The last may not have been heard over the crack in the once upon a time chumming relationship between the award winning movie director, Daniel Ademinokan and his beautiful wife of many years, Doris Simon, you would recalled that, when your darling magazine, Enquirer broke the story of their marriage brouhaha weeks back, so many of our contemporaries follow suit, this time, it is the sad story of the couple`s divorce plans.
Inside sources informed this office that, things seemed to have gone so bad that, any moment from now, the couple might seek legal redress for a formal separation as all efforts to reconcile them have proved abortive.
According to family sources, Daniel is in custody of the only fruit of the liaison, David, a four years old boy who has relocated with his dad to Abuja where he (Daniel) is said to have bought a massive duplex.
We gathered that, on her part, Doris has vowed to fight dirty as has resulted to involve Stella Damasus whom she`s alleging to be harbouring her husband in Abuja. A family source who will prefer anonymity confided in us that, Doris is battle ready and has promised to attack Stella Damasus anywhere she sees her.
But investigations however revealed that, Daniel and Stella are business partners and both of them are project confidants struggling on a scheme that bothers on corporate social responsibility or best put service to humanity but Doris has been telling whosever cares to listen that, Stella is seeing her husband and will be ready to deal with her should she dare to go the whole hug.
During our chance meeting with the lanky movie director, we actually pestered him to tell us about his marriage break up but he insisted it`s his private life, the closest he told us was that, “I`ve moved ahead, I don`t want to talk about my past, I now live happily with my boy, David in Abuja”, he insisted.
ENQUIRER`S SUPER EXCLUSIVE
“DORIS SIMON, MY SON-DAVID AND I”-DANIEL ADEMINOKAN
He`s one of the hottest gossips in Nollywood right now for three reasons. One, because of his marriage break-up story flying around like a wild fire, two, the story behind his sudden relocation from Lagos to Abuja and lastly the new found love and venture with suave actress, Stella Damasus which is the latest in his life. That’s the award winning handsome Nollywood director, Daniel Ademinokan who has been the target of fans for a while. In what looks like a rare feat, the humble Nollywood superman honoured your soar away investigative magazine, Enquirer when he spoke exclusively to its News Editor, Faith Irabor on issues you`ve been dying to read. It is quite explosive.
Will it be right to call you a Yoruba movie director?
I am not a Yoruba movie director. I make English and Yoruba films. I have done a Spanish film before; I have shot films in South Africa, Ghana, UK, and America. I work virtually anywhere I want to work. It depends on what I want to do and feels like doing. I think I am one of the lucky few who have been privileged to do Yoruba and English films. Daniel Ademinokan is an Urhobo boy born and raised in Lagos, with Warri blood inside me and nurtured in New York; so all the blood in me is a mixture of Warri, Lagos and New York (laughs).
So as someone who was nurtured in New York, how did you find your feet in the Nigerian movie industry?
I didn’t spend all my life in New York; I started in Lagos as a writer. I started writing script for a guy named Chucks Obiora, and we had marketers like Kas-Vid. I was writing script for them; even the one that Nkem Owo played the lead then titled “The Masters” where the oyinbo man said I go chop your dollar. I wrote the film. Not everyone knew that myself, Charles Inoje and Chike Brian did that job and I hope you know how many years ago we are talking about here. And I also wrote so many other scripts like that which starred top actors and were blockbusters but most of the time then when I write the scripts, the writers will then take the script and re-modify it and put their names. I felt cheated and I felt very bad; and I thought I wanted to do much more than this. I have always wanted to direct but then you can’t just come and jump on the director’s chair. So what I did was that I left Nigeria and I went to a film school in Madrid. First, I went to America and that was after I had graduated from the University of Ibadan (Computer Science) but I couldn’t finish my course in America; I now went to Spain. But recently I have gone back to New York to do a course in Digital Cinematography. So it has been an interesting journey for me.
What movie would you say brought attention to you?
I think the movie that brought the attention to me is a Yoruba film titled Oni Temi; I starred in the film and directed it, Doris Simon produced it. But I think what gave me more attention was Guilty Pleasure; I directed it and it was produced by Emem Isong. The movie starred Majid Michel, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Mercy Johnson, Omoni Oboli, Ramsey Nouah, Omoni Oboli and the rest. After that another major film I have done is the two cast film I did with Saheed Balogun. Then I did Ghetto Dreams which was a huge success. But recently something that has brought mega acclaimer to me has been Unwanted Guest which I did in New York. People came and saw Unwanted Guest and they didn’t believe that it was a Nigerian film shot in New York compared to what people just did and shot in back yard studio.
What are the determinants of the type of jobs you do?
The script must be very key for me. If you give me a script that I love and I see that the story has a drive (pause at this point) I mean the format of your script is good enough for me to accept your job, I will do it; you see these days people don’t understand how to structure a screen play in terms of the type of font sizes and how to structure it in a proper screen play. I have done jobs for people for almost nothing because of how good the story is. And there are some jobs that you do when you read the script; you just want to be a part of it because the story is so good. And also how a producer write a story is very key too because sometimes people tell you a story verbally and when they give you the screen play it’s totally different from what they told you. It happened when I was doing Unwanted Guest. So sometimes they don’t know how to write it but they have a good story. Most times I listen to the story, then when I read the script I can actually propose to you and say “let me do this screen play” again then we can discuss fees on that. After that how far the producer is willing to go to make that story come to life is another big deal for me. A producer might have a good story but won’t be willing to go all the way to give you the tools you need to make that film work. If you have a good story is one thing; but is the producer willing to go all the way to pay the right actors, locations, directors and the entire element to make that film work.
