Why I Agreed To Play Tinubu In Soon-To-Be-Released Biopic — Lateef Adedimeji

Lateef Adedimeji is a popular face in Nollywood and has become an industry cynosure. Recently, he was selected to play the role of the former governor of Lagos State and presidential aspirant, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whose biopic, ‘Last man standing’ is currently being filmed for release later this month.

ROTIMI IGE caught up with him on set last week and presents the excerpts of their interaction.  

We have seen you as the lead character in several biopics – ‘Ayinla’ and ‘Ige’ included, making you a sort of an expert on these kinds of films.

What’s are some of the key lessons you have learned from playing roles like these in the past that you also plan to bring into your role as Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the movie, ‘Last man standing.

I really don’t know why I am always called upon to play these roles. This is going to be my fourth biopic. I did ‘Ayinla’, ‘Ige’, ‘Strangers’ and now this.

I believe it is the versatility and being able to key into other people and bring the character to life. That is you being an actor.

Studying other people and making sure that you can drop you at a time you need to play them and bring them into reality.  

Acting a real person that exists, a person who has fans, friends, family and people who know him and expect you to portray that person accurately, do you ever feel worried about not getting it right?

It is always scary. It is a different ball game if the person is no longer around. But this is somebody that is alive. Someone that can sit and watch you play him, and if you don’t get it right he will say so eventually.

It is a lot of work. I had to watch Youtube studying his mannerism; the way he talks, moves, smiles and all of that and then try to replicate that. It is you forgetting yourself totally for the duration of the shooting.

  In the course of your research, are there things that you didn’t know about him before that you have found out?

Since I was told about the role, I have been watching him closely. I have even read about him.

What is most important is seeing the person a few times, then closing your eyes and bringing all you have read and heard about the person to you and letting it flow naturally. Somehow, you will key into it unknowingly.

That has been my pattern. From the way Asiwaju Tinubu talks slowly, picking his words one after the other, and the way he drops his jokes.

A lot of people won’t notice that he can be a comedian because he seems straight to the point.

But in his words, if you pay attention, you will notice the comic quality in some of his words. I hope for the best with this production.

Knowing that Asiwaju Tinubu is one man that is constantly in the news, how does it make you feel?

At first, when I was told about the project, my first response was that I was not interested. It is scary. Politics can be scary, and what came to my head was that this is politics, and it is something I am always scared of. Now, Asiwaju is not a mere politician, he is a major stakeholder. He is a man that has a lot going on around him, a lot of controversies happening all at the same time, and thinking that in the peak of all of these is when these producers wanted to put this out, I refused. But again, I know that it is going to be another stretch for me as an actor. I am taking this because I want to challenge myself again, I want to see how far I can push myself again.

Do you believe playing this role would be a defining point of your career?

Yes, this would be one of the defining points because this is a tough one. At the end of it all, the man himself is going to have a few things to say about my interpretation and pass judgement. That is one thing that has been ringing in my head.

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