20 Nollywood stars that?ll rock 2010
By SAMUEL OLATUNJI
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Some of them were as active as the word itself in 2009 while others were as invisible as the air. But one thing binds the active and the invisible together here: they are on our watch list for 2010. ShowbizNow submits that 2010 would be a make or mar year for the following Nollywooders
Jeta Amata: Not much was heard of the boy from the Amata clan in 2009. After the release of his 35mm movie, Amazing Grace, he apparently disappeared. Even his effort with Mary Slessor?s movie did not yield the desired effect. But from all indications, 2010 might be the year for the dread lock-spotting Jeta as he is said to be working on a big budget movie with Akeem Kae-Kazim, the Hollywood based Nigerian who has proven his mettle in movies of international repute such as GI Joe and 24 Hours. ShowbizNow learnt that, Jeta will be releasing the movie to the cinemas before the year runs out.
Funke Akindele: If you thought the best of Miss Funke Akindele was Jenifa, you just might be wrong. Funke is said to have a lot up her sleeves to make the 12 calendar months look short. She is going all the way to turn the Jenifa brand into a huge franchise that will keep us on the queue at the supermarket. 2010 will be the year Jenifa merchandise ranging from shoes to household goods will start showing up in our houses. She is also said to be working on a movie that would make Jenifa look like child?s play. Can thunder strike twice at the same spot for this dark-skinned actress? 2010 will tell. Funke has done close to a dozen English movies, which would be released in 2010 and the market reception will determine if that is the direction she can explore.
Rita Dominic: Even before the year ticks off , Rita Dominic?s cup seems to have been full. She is planning to shoot two movies with her manager, Mildred Okwo. She is also set to become the first major Nollywood actress that would publish her autobiography, a task she is undertaking with Joy Isi Bewaji. Of course, she will still do movies, but her plan is to do only top-rate movies. 2010 will give us a peep into the other sides of Rita? a writer, a producer and only God knows what.
Stella Damasus: Forget the bad press, Stella Damasus has sowed enough seed to make 2010 her year of harvest. She left the limelight to retool and re-strategize and her sacrifice seems to be paying off. She is about to launch a major lifestyle publication, and has finished work on her television show, which will go on air soon. Her music album was said to have been done since forever. Who knows 2010 might be the year it would drop. She is said to be planning to come back to active movie roles with vengeance. 2010 will witness a new Stella.
Jim Iyke: In 2009, he was the busiest actor in the whole of West Africa. His management company said he did about 45 movies. In other climes, that is enough to last an actor a lifetime but not in Nollywood. Jim Iyke is planning not to slow down in the next 12 months. In 2010 he will be releasing two of his movies and plans to work more on the promotion of his album, Who am I? Of course, he still plans being a bad boy because the role seems to be paying off especially when you have a good cause.
Saidi Balogun: 2010 might be the year Saidi Balogun will finally get his much deserved accolade and his rightful place among Nollywood elite. In 2009 he was in South Africa for about a month shooting a movie titled Reflection, which is another two-cast blockbuster with a Spanish lady. We have seen some clips and if the whole movie is almost about what we saw, then Saidi will cement his name in gold in the industry.
Omotola Ekeinde: This diva has broken all the rules in Nollywood and she is not letting-up. She made nonsense of the talk that it is only a particular tribe that thrives in Nollywood, and that once you are married with kids, you are almost as good as done in the business. After marriage with four kids within a decade, Omosexy is still on the scene. In 2010, two major movies she featured in, Ije and Mind Games, would be released and those that have seen them say they are world class. We?ve also heard her yet to be released album. Omotola will definitely go global with it. There is also a hush-hush talk on an international deal she is working on. If the talk goes through, Omot?s name will be cast in gold among true international stars.
Genevieve Nnaji: Not much was heard of her in 2009 except for her role in Tango with me, a Mahmoud Balogun movie. But those who have their ears to the ground said Genevieve already signed a major deal with Warner Bros to shoot a movie with the company in 2010. If that is true, Genny will be rubbing shoulders with Hollywood greats and will probably be inches away from the highly coveted Oscar. 2010 will be this drama queen?s year.
Ope Banwo and his team: He has made a lot of promises and has come through with some of them and on others he is yet to deliver. Late last year, he launched one of his music stars and in 2010 he says he is ready to go all the way with entertainment. He will be doing strategic stuff with his Nollywood stars like Omoni Oboli, Funke Akindele, Fred Amata, Segun Arinze and the likes. 2010 will determine whether Mr Banwo is here to stay or just another flash in the pan.
Dakore Egbuson: Yes, she?s been missing since forever in Nollywood but 2010 will be Dakore Egbuson comeback year. She might not be coming back fully to movies but she is going to be playing big in the entertainment circle. She is said to have concluded work on her musical album and is working round the clock on a TV show. She is only in a dilemma on which to launch first. In 2010 we will definitely see more than enough of Miss Egbuson.
Emem Isong: This accomplished movie producer is gathering sweat on her movie school, Royal Arts Academy, and is still planning on more collaborative deals to produce out of the world movies. First in line is her movie with Ini Edo, which will hit the cinemas before the end of the first quarter of 2010. If Emem?s antecedence is anything to go by, she is one of the stars to watch.
Stephanie Okereke: Stephanie, who is still basking in the accolades Through the glass brought her way in 2009, is said to be planning something that will dwarf the success of that movie. She is already a partner in the New York Film Academy that is opening in Lagos and Abuja. Aside that, she is set to prove that her directorial success with Through the glass was not a fluke as she would be taking on more directorial responsibilities.
Omoni Oboli: She gradually wormed her way to our hearts. Those who matter in the industry now take note of this diva. Her role in Guilty Pleasure and The Figurine shot her straight to the top of the ladder, and if information reaching us is anything to go by, Omoni is not planning to leave. So she?s got quite a number of surprises up her sleeves.
Peace Fiberesima: Love or hate her, Peace Fiberesima has succeeded in putting Nollywood on the global map. After the success and complaints that greeted last year?s event, all eyes are on Madam Peace and her team. People are watching to see what the organizers would make of the 2010 AMAA awards, which is one of the events many are looking forward this year.
Ego Boyo: Though she now has her hands in equipment rental services, Ego Boyo is said to be eyeing movie making. Whether she goes through with the plan or not, Ego will be one of those that will shape things in the industry in 2010.
Tade Ogidan: 2010 is the year the master of movie making would return. He is working on a compilation of music to be sang by Nollywood stars and working on another trademark blockbuster movie. Who knows; we might see a repeat of Madam Dearest and Dangerous Twins.
Tunde Kelani: The cinematographer is also one of the people to watch as he is said to be working on a blockbuster movie with a Nollywood actress. According to our crystal ball, Kelani has concluded work on the script and he is just working on some other things before he hits location in a matter of weeks.
Oby Edozien: Oby Edozien has produced two movies with which she wants to rock 2010 in her own way. We have not seen the movies, but if talk and her efforts are anything to go by,Oby will make her mark in the next 12 calendar months.
Ramsey Nouah: Mr Handsome of Nollywood is finally back to where he belongs and that is the very top of movie making. Ramsey stole the show in The Figurine and Guilty Pleasure and he is said to have done and planning to do strictly movies of such standard in 2010. For Ramsey, quality is his own way of shaping 2010.
Desmond Elliot: With his new found love for directing, Desmond Olusola Elliot is one Nollywooder to watch in 2010. Though still very much active as an actor, he is planning to do more work producing and directing movies; the side of Nollywood he wishes to retire to when he is no longer getting the roles.