‘It’s not really a bad thing’ – Chimezie Imo on actors playing stereotypes

Imo acknowledged that being stereotyped in the Nollywood film industry isn’t always negative.

He said, “I’m of the opinion that stereotyping is not really a bad thing, especially in the movie scene, because it only means that you’re really good at something, and everyone can tell, and it’s okay to be good at one thing. But there’s so much an actor has that you don’t want to be kept in a box.

Imo believe that even within stereotyped roles, there’s room to make the performance great. “Sometimes even when you get those stereotyped roles you can have conversations to tweak it a little bit. For example, there was a script that I had and it was supposed to be emotional and I said, ‘Okay can I be emotional without crying?’ I didn’t shed a tear in that film. There are other ways you could be emotional without shedding tears’

He spoke about how difficult an audition can be, and he placed the blame on the casting directors, saying, “Auditions challenge you. One of the worst things is getting a ‘No’ or getting in front of some people and losing all your lines and whatever, that is also because of most of our casting directors here.”

Imo also emphasised the lack of warmth in some audition environments and acknowledged the pressure actors face, saying, “I think we also need to do better. We don’t know how to make people comfortable and warm, just a bunch of straight faces looking at you like they’re about to stab you, and that line you’ve been rehearsing for 3 weeks just flies.”

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