Ramsey Nouah says fans see him as an ATM machine.


Long after appearing in the award-winning blockbuster, ’76, Ramsey Nouah has staged a comeback in another flick, My Wife and I in which he plays an unusual role of a woman. 

Hilarious but controversial, the female role has put Nouah on the spot, as many of his fans are asking questions. In this interview, the actor takes his time to explain why he took up the weird character and how he managed to fit into it.  He also talks about other issues.
How are you, Ramsey?

I’m good. I’m good.

Your role in ‘My Wife And I’ was kind of weird…
It was weird, yeah.

How did you manage to get into that role?
Trust me, it wasn’t fun at all. It was very awkward. Every time I had to play that part, I was always like ‘ha!’ I hated it. But professional ethics demand that you do stuff that you need to do.

What was the experience like playing the role of a woman and costumed in female attires?
You know, women are passionate about men trying to be like them. I don’t know what it is. It excites them. Everywhere I go, I remember the red carpet, it was the same thing. All the girls are like ‘how do you feel playing a woman?’  It wasn’t fun, honestly.

But was it challenging?
Of course, it was challenging. You have to get into the character. You know…doing what your mum usually does or what your wife does or what your sister does and all of that which is much unlike you. There’s something about it.

Would you describe it as the most challenging role you’ve taken?

Oh, no. Not exactly. It’s not mentally demanding. Don’t get me wrong. It’s just that there are some morals than challenge and that’s why when I was doing it, I had a bit of reservation, but of course I still tried to pull it through. This is like comedy; it’s nothing serious so we could play with it. Besides, it was pretty hard for me to get those gestures and mannerisms but my colleague helped me out with it.

 So, how do your fans relate to you, in response to the movie?
A few of them felt like ‘Arrgh! Gosh! How would you ridicule Ramsey Nouah so much? How would you bring him down so much like that?’ But to me, it’s not bad, to me it’s a professional thing, yeah, it’s what you must do.

Are we getting there in Nollywood? Are we improving or regressing compared to when we started?
Emm… for Nollywood, there have been phases of growth for us. It seemed like we started off on a very good note but everyone is thinking… No, no, no, it’s not as if it’s not a good note, it is, but there was a good start, there was an influx of stories. It became saturated. People got tired and everybody just felt like the industry has reached its peak and there’s nowhere else to go. Hence, that point in time was when everybody began to say ‘are we growing or falling?’ But this is what it is. We had good performances acting, in the beginning. The performance acting became saturated because there were too many movies outside. Technicals didn’t grow from where we began, it was going to get better but mid-way but things got worse. Now, technology is growing. What’s giving birth to good technicals are the cinemas. For you to shoot a movie for cinemas there has to be capital, of course, big screen and you have to get everything and every detail right. But there’s a nosedive with the performances now. Where we have gotten to know with good technicals, acting is getting better. There’s need for that bridge for technical and acting to synergise for us to have a smooth and perfect production.

Okay, just another film long after ’76. Are you choosy or the scripts are not coming?

Oh, we all have to be choosy. You can’t take every script that comes your way. You and I will agree that you’re better off looking for characters that suit or befit you the most, not just pick any story or character that is not challenging, What do you look out for in a script?
I look out for story to start with, the character I’m playing and the story itself. How important is my character to the entire story? If a story is very ‘killing’, I can’t miss it.

Will you reject a script because a particular actor or actress you’re not comfortable with is in the story?
(Long sigh) It’s rare; it’s rare that I would because it has never happened to me. I’ve never rejected any script because of that except I’m having like a dispute with the person which is rare, maybe I’m not comfortable with the person, maybe we’re apart, maybe we’re having some sort of disagreement and stuff. Yeah, maybe that, otherwise, I’m fine.

You’ve played a twin, you’ve played a soldier and you’ve played a female role. Do you still have dream roles?

Oh, yeah. There are lots of characters that come to play that we need to act but I’m not going to say it, I’m not going to let it out of the bag. I mean, there are a couple of characters that I’d love to work on; to play many of them, but in due time

What convinced you to take up the role of a woman in My Wife And I

It’s because of the challenging part. It’s because I’ve never done it before. I think I did something some years back but that one was like I was an undercover, so I dressed like a woman. Those were years back; early 2000. I dressed like a woman; they tied gele and scarf for me and I was like (mimics a female voice) ‘hey what are you talking about?’ I did all of that but this one is different. There’s a message to this one and the message is very simple -what are the conflicts in marriages and why are marriages always having problems?

You’re over 40 years and you’re still looking good. What is the secret?

I think it is just joy from within. A whole lot of people tend to pack up a lot of bad belle, you know, vexing over this and that. That brings about… so just smile; a beautiful smile everyday could take you a long way.

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