Actor and Producer, Ini Edo sits with host of #WithChude, Chude Jideonwo, to discuss co-producing Shanty Town, having a baby through a surrogate, her failed marriage and her career as an actress.
Speaking on her choice to have a surrogate carry her baby and owning it gracefully, she said, “I chose a surrogate because I had couple of miscarriages. I just got tired of trying and I didn’t want to try. I don’t have a husband, and I want a child for myself whether I have a husband or not. What other options could I have had? And I wanted it to be my child, my eggs. Thankfully, my eggs are good. On owning her story in spite of the way it was accepted, she said, “You live this life for yourself. It’s just you that matters. You can’t be the judge of your own life and my life at the same time. No! This is my own life. The truth is people don’t really care. If you care enough for yourself, that’s enough. Don’t expect people to care. Everybody has their own problems to deal with. People have issues. They’re just thinking of themselves; they’re just using their own frustrations and venting it out on you. Perhaps the courage you have, they don’t have. So, just do you, because you’re listening to them, you’d sit in the same seat with them and that’s basically what they want.
Speaking on the positive feedback for the series, Shanty Town, she shared, “To be honest, we knew what we had done. I knew it would blow people’s mind, what I didn’t expect was the kind of reaction I got from some people who I least expected, people who didn’t watch Nigerian film, I didn’t expect the reach. It became a movement, because we are carrying everybody along. It was that part I didn’t see coming. Did I know that it would blow people’s minds? Yes, because I saw it beforehand, and it has just been incredible.”
Ini Edo also mentioned the iconic scene shared with Nse Ikpe-Etim speaking the Akwa Ibom language and how interesting it was to film. “It was very sunny in the middle of the road, and we had to get multiple takes. Other than the regular pressure of filming, the weather and all that, just speaking the language alone with Nse was a breath of fresh air. It was something that we both jumped at. It was really seamless. Every minute of it was interesting”. She also spoke about how the acceptance of the language took her by surprise the most. “Originally, the characters were supposed to be Benin or Yoruba, that was what the script writer wrote. I was like, if I am going to co-produce something of this magnitude, I wouldn’t want to go learn somebody else’s language, what about making them Akwa Ibom. Thankfully, Nse was already a cast member in the movie, so it just really made sense for the two of them. So, we switched names right there on set and we started working on it”.
Speaking further on playing the dual role of a co-producer and actor on the project, she shared on how she had been interested in making a film of this magnitude for a while. “There was a hunger to make a kind of film that gets this kind of reception. I have been in this industry for too long; it would be weird to not want something like this. I have always known that I wanted to be this kind of film maker. It is just not the right time or sometimes you are looking for the right project. In terms of character, over time I have not really gotten roles that have challenged me or intrigued me. And If I don’t get things that challenge me, it sort of gets me bored, and it looks like I am losing the fire. So, for a period, I have been so hungry to even just do it for others even if I am not doing it for myself, but people would do what they want to do. So, I am like, ‘you know what, I will create my own table, I don’t have to wait for it’”
She also shared on journey into acting, “I wanted to be a lawyer or a newscaster. My role model was the late Tokunbo Ajayi; I always loved to watch her on the news. That was who I wanted to be like. Although I had never really wanted to be an actor, I have always been in the arts in church and in school. I did a diploma in theatre art while waiting to go do law. Then I started doing stage acting and an opportunity to do a film came and I just became an actor. I think it was destiny.”
Speaking of her regrets about her failed marriage, she said, “I regret getting married because it just wasn’t the right move to make. If the right person comes, I will do it again in my own time. If he doesn’t come, I am good.”
Watch the excerpt here: https://www.instagram.com/p/Ct5wF38LFQN/