Pete Edochie has reflected on his nearly four-decade journey in the Nigerian movie industry.
In an interview with Afia TV, Edochie said the concept of Nollywood — as known today — did not exist when he made his acting debut in the 1985 adaptation of Chinua Achebe’s best-selling novel, ‘Things Fall Apart’.
The 76-year-old film star said Nollywood began seven years later with ‘Living In Bondage’ in 1992.
Edochie said he started to gain global recognition following his performance in ‘Things Fall Apart’.
“I am senior in the movie industry. I mean, when I did ‘Things Fall Apart’ in 1985, there was nothing like Nollywood. By then, Nollywood was slumbering sonorously in the womb of time,” he said.
“It was seven years after that Nollywood came on board with ‘Living In Bondage.’ I went round the world before Nollywood came. By the special grace of God, after I did ‘Things Fall Apart,’ I was celebrated internationally.
“The BBC flew in here to interview me and flew into America to interview Chinua Achebe. And Achebe said, ‘Pete Edochie gave that role an interpretation after my heart.’ Before he died, he was calling me Okonkwo.
“Seven years after Nollywood came and when I retired from broadcasting, I joined Nollywood.”
Edochie began his career as a radio broadcaster in 1967.
He had starred in ‘Things Fall Apart’ before he formally left radio broadcasting.
In 1995, Edochie was featured in ‘Ikuku (Hurricane) 1’, his first movie since his performance in ‘Things Fall Apart’.
He has starred in over 200 movies and is considered one of the most influential and respected actors in Nigeria.
He has also received several awards and recognitions for his outstanding performances and craft.
The Nigerian film industry, known as Nollywood, was founded in the 1990s. But the term ‘Nollywood’ was coined by the New York Times journalist Norimitsu Onishi in 2002 when he observed film-making activity in Lagos, Nigeria.
Video films became the industry standard in Nollywood after home video sales turned director Chris Obi Rapu’s 1992 film ‘Living in Bondage’ into a blockbuster.
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