In the last couple of years, I could not help but notice and be intrigued by the suave yet playful, smiling face of actor Kunle Remi who plays ‘leading man roles’ in several Nollywood productions and TV series. ‘Falling’, ‘Cougars’, ‘The Getaway’, ‘Tiwa’s Bagagage’, Sobi’ Mystic’, ‘Tinsel’, ‘Forbidden’ etc are just a few productions that come to mind.
I wondered what made him tick and be the man that he is today. So I decided to find out and arranged a meet/shoot in the serene nature reserve that is Lufasi Park. and what can I say? This is Nigeria! All my best laid plans almost went awry. Everything that could happen, to not make that appointment possible, happened.
Now, I won’t bore you with the details .. (that’s a story for another day!) Suffice to say,, that Kunle’s attitude through it all, made him grow 10 feet in my eyes! He was awesome… a professional to the core! Patient, uncomplaining, pleasant and he did a fantastic job on the shoot as he modeled (lovely clothes put together by the irrepressible stylist Ifan) He posed and even managed a few jokes for my fantastically, talented photographer Rukky. Though he had other appointments that were dangerously clashing with ours, he squeezed the time to be with me on this one and I really appreciate this. So between being beaten by soldier ants, sand flies (hey! it is a nature reserve) and his phone buzzing every three minutes, we soldiered on to bring you this interview. I must say, I’m most pleased with the results and I trust you will too when you read it. Much thanks to my indefatigable team for helping put this together.
Credits: Photography: Rukky (@rukkydidit) | Styling: Ifan Ifeanyi Michael | Production Assistant: B.J Efejiro |Shoot Director: Bola Aduwo Location: Lufasi Park, Epe, Lagos
- Let’s get to meet you..
KR: My name is Kunle Remi… I’m an actor. a model, a farmer, a host, an entrepreneur and a businessman.
- Did you always want to be an actor?
KR: Yes I always wanted to be an actor… and an entertainer. I used to dance back then in Univerisity of Ibadan,. I had a group called ‘Fusion’ which was one of the top groups back then in Uni. (2007-08) I also used to coach the kids in my mother’s (Primary) school. I used to teach them drama, dance performances, poetry .. to entertain their parents for the end of year celebrations. So it has always been in me to be an actor, to entertain one day. I also used to hang out a lot with my colleagues in Theatre Arts even though I was studying Fisheries, Wildlife Management & Agricultural Science but let’s just say I had more passion for the entertainment. Film making was my call.
- Out of all the movies you’ve acted which one would you consider your breakout role?
KR: I don’t think I have a break out role per se… but I have had a pretty amazing career so far. I’ve done a lot of good jobs that have spoken well for me and helped me get other gigs. I have been pretty fortunate to have been in some very good productions but if I’m going to mention a specific one, I will have to say ‘Falling’,. as well as my role as ‘Zane’ in series ‘Tinsel’, ‘Tiwa’s Baggage’, ‘Lincoln’s Clan’ ..thanks to DSTV we are all over Africa so it depends on people who see me and get to know me.
- You act a lot of romantic roles with many beautiful lead actresses… have you ever crossed the line from film to reality.. like fallen in love with your co-star?
KR: Yes I’ve acted with a lot of beautiful actresses but I’m a professional and I think its best to keep it strictly business all the away. There’s more respect that way. It’s about the profession… the career. ..the work. But do I have feelings? Yes I have. Have I ever felt something for my costar before? Well, I’m human so yes. Do I have crushes on people? Yes, but we do the work first before anything else and if anything is going to happen, if we are going to date, it happens after the film not before.
- So you have dated your co-star after a movie?
KR: Yes, Ive done it once and will not do it again (laughs)
- If you weren’t acting would you be doing?
KR: If wasn’t acting I would most probably be working in advertising because I’m a creative person and mind you, I’m also a trained film maker (trained at New York Film School) a directing major and I tend to come up with creative stuff.. I also like Farming and plan to go into Hospitality & Tourism. I pretty much will be busy and happy.
- People say you are a practical joker and one can see that from your Instagram handle. Why are you such a prankster?
KR: (Laughs) Because my energy is fun.. my energy is laughter. I like to play a lot. People say they watch my Insta-stories and derive a lot of fun from it as it entertains them, especially when they are in traffic, so why not? It’s free… but mehn.. probably not for long. maybe one might soon have to start charging for that (laughs)
- The 2017 AMVCA Red Carpet .. What was going on?! Care to explain the wrapper outfit? Was it a dare?
KR: 2017 AMVCA Red Carpet…(chuckles) I tied a lace wrapper and wore it on the red carpet! (laughs) Yes, it was a dare. Secondly, I was just feeling free. I walked all over the auditorium… and was proud of myself. It made me laugh… and others too. It was initially a sketch in my mind and when I mentioned it to a friend the person said Iyou can’t do that. I said, ‘What?’ Wait and see! And there you have it. I’m glad I pulled it off (with the help of my stylist). It was a freeing moment for me.
