Saturday, April 10, 2010

ChitChat With JD (Interview with Actor John Dumelo)




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So I was suppose to interview john the previous week, but when I tried calling it said the phone was out of coverage area. I emailed him and we rescheduled to today April 4th at 1pm (Accra time). I woke up this morning and prayed – Lord please let me get thru this phone interview with John today – because I don’t want to fail on a promise I made to my blog readers. Also Lord please don’t let me be nervous when the time comes or fumble with my questions considering this is my first interview ever.
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So I got my calling card and round about 12.59 I started dialling – John had given me two different mobile numbers – the first number was not getting thru at all, and the second kept ringing but no answer.

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I hanged up and tried the second number again, this time I hear a Barry White tone voice at the end of the phone like ..
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JD: “Hello”

(my heart sunk – thinking oh gosh, this is it (uhhm whats my first question), in my lil angelic voice am like )
MT:“Please may I speak to John” – he was like,
JD: “Yeah this is John” –
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he was saying something but the line the line was very very static and feint kinda like wherever he was had some major bad reception (I don’t know who to blame Tigo, Kasapa, Zain or Vodafone – I betcha its ??? :lol:), before I could say Jack Robinson the line went dead – and I knew aint no way this fine ass gentleman hanged up on me – the line was definitely having some periodic pains or something – Ghana telecom’s usual time of month.
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I immediately went on line and emailed him apologising for the drop call and that I will call back again (not really knowing from whose end it was from) – he responded promptly with his mobile Facebook (blackberry or iPod) saying not to worry, he was waiting for my call back.
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So I waited for a lil while and then called back – but once again it said “out of coverage area” – am like “oh gosh what kind of embarrassing wahala koraa is this?” I waited a lil bit more then called again, this time the line went through and he picked up after two rings – the line was crystal clear.
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MT: Hello John is this you, this is Miss Tilii calling back
JD: Yes it’s me
(for some reason the way he responded made me relax and my nervousness was reduced at least for the moment)
MT: John am so sorry for the disconnect when I called last, I tried calling back but it said out of coverage area, is it ok to speak now – the line sounds better even.
JD: Yes I know – I guess where I was had no coverage, but anyway am glad you called back, how are you?
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MT: Am fine John, how are you too ? And how is the weather in Ghana
JD: Am great? The weather here in Accra is hot as always but it’s okay not bad at all
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MT: It’s a good thing I don’t know anything about you beforehand cos then this interview is going to be very organic for your fans and please I want you to feel comfortable. if there is any question you feel like you don’t want to answer please let me know. I won’t ask you any personal questions that will make you uncomfortable and that are my promise.
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I have watched several of your movies and quite impressed and think of you as a truly promising actor and that’s why I felt the need to interview you especially since you got so many fans who also frequent my blog and would love to know about you. “The King Is Mine” was my first movie I saw you in followed by the subsequent ones that followed which saw you as one of Ghana’s upcoming actors with great potential. In the Diaspora (UK, America etc you are making us very proud and you have an increasing fan base more than you can ever imagine)

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MT: Okay so John my first question is Where are you from, Where were you born
JD: I was born and bred in Ghana, My Mom is Half Fanti & half Ashanti – and dad is Ewe
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MT: How did u get into acting in movies?
JD: I got into movies about six years ago – and I started off acting in some TV series called “About to Wed”, later into advertising and appearing in several commercials (telecom commercial (Kasapa), A fruit juice commercial, a credit card commercial and an insurance company commercial), then 2 years ago I was called to come audition for the role of King in the “King Is Mine”, fortunately after intensive auditioning I finally got the job, and this became my very first movie
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MT: Would you say you have had your most challenging role yet and if so which one was it
JD: The king is mine, I would say is the most challenging, because it was my first movie. My character was King and I had to transform myself like a king in everything i did, from the way I walk, talk and everything. It was quite challenging to be in the moment and transition into that type of character and do it well and consistently during the shoot. And you have to remember this was my first major first movie.
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MT: What would be the ideal role you would love to play someday
JD: I think the ideal role I would love to play – something that truly challenges me would be playing a mentally retarded or disabled person in a movie. I think that will be my ideal role.
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MT: Well have you watched the Movie titled “What is Eating Gilbert Grape” as well as “Monster” starring South African Hollywood Actress Chalize Theron.
JD: No I haven’t seen it, what was the name of the first movie you mentioned?
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MT: Its called “What is Eating Gilbert Grape” Starring Leonardo Di Caprio. I think you should see these movies and maybe you can get some good cues from there for your future role. With “Gilbert Grape” Leonardo played a convincing retard so much that for years I was convinced he was retarded in real life until I saw him in another movie.
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And with the second movie it’s based on a true life story of a woman who was molested as a child and grew up becoming a prostitute and serial killer to her clients. The transition from the stunning red carpet Chalize that we know to the convincing serial killer was phenomenal – you need to see it. She even won an Oscar for that

