CAROL KING: I’m not about the glamour

Nollywood actress, Caroline Eferamor King, who plays lead role in Kunle Afolayan’s new movie, The Tribunal, has come a long way. From her early days on Everyday People to present day big screen, she admits that the bane of her career is on always being cast as a gentle, understanding mum. She speaks with OVWE MEDEME on the journey so far, plans for the future and sundry issues.

How was it working with Kunle Afolayan? It is always a pleasure working with him. This is not the first time I’ll be working with him. His movies always up the stakes. He’s good at what he does. When he has a production, he always has a plethora of talents on his projects. So I knew it was going to be something fantastic and I wasn’t disappointed.

Was the role very challenging?

Well, every role is challenging. I don’t believe that any actor should undermine any role, even if it’s just one line. You know, because it is courtroom drama, the legalese, the language isn’t the normal day-to-day language. All that put into perspective, it was a challenging role. And then the chairman of the tribunal, her profile is that she’s in her 60s. Having to fit myself into the mindset of a 60-something-year-old was challenging. But I enjoyed playing it.

How far away are you from your 60s?

Well, I’m still just about to hit my mid 50s, (laughs).

What was your general experience on set like?

It was like a family coming together. There were jokes everywhere; everybody laughing, the cast and the crew just got along fantastically. And I think it’s also due to the fact that when you have a leader, for want of a better word, who knows their onions, everybody just seems to fall in line. So it was wonderful. We finished shoot on Monday and we all sat outside on the pavement of City Hall, just discussing and catching up for almost an hour before we parted ways. This was at about 4am. That’s to tell you that there was a synergy and it was beautiful.

The Tribunal is centerd around albinism. Have you had a personal encounter you’d like to share?

No, I haven’t, but when I read the script, I thought it was beautiful because these are things that we don’t address in the society but it’s quite prevalent. Much like when people say, they are not racist. I really don’t see colours but the truth is that, if a white man comes in, I’ll definitely notice that he’s white. So also, if an albino comes in, I’ll notice he’s an albino. But the point is, at the end of the day, we are all humans. We all have the same spectrum of emotions: anger, surprise, joy or happiness. It doesn’t matter your skin colour; we all feel these things. Kunle always treats thematic issues and this was really fantastic.

How would you describe your journey as an actress?

It has been fantastic. As I always say, I’m one of the very blessed ones in the industry because, from the very first day that I came in, I’ve just had the good fortune of working with good hands; with the kings and the queens of the industry. So, I’ve been blessed. It’s been a wonderful journey. But then, I’m still looking for that juicy role that every actor is always dreaming about.

One would think this is it for you

No, it’s not. There’s always something ahead. As actors, we are always looking for that script that will be more challenging than the last one we just did. For me, I loved playing the tribunal chairman because, if you had followed my career, I’ve been put in a box and they labelled me in capital letters, ‘sweet mummy’. So it’s been quite a job trying to extricate myself from that box to show my versatility and all that. So any role that challenges, that makes me dig deep, I’m looking forward to that.

So far, have you had the chance to play that bad person?

I’m currently playing one on Tinsel as Laide Cole. She’s a bad woman and I love playing her. At least people get to see a different part of me.

Would you agree that the roles that you have always been cast for is fashioned after your original personality?

As they say, you can’t give what you don’t have. And I’m also of the school of thought that in every human being, and even animals, there’s good and bad. It is the measure of which is more that determines. So I guess the good in me is more.

So, what are some of those demons you have had to fight?

You think I will share that with you? Really? (laughs).

For your fans and your followers’ sake…

They don’t need to know my demons.

From your days in Everyday People, you have come to be known more as a TV personality. Where does your heart lie?

Personally, I prefer TV and the reason is this: for TV, you have the opportunity to grow the character. People see the character grow from week to week. But with film, it’s rapid. Like with Everyday People, you could basically watch my children grow. For Edge of Paradise, the little baby that I had is in secondary school now. So with TV, we get to see the evolution of each character. That’s the beauty for me. And that’s why I love TV so much.

Did you go through a transitioning process when you started doing movies?

Every character that you want to play, you still bring ‘you’re a-game’ at every point in time. So whether it’s TV, stage or film. You still go through the same process.

Which has been more financially rewarding?

If I was in this industry for the money, I would be destitute. By that, I mean I would be poor. So, most of us have other stuffs that are basically our sources of income apart from movies. That’s not to say that I haven’t done jobs that paid me well. The point I’m making is that I might get a job that pays me well today, but I might not get another of such in another eight months. So what happens during the wait?

So why are you doing this?

Because I love it. It’s a passion. As I always tell people, it is a ministry. I like it when I identify a cause I want to champion and I get involved in it. So I don’t even think about the money and all that.

You seem to be very picky when it comes to movies…

I am very picky.

So what are those things you look out for?

The first thing for me is there has to be substance in the scriptwriting. I have to know that someone is sitting at home watching and learning. When we say movies are entertaining, we should remember that they are also very informative and educative. They can be the archive of a nation. Like the movie 76, it’s a historical piece. Edge of Paradise that I played a couple of years ago still airs on TV and people still see me on the road and talk to me because they got something from it. I’m not about the glamour. I want a message, something that people will learn from. Another thing is the kind of cast that will be involved in it is also one of the determinants for me. And then the most important thing is the director.

Aside acting, what else do you do?

I do a bit of buying and selling. As I said, if you don’t have another source of income and you depend on acting alone in this country, it will be difficult. If you look at the jobs I’ve done, I should be living very fine, but that’s not the case. My living fine is not from acting.

If you had a chance to address young people, what would you say to them?

I would tell them the same thing I say to my children. That thing that you love doing so well, that you know that whether they pay you or not, you will do it and it will bring you joy, go for it. And let your premise never be money, because money has wings. It will fly away. Build relationships and maintain your integrity. Nothing is worth losing your integrity over. Be focused.

What happens after now?

I pray for scripts to come now. Good scripts; the type I like (laughs).

Do you see yourself at any point hanging your boots?

Never! I have plans to gradually shift to behind the camera, but even when I’m working behind the camera, once a while, the acting thing will bite and I must answer.

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