Nigerian actress Genevieve Nnaji is celebrated as one of Nigeria’s greatest actresses and for good reason. Genevieve is a legend who has appeared in some very iconic Nollywood movies and is known for her natural acting ability. In 2018, Genevieve made what went on to become Netflix’s first Nollywood original feature film, Lionheart. The movie starred other Nollywood icons including Pete Edochie, Nkem Owoh, Kanayo O. Kanayo and also a slew of newer actors like actress, Jemima Osunde.
Jemima Osunde in a new interview with Ebuka on Rubbin’ Minds opened up about working with Genevieve on Lionheart. Genevieve is very well known for her privacy and elusive living so it is no surprise that many people find her intimidating and think she is serious and strict in real life. Jemima revealed that she too thought that about Genevieve before she met her. Upon meeting her though, it was a different story. Jemima went on to recount a story from her experience to illustrate Genevieve’s character. Here’s what Jemima said.
Speaking about Lionheart and working alongside Genevieve, Jemima Osunde said:
When I got the call for ‘Lionheart’, I thought it was a prank call. I had told the person that unfortunately, I had exams at school and I would not be able to do this project, sorry. That was it. Then a day later, he calls back and he’s like “Oh, the executive producer said we should get your timetable, we will work with your schedule.” I was like “The hell? I said I’m not doing, is it by force? Tell them I have exams in Lagos, you people are filming in Enugu, how do I want to do it?” Then he was like, “Oh but Miss Genevieve–” I said “Wait, what? Who? Which of the Genevieves?” He was like, “Genevieve Nnaji, that is the owner of–“, I was like “Ohhh, you should have started with that!”. I have always wanted to work with her. Always wanted to meet her. And I think the whole experience for me was wholesome.
I went there with a perception. I thought she was very strict and nah, Genevieve was cracking jokes. I remember the day that I was supposed to catch a flight to Lagos for an exam I had the next day. My clinical exam which if I had missed was an automatic extra year. I missed my flight. So I was sitting in Enugu on set at 7pm when I had clinical exam 8am the next day in Lagos. I was sweating, I was under pressure, and I was just like I don’t know what I’m gonna do.
Anyone who has watched Lionheart knows it’s about a transportation company. So (Genevieve) was like “Ah, should we reserve one of the drivers for Lionheart?” I was just like honey, this is not a joke. I was under pressure. But she had sorted it out. She already had a way out for me. So it was somehow comical for her to watch me be under pressure and react not knowing what she had planned. I had the absolute best time working with her.
It’s nice to hear that not only does Genevieve have a good sense of humor, she also has a kind heart. Missing that exam could have really posed a big problem for Jemima and the fact that Genevieve just swooped in like that to help is so nice to hear. I really miss her on screen and I cannot wait to see what Genevieve appears in next!
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