Chiwetalu Agu reveals how he generates slangs to interpret movies
The thespian revealed that he creates these slangs himself and that no scriptwriter uses the words in their scripts.
There is a record of at least about 150 movies in which Agu has been cast Veteran actor Chiwetalu Agu has spoken on his use of slangs in Nollywood movies.
The thespian’s usage of specific language slang, phrases or clichés in each film has made him uniquely a household name in Nigeria and among Nollywood admirers abroad. In a recent chat with Vanguard, the award winning comic actor opened up on how and why he uses slangs.
Your fans are fascinated by your frequent use of some phrases in movies, do you feel comfortable using these phrases? “There was a time I thought that writers have not done enough justice to the screen plays.
Information, education and entertainment are the three key elements one must apply in writing. Entertainment for instance, is lacking in most of our scripts, so the idea was to create specific language slang, phrases, cliches, bylines and cash point to entertain people.
Chinwetalu Agu If you recall when we produced “Tabo”, the movie was supposed to be full of sorrows: dealing with the Osu cast system in Igboland.
Imagine in the Holy Book, where God made us all equal before Him, and man decided to segregate between what he calls ‘ the son of the soil, and a slavery( a living sacrifice to the gods).’Therefore, I decided to create a comic relief to calm down a situation.
Even if you are watching a tragic movie, you would have cause to laugh. That was why I introduced the slang in the 90s, and today, everybody is happy for it. The elderly people now use those bylines to be happy, when watching my movies.
Are these ‘phrases’ contained in the scripts you are given to interprete in movies? No script writer has ever written my cliches or bylines. Until tomorrow, nobody can do it. It’s either I asked the script writer, producer or director what the storyline is all about, from which I would create something based on what you have relayed to me or I would pick from my encyclopedia.
I have over one thousand unused signature tunes. Even if I have over one thousand scripts, I will see where to put one or two ‘slangs’ to spice up the story. On the spot, I would create something. While on any set, I always asked the director or producer to give me the summary of the story so that I can create something that would fit into it.
All my movies are sold out because of this signature. Executive producers and directors today insist that I must put it in any movie I’m featuring in. In fact, it’s the major reasons today that I am getting more roles in movies. This is not common among other actors.
Many actors are not creative. They just go on set to act what is in the script without spicing it up. There must be extra home work if you want to be different. The crowd does not pay anybody; when they count you, they count others. But when they single you out before counting others it’s a very big advantage. That’s the edge you have over every other actor. I create the inspiration from my encyclopedia.
It comes in many ways, but also, it must be there in every movie. I have done about 950 productions since 1981 till date. I doubt if any actor in Africa as well as the world over has such a record. I have been consistent in my acting career since 1981 and I’m not getting tired. Today, I have the highest awards in Africa about 57 awards and it’s still counting. The second person has not received up to 20 awards.
Agu is listed as one of the outstanding comedians who have contributed to the development of Nollywood comic genres by Prof. Femi Shaka of the University of Port Harcourt. Agu is married to Nkechi and has three sons and two daughters. Being one of the foremost actors in Nollywood, Agu’s ingenuity is unique as an actor because of his wit, humor, invention of specific clichés, customized phrases or slang in every film.