How I Tricked Omotola, Genevieve Into Acting Together In IJE–Chineze Anyaene

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Unlike the popular saying that ‘when two elephants fight, the grass suffers’, the case is not the same with the two elephants in the contemporary Nigerian film industry called Nollywood; Omotola Jalade Ekeinde and Genevieve Nnaji as there seems to be no grass that suffers as a result of the rivalry.

Though, there have really not been an open confrontation between these two talented and Africa’s queens of the movie world, but it is clear that there is an unwritten rivalry between them mainly brought about by their respective fans.

What makes their rivalry healthy unlike the rivalry witnessed among Fuji musicians in Nigeria is that their fans may have had a better understanding that it is better to keep the rivalry healthy rather than brutal like the Fuji fans.

Interestingly, both have acted in more movies as sisters than any other rivals in Nollywood. So, when both acted again as sisters in Ije, a movie by Chineze Anyaeze, which was her project work at the film school, many wondered how Chineze convinced the two screen divas in acting together again as sisters in the film.

Revealing how she achieved the feat, “When I was even thinking of approaching them, a lot of people discouraged me saying the pair don’t talk but I went ahead to ‘chase’ them for months.

“When I called Omotola, she asked who the other actress was, I said Genevieve and when I called Genevieve she asked who the other actress was, I said Omotola (laughs) and she was like, ‘has she agreed?’ I said yes and Omotola asked me too if Genevieve had agreed, I said yes meanwhile they hadn’t even agreed (laughs) but I had to use that trick to be able to get them together in the film,” the Masters degree holder in Filmmaking from the New York Film Academy (NYFA) disclosed.

On how both got together on set and her experience with them, Chineze revealed, “It was a wonderful experience working with these two stars, they knew I was a student at the New York Film Academy at that time.

“So, when the production started on the first day, they didn’t take part but they observed the session. When their turn came, they were very professional all the way, it was pleasant scenery all through.” 

Ije was finally released on DVD on Monday, December 3, 2012. The film is sold over N60 million at the cinemas.

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