He said take and use it for me and since then I’ve never looked back, I’ve always used it for the Lord and that’s why I don’t call myself an actor.
There are lots of upcoming filmmakers, dramatists who want to get to stardom in a jiffy, what advice do you have for them?
Different strokes for different folks but if you are very serious with the Lord you will see Christian movies or acting in Christian movies as a ministry. Use your ministry to serve God and God will use it to promote your talent. The first thing is to use it for God. You can’t be a Christian movie actor and you will not be active in your local church. Who has called you for goodness sake? You don’t climb a tree from the leaves, you climb a tree from the trunk and the trunk serves the church with your talent and God will promote you. Don’t start overnight and say I have this, for eighteen years or so God did not return my talent to me. My advice is to serve the Lord, just serve the Lord, once you serve the Lord He will announce you. Many of the people we consider as fathers in the gospel today were just people who buried themselves in the service of the Lord. Many of them, I can mention names but let me save that. They buried themselves in serving the Lord since 1984 and right up till this age they are still serving the Lord, they don’t consider themselves as super starts nor megastars. That’s the way God promotes.