Actress and producer, Jumoke Odetola, tells Punch correspondent about her current projects and other issues
What current projects are you working on?
I am working on a project titled, ‘My Mirror’. It is an advocacy project to raise awareness on abuse that men suffer during childhood. It also shows why it is very important to seek therapy at some point if there are dark patches in one’s past.
It is actually not about my childhood. I get inspiration from many things that happen around me. Society expects men to be strong and they don’t usually talk about their struggles’. As a result of that, men know how to hide their feelings and they always want to be in control.
They would act like everything is fine even when it is not. I saw a comment online where a man was lambasted for crying. I then thought to myself that men have feelings too and can also be emotional. In some extreme cases, when men do not have outlets to express their feelings, they commit suicide.
Some people feel that many Nigerian movies don’t deal with important issues in society. Do you agree with that?
I would not want people to think that way. We all have different callings and various ways of expressing ourselves. For me, I like addressing topical issues that people don’t really talk about.
But, even in the course of that, I would still try to entertain the audience. A movie should not feel like one is watching a documentary. My movies are not boring; rather, they would keep you glued to your screens.
However, those that make comedy movies are also doing well because people need to laugh as well. In entertainment, everybody cannot be doing the same thing.
What inspired your social media character, Miss Gargantuan?
It was inspired by a lot of things. I feel that life is not complex; rather it is we, humans, that make things difficult for ourselves. The character is basically a way of combining comic relief and a strong message. Miss Gargantuan can actually communicate better in a simpler manner but she ends up speaking big vocabulary and sometimes confusing the person she is speaking with. There was a time she (the character) wanted to ease herself and she told a receptionist that she wanted to use the loo but the person did not understand what she was saying, and she ended up soiling herself. She should have just said that she wanted to use the toilet.
And this happens in basically every facet of life. There are better ways that parents can communicate with their children, government can communicate with citizens etc. So, the character is a way of letting people know the importance of simple but effective communication.
In the movie industry, women seem to be more successful. Why do you think that is so?
It is not actually what people think it is. On a lighter note though, it is indeed women that run the world. A man could put on an outfit that costs over N1m yet look simple. But, a woman could spend N100,000 on an outfit and look so glamorous. That men don’t post certain things online does not mean they are not doing well. I know a lot of men in the industry that are doing very well but they are not putting it out there. When I got to know the worth of some of my male colleagues, I was quite shocked. But women tend to be louder. We talk more about things and love to show off.
What do you regard as the highlights of 2020 for you?
The highlight of 2020 for me was working with the legendary filmmaker, Tunde Kelani, on the set of the forthcoming movie, ‘Ayinla Omowura’. It was a great experience. I have always looked forward to working with Kelani. I did not even know he was preparing for a production and had not met him one-on-one before. When I was called to feature in the movie, I was very happy. It was an exciting and learning experience for me because it was a very professional setting. It was indeed a good way to wrap up the year because that was the last film I did.
What are some of the changes you would like to see in the Yoruba movie industry?
I would want to see a wider acceptance of Yoruba movies. I think people who make Yoruba movies should even be celebrated more because they are projecting our language and culture. I would also want to see a situation where our works get global recognition. Our movies are a way for people to know more about Yoruba tradition and culture.