JD: Really? – I guess I need to watch these movies
MT: Yes
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MT : Who are your favourite Hollywood movie actors or actresses
JD: My favourite actors of all time are Denzel Washington and Chris Tucker and in our industry I truly appreciate actors such as RMD, Ramsey Noah and Majid Michel.
MT: Sure, those are really good actors
JD: yes
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MT: When acting movies – what do you do when you first get a script in your hands – how do you decide you are going to act this movie or not, I guess my question is what is your decision making process to choose a movie script at which to work on.?
JD: When I first get a script, I read the storyline – I see how strong my character would be – and then I decide on whether I want to be part of the movie or not, I like challenging roles.
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MT: I suppose you also consider the producer/directors resume of work as well right?
JD: well of course most definitely
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MT: When moments of self doubt come to you in life, what do you do or say to yourself to erase that doubt – and I ask this question for the many potential future young people maybe in Ghana who want to get in the acting business but don’t have the confidence due to self doubt or because their parents, family or friends don’t support their artistic idea (as you well know most African parents like their kids to be doctors, lawyers, engineers or something very corporate).
JD: The very first thing I would say is to pray first and seeks Gods guidance and direction. And also you have to remember many people who tell you, “you cant” and make you doubt yourself probably want to be in your shoes but don’t have the confidence like you do, to even try– so my advice is
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“Don’t let others tell you can’t – take the word CANT or CAN NOT be out of your vocabulary – with God you can do anything you put your mind to.
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Another advice I would like to give is that be prepared for rejection when you first begin, I am a true testimony of being rejected a lot when I first started – I got many “NOs” before a final “YES”, and so I will advice that you try, try and try again. So you keep on trying and if after so many tries it still doesn’t work out then maybe God has another route for your life which may even be better – so never lose heart
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MT: you are very right John and this advice reminds me of a favourite quote that said “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
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John I hear you, and sometimes the closest people to you are always the very people who will make you doubt yourself worth, so I guess what you are saying is one has to tune negative people out and always stay positive seeking God for guidance in whatever they want to do in life and most of all never to give up.

JD: Yes
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MT: If you were not an actor what would you be?
JD: Real Estate – I am currently into it now, fulltime and on the side
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MT: Really? Thats interesting, so you do real estate concurrently with acting? That must be hard.
JD: Yes but I make it work somehow
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MT : What Primary, Secondary and University did you attend in Ghana
JD: I am a product of Achimota Secondary School (Motown) and during those times in school I use to take part in the drama club, and that’s where I acting.
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MT : Did you do any acting in primary, secondary or university?
JD: I was part of the drama club in High School (Achimota Secondary School)
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MT: I hear you are alumni of Tech – what was your major and what hall were you in.
JD: Yes that’s true I am an alumni of University of Science & Tech and my major was in BSc in Civil Engineering. I graduated in 2007? I was a resident of Queens Hall in Tech
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MT: Whao Civil Engineering?, that’s interesting, My brother went to Tech too and he told me as a freshman he was ponded – were you ever ponded as a freshman too?
JD: Yes I was ponded :lol:

