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Acting Is Like A Religion To Me-Lateef Adedimeji



Lateef Adedimeji

For a dearth of an adequate qualifier, a bundle of talent describes humility personified actor, Lateef Adedimeji. Starting from a stereotypical role of the “crying boy”, he has since evolved into a multifaceted brand demanded by some of the biggest producers and directors. Acknowledging the fact that he is still burgeoning, the multiple award-winning actor, spoke about his career, relationship and more in this exhilarating interview with our reporter.


Acting seems seamless to you, how is this so?

It is because I don’t see it as acting or a profession. I see it as a religion.  Acting to me is another religion entirely. Just like I am a Muslim, I take acting as seriously as my religion. Whatever you put too much effort into will eventually become seamless to you. It is just like you knowing that you have to run to God every morning. So, it is like you taking your profession that way by running to your profession or upgrading yourself to match up with the standard of the profession every single time. It’s a great deal for me and that is why it seems so seamless. For no reason will I rest on upgrading myself every now and then.


How do you upgrade yourself?

I try to read, I try to watch other actors, and I try to pick from things that pass by me on a daily basis. All of this helps me a whole lot in becoming a better actor, hence acting seems less difficult to me even when it is. I don’t try to see a difficulty in what I chose to be or what I chose to live the rest of my life as.


What does it take to make you cry on set?

It’s all about getting into the role and putting all emotions into it. Understanding the character is one of the most important things to me. I give my all to understanding the character I want to play before even dabbling into it. So, crying scenes are usually easy for me. I don’t need to remember a whole lot of stuff, I just have to key into the character and look for factors around me that would make the tears come easier and then I apply my emotions to it.


At a point, you were almost stereotyped for crying roles, was it because you were so good at it?

Before coming into the industry, my research was to find out what exactly I wanted to do. There are a lot of people that have been successful in this field. I thought to myself that since I was coming in, it would be a good thing to create a brand of my own. So, I went through a lot of research and came in with that aspect. It is not that a lot of people cannot cry, but when you give me a crying scene, I cry as if my life depends on it, putting my all into it, making it come out the best way it should.


When did you decide to step into a bigger character?

That was when I realised I had gotten to the point where you didn’t have to call my name for people to recognise me. All you had to say was that guy that cries a lot in movies and everyone knew I was the one being referred to.  At that point, I realised that I had gotten to the point where people could register something with me. I knew that it was time to make my name register on the mind of people. That way, people could say Lateef Adedimeji cries a lot in movies instead of that guy who always cries in movies. So, I continued and when I realised that it was becoming a stereotype role, I switched into several kinds of roles that I had actually developed myself into but hid in my archive. When I feel that I have fully explored a particular role, I move on to the next in my archive. That is the way I have been running it.


There is no doubt that you have found your place in the industry, how easy has it been keeping it?

It has not been easy. I try as much as possible to keep giving my best. I also try to remain humble because, at a point in time, it is not your being so good that makes you stand the test of time, but your humility and hope on God and being yourself. There is no way that people will not say things about you, but you just have to know yourself and criticise yourself from time to time. If you are wrong, correct yourself before people attack you.


On a personal note, tell us about growing up, what was it like?

I was born into an Islamic background and grew in it. My father is crazy a Muslim, getting all the necessary things right, in a Muslim way. From there, I moved to the Community Life Project, the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that built me into an actor. I went to Olabisi Onabanjo University where I studied Mass Communication and after then, I came into the industry professionally.


Let’s talk about your fashion, what inspires it?

I am not a man who dresses to impress. I dress in what I feel comfortable in. I dress for comfort. If anybody sees the comfort in me and appreciates it, then it’s fine, but I don’t dress to impress. My fashion sense is not to impress anyone; it is not to make anyone feel less of a fashionable person. It is just me feeling at peace with myself.


Your aura seems to attract women, why is this so?

My aura attracts women, but not just women. It attracts everyone. I believe in the fact that there is no need for faking what is not. I don’t know how to fake it. I am a local boy, brought up in a local area; I grew up in a local area. At Quranic School, we sit on the floor and eat together in a bowl, there is no forming for anybody, we are equal and that has been me. I feel that the aura that I have comes from feeling at peace with myself. I love myself to a fault, I don’t pretend, I don’t hide what is not, I am just that blunt idiot that says things the way it is and I love that about me. The love I give to myself is what radiates out and people see and chose to love about me.


What is your ideal kind of woman?

Be you, be calm, and there will be a clear understanding of me. Majorly, I go for understanding, I go for trust. My kind of job requires that a lot.


Have you found her?

Yes I have and she is doing well.


Is marriage on the card anytime soon?

Marriage is one of the things on the card and it’s coming soon. I am a very low key person and I try to stay low. I am always on the low-key.

We don’t know what the future holds, but what do you anticipate?

I know that the future is bright. As long as one does not stop striving, trying, and upgrading, I will get there, it’s only a matter of time. It’s all about you believing in yourself and believing in the continuity of what you have. Continuity is certain only when you don’t stop learning and when you never stopped trying to get better. That is one thing I have never stopped doing. The future is bright and I know that it holds so many good things.


What stage would you say that your career is at presently?

I have found my place in the industry. I am definitely not there yet, but out of a 100, I am still at a 30, so I still have a long way to go. I am trying to get better. It’s all about upgrading and being versatile. I have never stopped seeking knowledge from everything I have come across in life.


Does receiving awards necessarily means an acknowledgment of your good work?

Receiving an award is a good thing. For me, its motivation, it tells you that you have not done your best because you are as good as your last performance. So, it’s a motivation for me and also a pointer that if you do better, you can win more awards. So, keep trying and keep winning and giving the best to your craft. I have received close to 20 or 25 awards. Maybe, more, I am not even sure, I have lost count.


Are you living your dream?

I am living my dream to an extent.  I am not there yet, but the theatre world has exposed me to a lot of opportunities and positive things that I hope to build in a bigger way. With God, all things are possible. With God, we will get there.

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