As the production of Nigeria’s first-ever movie on a moving train, ‘Conversation in Transit’ continues, Nollywood actor, Alex Ekubo, expresses his excitement at the historic landmark in the Nigerian film industry.
The 35-year-old actor plays a northerner in the movie, showing his skill with the Hausa language. He also portrayed a similar role in ‘Zero Hour’ (2019).
PREMIUM TIMES visited the movie set on Thursday and had him speak about his role and how the movie would further project Nigeria’s infrastructure to the world.
Mr Ekubo’s film debut was a minor role in Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen’s ‘Sinners in the House’ (2005). Ever since then, he has featured in numerous big-screen movies like ‘Hire a woman’ (2019), ‘Bling Lagosians’ (2019), Hush (2019), ‘Omo Ghetto’ (2020), amongst many others.
‘Conversation in Transit’ is a movie produced by Rogers Ofime and directed by Robert Peters. 95% of the movie’s scene is shot on a train route from Lagos-Ibadan. However, the production commenced at the Mobolaji Johnson Rail Station, Yaba, Lagos State.
PT: What role would you play in ‘Conversation in Transit’?
Alex: My name is Alex Ekubo, and I am playing the character ‘Mohammed’ in the movie ‘Conversation in Transit.’
PT: How long have you been on set?
Alex: I have been on set for over a week
PT: How has the experience been?
Alex: I think it’s been amazing, working with the entire cast and crew members, from the executive producer, Rogers Ofime, I have worked with Rogers on a couple of projects, right from’ Tinsel’ to ‘Zero Hour,’ which we filmed In Abuja, and now we are making this great blockbuster, titled Conversation in Transit. As already said, it’s the first time a movie would be filmed entirely on a moving train in the whole of West Africa, and I am pretty much excited about it. I remember watching one of James Bond installments filmed on a moving train, and it was pretty fascinating to think that we are doing a similar thing here. It means Nollywood is amazing. So a big shout out to the Federal Ministry of Transport for allowing this to happen, and we are entirely happy.
PT: Let me walk you back to when you first received the script. How did you feel?
Alex: When I first got the script and read it, I called Rogers (the executive producer). I said this was not possible. I was like, how was he going to pull all these strings. But Rogers told me that he had the permission of the minister to film on an actual train, and I was like, ‘okay.’
PT: What were your doubts?
Alex: As an actor, there is a natural intuition when you get this script and create a mental picture of what you want to achieve and get on set, which is different. For instance, you receive a script that says that Alex and Tana are in a private jet. The script says that they are having a conversation on a private jet from Lagos to Peru, and when we get on set, they stage-manage it that you people are driving in a back of a car from Island to Mainland. Such a situation would make one be taken aback because you had envisioned how you bring such a scene to reality as an actor. But I completely trust Rogers and the director, Robert Peter, whom I have worked with a couple of times, he is no small fish, and they are used to big production, so I believed what they would be able to put up.
PT: And being on set, any change of mind?
Alex: With what I see on set, I am very excited about this project, and I know that we will achieve it.
PT: Have you worked with the director before?
Alex: I have worked with Robert Peters on several projects. He directed Zero Hour, starring RMD Rahama Sadau Uzee Usman, with whom I have an excellent working relationship.
PT: In your opinion, do you think that taking part in this project would benefit your career?
Alex: First of all, I am just humbled and excited to be a part of this film. I feel that this movie will go on successfully with or without me, so just being able to do whatever I bring to the table is humbling. It is already a blockbuster without myself or any individual cast. Sometimes in an actor’s life, they are just happy to be part of a project that would already be successful. And I am just so happy that I was considered for the role of Mohammed, and I am happy to be among what I like to call a ‘Cocktail of Talen.’
PT: How has infrastructure helped the entertainment sector?
Alex: Proper infrastructure can accentuate our pictures cannot be under or overemphasized. I mean that you cannot shoot in your absence. You cannot shoot what is not there. So many of us who watched many Hollywood movies growing up already have a mental picture of what America looks like by merely watching their movies, which is not the same as reality. For example, I have been to New York, and the response time for the police is not as quick as depicted in movies when an incident occurs. This is because movies erroneously project a quick response time for the police. So you have a perfect picture of America, and you want to be there. That is what Nollywood is doing for Nigeria with this movie.
PT: Many have accused Nollywood of popularising ritual killings. Do you agree?
Alex: It is wrong to blame Nollywood for the rising cases of ritual killings in the country. We are pushing the country forward and trying to best present the country so that even the government is not doing. So, for example, we are here to show people that we have functional trains routing from Lagos to Ibadan and Abeokuta, and if this infrastructure weren’t here, we wouldn’t have this idea in the first place.
PT: The role of Mohammed that you are playing takes you away from your natural self?
Alex: So, my character as Mohammed is one I would call a love triangle between myself, Usman, and Rahama, and my character background is northern Nigerian, and I do have a solid northern Nigerian background because I schooled in Federal Government College Daura, Katsina, I also lived in Kano, I speak fluent Hausa, that helps my characterisation, I guess that’s one of the things I am bringing to the table when they wanted to cast me. I would be speaking a lot of Hausa in the movie.
PT: Does the role take you out of your comfort zone?
Alex: I always say that there are no small actors and no minor roles. I wish I could always bring something different in every characterization, so people could say I enjoyed Alex in Zero Hour. I enjoyed my role in ‘Bling Lagosians’ or any movie I have ever featured.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To place an advert here . Call Willie - +2348098788999