- So lets go back to the love life.. people seem to insinuate that you are dating different people. Any truth in any of the rumours?
KR: Its okay for them to do that, first and foremost we live in a country where people like to make what you do, their business. I have a lot of female friends ….and male friends. People can insinuate what they want. Am I in a relationship? No I’m not. Am I looking for a relationship? No, I’m not. I’m just living my best life.. grooming myself and honing my skills (as an actor) at the moment.. When that time comes again, I will be with somebody and above all, that person will have to be a friend. Because that is the major key in a relationship and what I’ve probably gotten it wrong in past relationships… I will wait until I get that vibe from that special person that will cross over from being a friend to a partner. I’m not about relationships/dating any more… if I go into anything, it has to lead to marriage. We have passed that stage (of doing boyfriend)… now it has to lead to marriage so until then.. I’m just be living my best life!
- So what is your ideal kind of woman?
KR: God fearing.. that loves herself and loves God .. that’s a major key for me. A honest person and good looking of course. Intelligent, industrious and hardworking .. those are the qualities I look for in a woman.
- Okay, back to your career…tell us about your recent film Projects.
KR: Presently I’m on a TV show for Africa Magic … a tv series titled ‘Forbidden’. It’s a great show. We started filming in February and are still on it. It centres around Demilade Doregos, a spoilt boy (which I play) who finds true love and is fighting to keep it… he is ambitious, smart, makes mistakes, is confused about love..You should catch it if you can. On Africa Magic Showcase at 8pm every day.
- How similar are you to your characters?
KR: First of all my characters are real, they make mistakes, just like everybody does. They take decisions. Yes I am similar at times to my characters, as we are all human and not meant to be perfect. I need to understand them so as to judge them. That is where the conflict comes in. Sometimes I look at my characters and think.. hmm… hmm… Kunle, you could do this…
- Of all your movie roles which one is closest to you as Kunle?
KR: Hmm.. Closest to me? I’ll say..’ Tiwa’s Baggage’ because that shows a soft side, a good man… and I am a good man, (laughter) Yes. A good man, well brought up, well trained by my amazing parents. I could connect to the character.
- You acted in Tade Ogidan’s Gold statue… what was it like being directed by the great Tade Ogidan?
KR: Working with Tade Ogidan was a dream come true for me.. I have literary watched every film he has made; Madam Dearest, Diamond Ring, Hostages, Dangerous Twins, Two Can Play The Game. It was a great privilege to have worked with him and I will do it again if he will cast me again.. and he will cast me again! I love him. I didn’t just act for him, I understudied him as a director. Amazing man. God bless him! I can’t wait for the world to see the magic we created with Gold Statue. I think that is going to be one of my best films yet. So watch out for it.
- Who are those that have most influenced you?
KR: Ofcourse I must say.. Tade Ogidan, most definitely.. He influenced me right from a kid, from watching his movies Will Smith is another person! Oh Gawd! That guy is living my life. My ideal life! (laughs) I love his person. I see myself in his person. I really look forward to meeting him (and I know I will meet him soon). Who else? Yes, RMD (Richard Mofe Damijo). I love his work.. I love how he left for a minute, still came back and conquered. He pulled it off. That is hardly done. He is a mentor any day, anytime Who else? Ah, Emem Isong… a great personality, I love the way she has been true to her career, her passion. I’m also influenced by my pastor Timothy Okonkwo and his wife, I adore them. My parents too… they are my greatest and No 1 influences and of course God Almighty. God is No1.
- Asides Acting are there any aspects of film making you want to venture into?
KR: Yes, I’m a trained filmmaker.. I also majored in directing but there’s time for everything. I am still building this acting career now, which, to the glory of God, has been successful and it’s been great. In a few years by His grace, I’ll be working on my directorial debut. But there is no hurry. No pressure. Gradually. Film making. Producing. Yes, Screenwriting, script writing, yes that too… but I have to go develop myself because Im not the kind of person to just jump into that kind of thing without having knowledge about this. When I’m ready I will go back to get more training for it but for now I’m an actor and enjoying being in front of the camera.
- So what’s next for Kunle? What should we look forward to?
KR: What is next for me? Greater heights.. I don’t know what God has planned for me, but whatever it is, I know its that ‘of good and not evil, to bring me a future and a hope.. to bring me to an expected end’. So prepare and expect to see more magic from Kunle Remi! Prepare to see me break boundaries, make good films and feature in good films. Yes! This well will never run dry! All glory to God.
NWM: Thank you so much for your time, Kunle. It was a pleasure having you.
KR: The pleasure is all mine