July 29, 2010

Money Buys Everything

The production that I’ve been visiting is financed by a 27-year-old American immigrant from Sierra Leone, who’s saved up his money working as a nurse in New Hampshire to invest in Nollywood movies. His dream is to be a movie star, so his stipulation for funding the film is that he's cast in a supporting role. Trouble is, he can’t really act. The poor director has to do about a dozen takes of each of his lines, begging him after each one to demonstrate some form of emotional expression. Everyone’s patient with him, but also brutally honest. The director: “I know you’re going to cut my artist’s fee for saying this, but please try to act for the next shot.” The producer: “You’re my man! …Off-camera.” The make-up guy, touching him up after a take: “That last time you almost made us proud!”

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