(to those reading this interview who don’t understand what ponding means, it is something that they do to freshmen in Ghana universities where as a welcome – a group of seniors target you, grab you and dip you in a pond (sometimes the dirtiest lake/pond on campus) – and this has been done for years as a way of welcome as a freshman – you may avoid it as long as you like even till sophomore year but so far as they find out you were never ponded when you first came – they will make sure they pond you (my own brother was ponded in sophomore year in University of Science and Technology (where John is also an alumni) – he avoided it for the longest but he could never escape – they capture you when you least expect (like on the way to lectures, church or library or receiving a visitor like girlfriend and then they pond you. Its kinda like an illegal initiation – but far from cult – cultism stuff is not that popular on Ghana campuses (as far as I know)
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MT : How many brothers and sisters do you have?
JD: I have two 2 older sisters
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MT : How many languages do you speak and what are they
JD: I speak Ga, Fanti and a little bit of Ewe,
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MT: Are you single
JD: No I am not
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Ladies so I guess your question has been answered – I asked John to clarify what he meant by No – as in whether he was married or not – and he said He is not married however he is a committed relationship). I Know many of you will be disappointed but hey, what can I say, dont shoot the messenger.
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After this response I had to seize asking a list of other questions I had to follow (had he answered “YES” he was single) which included "What type of characteristics he looks for in his woman – physical or characteristics (whichever comes first for you)
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MT: After you have paved the way in this industry and gained experience for a while would you someday like to get behind the scenes and say direct, produce or write a script
JD: Oh yes, for sure – I think in about 4 or 5 yrs time I will like to produce or direct.
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MT: What do you think of the Ghana movie industry?
JD: I think Ghana movie industry is on the right track and we are doing well. I mean two years ago, not many people were even mentioning us, but now as you can see, we are slowing gaining ground in this industry and audience are becoming aware of us. I think the only challenge now is funding
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MT: What is the weirdest thing a fan has done to you or said to you say at an airport or something?
JD: Its funny you asked that, cos Once we went to a house to shoot a film and when we got there, there was a girl whom I guess was a fan of mine who lived there, and while shooting we get to her room, and she had like 3 very large pictures of me plaster all over her wall .
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MT: So I guess it was a compliment in a sense but sure it was a lil weird I think :lol: - next thing you know you come home and they are cooking your rabbit in a pot like in Glenn Close & Michael Douglas in Fatal Attraction.
JD: yes (laughs)
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MT: What is your favourite Ghanaian food
JD: My favourite food is Garden Egg Stew and Plantain
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MT: What are your hobbies
JD: Watching Movies
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MT: What’s your favourite TV Shows
JD: Pirates of the Caribbean, Cosby Show, rush hour
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MT: Whao – you surely do like Chris Tucker don’t you :lol:, no wonder he is one of your favourite actors – I bet you have seen all of Rush Hour series (1, 2 and 3)
JD: Yes I have (laughs)
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MT: Would u by chance be attending June’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa to support and help Ghana Black Stars carry the cup home or would you be there in spirit like me – cheering them up in the comfort of your living room as you watch them on TV?
JD: Well am planning on attending, but I hope time permits – we shall see
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MT: Finally my last question to you is –Is there any rumour out there or any misconceptions about you that you would like to clear up.
JD: Yes I want to clarify the rumour and say that “NO” - Yvonne Nelson and I are not dating – we are simply very good friends. I even saw her off at the airport yesterday as she left the country. We are simply very good friends and that’s it – so I hope I have clarified this rumour.
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MT: Well John I guess whenever two actors have great on screen chemistry the audience have rumoured them to be dating each other in real life due to the chemistry, so with you and Yvonne I guess it has to do with the chemistry you both have on set. In the past the same has been said with other actors with great on screen chemistry such as Genevieve Nnaji & Ramsey Nouah, Stella Aboderin & RMD – I mean the list goes on :lol: - which were all bogus and false rumours, but I am glad you have cleared this up again.
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MT: John I want to take time to truly thank you for your time and honouring me this interview. It was a challenge with the out of coverage phone situation but we made it work. Thank you sincerely for your time out of your busy schedule in speaking to me. I am not home in Accra yet but will be before the end of the year and when I do – maybe you could grant me another interview one on one in the near future.
JD: Most definitely Miss Tilii anytime – anytime – I really enjoyed talking to you too. Have a lovely day. Bye
MT: Bye

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"Whew" i thought this interview is finally over, I was nervous a lil - am not going to lie.
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This weekend, I have been thru the interview over and over again and started to kick my self on what i should have asked and what i shouldnt have asked and maybe i should have talked less than i did (i think anytime I talked cos i was trying to get over my own nervousness so i thought being too silent will make me look mumuish - i didnt want to come across as having rehearsed my questions neither) and I shoulda let him talk more etc etc etc .
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My self critique this weekend has been endless as i go thru my notes and going thru the woulda coulda shouldas, but i am strong critique of myself and a huge perfectionist and this is my very first interview ever (i have never interviewed a soul before) so i learn from my mistakes and know what to do and what not to do next time.
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I promise my next interview is going to be much better questions and better structured (but i still stick on my grounds to say i wont ask any questions these stars dont want to be asked - period).
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Either way am proud of myself for my very first attempt ever and I am ever so grateful to JD for giving me this honour (someday we might sit talk and laugh and maybe he can be honest with me if he could detect any nervousness in me as i asked my questions - many professional african journalist have asked dumber questions - so i wont beat myself too bad ).
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I am going to learn by watching interviews of some of my favourite interviewers of all time and learn them like science to know what to do and not to do next time.
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PS: I have NOT given permission to any other website to take this interview to post on their site and call their own. The only sister site i share information with is www.nollywooduncut.com so please with due respect before you decide to copy and paste on your site - simply ask permission and get my ok first - its just due respect.
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8 comments:

Myne Whitman said...

Great interview, well done Tilli. JD looks good but his voice is even more awesome. I think he is a great actor too. Kudos to him.

Miz B said...

Nice one Miss Tilli! Good attempt... love his pictures. He seems like a genuine nice guy... just wish he would work on his publicity more.. so alot more people get to know him and as such request for him. But I guess with time it'll happen. pls check your mail.

Anonymous said...

miss tilli....plz send me ur email!

Tell It Like It is said...

My email address is as follows

africanmoviereviews@gmail.com

You can also find that at the very upper right hand of the page.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Miss T-i-L-L-i for this beautiful interview.
I must say John forgot to mention his first appearance in the heart-warming family thriller "Baby Thief" when he played the young boy Saka. It's an old movie back in the 90's(maybe 1993-94.
I really love what you do, keep it up!

His movie with Rita Dominic is out and is called "The Maidens" John played the king who's married to the Rita Dominic. Can you please review it, it's a good movie and they did well together as husband and wife.

Nollywood Forever said...

Can I say JEALOUS! And secondly *swoon*

Nollywood Forever said...

Can I say JEALOUS! And secondly *swoon*

Anonymous said...

im stll amazed you interviewed him. how did you get his number or email??

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