Fast rising actor, Ani Iyoho now known as the ‘Man on Fire” who was reported to have sustained serious fire injuries in a fire stunt said to have gone bad, on the set of the movie “Behind the wheels” had this interview with Glamtush some days ago.
He talked about the fire scene and stressed that he had a lot of faith in the makeup artist as she did her job well especially after months of planning with lots of precaution.
The scene of you on fire in the movie ‘Behind the wheels’ went viral. What effect did that have on you?
In fact before now, it was a little bit traumatic for me. So seeing these people hurting for this viral post actually breaks my heart. I appreciate everybody who prayed for me in as much as it was misled, I appreciate it a lot. Honestly words fail me to express my gratitude to them. I am indebted to them.
Do you agree that you all did this as a team or as individuals?
Frankly, I only found out it was a publicity stunt a day before everyone did. Well I initially recognized when emails went out that it was a leaked video and somehow bloggers just picked on it, copied and paste. It was only yesterday (Friday) that I found out that Stanlee Ohikhuare, the director, put it on his Facebook but I didn’t still see it as a publicity stunt. I saw it more like an advert on his Facebook page. So it was important I agree with the fact that we did it together as a team.
So would you say media/bloggers blew everything out of proportion?
Basically, I am not saying we should regulate the media or the bloggers. It is a beautiful thing that we have freedom of speech. However, I think there should be freedom of informed speech. If you are putting something out there, make sure you know what you are putting out there, it should not just be something you saw on someone’s blog and you just copy and paste. If you need to ask questions to get your facts correctly, please do.
Where you apprehensive that you may get burnt during the fire scene?
I have a lot of faith in the special effect makeup artiste. I think she is the best in Nigeria and probably even Africa. She had assured me that the fire scene was going to go smoothly. The production crew did everything to make sure I was safe. We had 5 fire extinguishers, the military, police, fire service, road safety, LASTMA and other important bodies to ensure I was safe. Then most important were the protective gear and protective gel.
The makeup artist took months to research on the gel that was going to be used so she continuously communicated with people in Hollywood who made the gel. They did a lot of communication back and forth via emails and phone calls for months before we eventually acted the fire scene. So I had a lot of faith.
She first tested the gel on herself, tested it on me, had me drenched in the gel, had the protective costume I wore underneath soaked in the gel and she even had people on standby with the fire extinguishers in case anything goes wrong. She assured me that it will last for 45 seconds. I was not shaken the slightest. I was very confident that the scene will go on smoothly. The makeup is so good I must say because it was very convincing.
Were you physically and mentally prepared for the fire scene?
Sure I was. Before the day of the scene, we had done a lot of rehearsals. I told the director that I’m a good swimmer and that I can hold my breath for a minute and 20 second but he insisted that when I’m under pressure it’s going to be a different thing. So he got people to pull my stomach, hands, punched, pressed me and also timed me to check my breathing so that when the fire burns I won’t inhale any smoke. Aside that, to also ensure I was well prepared and we get it right on the D-day as well.
So will you say that this makeup effect has taken Nollywood to another level?
I wouldn’t even say it has taken us to another level. I will say Nollywood has also been on another level. But when it comes to our mindset, we are so limited. We want to play safe, stay mediocre. You rather blame the fact of lack of funds to make a movie but when we see a Hollywood movie you see Paramount pictures in collaboration with Vintage or one other private company. I think instead of us complaining about lack of funds, how about we pull our little resources from different productions together and start making real movies. The better the movies we make, the more the market we will reach, we can sell in Hollywood.
Do you fear that eventually when this movie comes out that it may not be accepted?
The moment Stanlee Ohikhuare said Ani come and play this character, the moment I held the script, the first thing that came to my head is, it’s Stanlee Ohikhuare so first it’s going to the AMVCA. And since it’s him, it’s going to go for so many other awards and many other festivals so all I have to do is play my part to be able to be nominated for something, to be recognized. He is good filmmaker and it’s a huge honour working with him.
Do you think it will affect your fan base negatively?
I doubt my fan base will reduce. My fans personally know me as someone who always respond to their comments and chats. As I finally turn my phone on and go back online, am actually going to be informing them that this is what it is. Personally, what part did I play in this scam? Nothing. I stayed in my house and turned off my phone. I don’t think I did anything that I need to be apologizing for but because of many people’s emotion that has been hurt I have to. I know what I went through these past three days myself. I need to call my family to talk to them. I can only imagine what they went through not able to reach me, since I switched off my phone. I share in their pain.