That would bring me to this question, why did you abandon your last job, “Two Sides Of a Coin”, a big project sponsored by MNET because we heard you were directing this job but walked away because you relocated to Abuja?
(Laughs) People sometimes can say all the crap in the world because they have no idea of what to say and I have always been a kind of person who doesn’t listen to bad press or side talks. If what I feel is right to me, I just get it done. People said I left the job but they never asked me why. The job is produced by Seyi Adebayo a.k.a Moscow and I was part of those who developed the story with Seyi. Seyi is my very good friend; we have been doing business since 2006. So we did Box Office together on TV; he even schooled me very well as regard TV business. So there is no way I would have abandoned Seyi’s job. We shot Two Sides of a Coin, I did the casting with them and we shot for about thirty something days here in Lagos and one of our actors had to travel to school in Malaysia. So he left and we stopped filming for a while. That was in September, so I relocated from Lagos to Abuja in January 2012. And all this time we were trying to see if we could shoot in November or December but it just didn’t work. And Seyi was filming with my equipment; we have no issues or whatsoever. He is my friend. So the timing was not right; unfortunately when it was time for the actor in Malaysia to come I was already doing another project that was huge in Abuja. When he told me it was time, I told him I was already filming here in Abuja with my Equipment.
So there was no misunderstanding or whatsoever, then why were you not at the premiere?
I came back from New York on Tuesday 27th of March 2012 and the premiere was 30th of March which was a Friday in Lagos and meanwhile I and Stella Damasus have a show the morning of the next day in Abuja so there was no way I could be in Lagos on Friday night
Tell us about your project with Stella Damasus?
It’s called Action Cut and what we do is training young actors and directors for free. So the programme took place in Abuja on Saturday and Seyi`s premiere in Lagos was like 7pm in the evening on Friday. It was not convenient for me. I had to call Seyi to explain things for him but it just didn’t work out because of the timing.
You recently moved into an apartment we learnt you actually bought in Abuja and also just returned from New York where we also learnt was basically a business trip? Would you want to share your source of income aside movie with us?
(Laughs) see Faith I left school with a first class in Computer Science, so I am not a dummy. I do other businesses apart from film; I will not put my eggs in one basket. I do documentaries for state governments and… I mean, there are like three state governments I’m doing documentaries for. There is a documentary on the presidency that I am working on now; I import stuffs and I sell. I am also into photography.
Ok, so sincerely and for the first time, why did you relocate to Abuja?
I have spent all my life in Lagos, I was born in Lagos. I left Lagos because it’s extremely saturated; I just got tired of the traffic, heat and congestion. Everybody is doing the same thing in Lagos. If you want to sell shoes, there are also twenty million other people selling shoes. So is barber shop, there are fifty thousand other shops. Everybody living in Nigeria came to Lagos and survives. Let me leave Lagos for them to make money. In this kind of business that I am doing, if you are looking for name and fame; stay in Lagos and look for fame. But there is a level you get to you will want to do your own kind of thing; and the time is now. I want to be able to sit down and write my script, live in my house peacefully with my son and not be stressed out at all. I am an extremely private person, I am an introvert. I can be in my bedroom for three days and you will not know.
Your son you say. Let me first ask how you and your son is coping alone in the new place and how true is it that the property is actually yours?
God has been extremely good to me and I have no reason to hide God’s blessings. But I will say God has helped me out of certain situations. People can now begin to ask what I do for a living. I just wrote a book on script writing and it is an amazing book; it will be published in an American company very soon. My clothing line is also coming out very soon; for now I am keeping it under wraps till I launch it, My series is coming out very soon; it is called Boys’ Quarters (B.Q). There are lots of things I am doing that people do not know. If people are interested in my business or private affairs; why can’t they go and ask where these actresses get the money they use in buying Jeep? I won’t say more than that concerning the house.
What about your son, how is he also coping in an environment he is not used to?
My son is doing fine but at the moment I will rather not talk now. The public should learn to respect my privacy and remember we agreed I am not saying anything about my family please.
You seem to be closer to God from the way you’re talking, what is responsible for this?
People don’t know that I am extremely a spiritual person. The way I grew up, everything about me has been based on God. I grew up as a musician in church; my mum is a serious Iya Ijo (Deaconess) in church and now I’m more rooted in the things of God. God took me out of Lagos to Abuja to open my eyes to where I should be working. I now work closely with the secretary of the Peculiar Peoples Church in Abuja. I am so much into the things of God now; in fact some people now call me Apostle.
What would you say is responsible for your sudden closeness to God?
I have always been like this; people who know me very well will tell you that I have always been like this for a long time or have you ever heard stories of Daniel smoking or drinking; you will not hear it anywhere. But because of my physical look people always take me for a playboy; is it my fault that I look the way I look?
Could that also be the reason you’re romantically linked with Nollywood actress Tonto Dike and for the first time would want to clear the air on this?
I still insist people should leave my private life private. All I will only say is Tonto is a colleague I respect; I think I have only met her once. I see her posters everywhere and that is it about it.
What about your business relationship with Edem Duke, the Minister of Culture and Tourism?
I don’t know him; I wish I did. If you have his number please give it to me, let me call him. If I am opportune to know him I won’t mind because I know I have things we can do together.
Don’t you think you might not want to confirm this because of the need to protect your rapport with him as you seem to know a lot of people in the corridors of power now?
I do a lot of stuffs with people in government. I am not shielding anybody. All the business that I do is legit. If I am friends with a minister I will take a picture with him and put it on my facebook. I don’t need to hide anything from anybody.
But why are you controversial these days?
Jesus came to the world to die for us, they showed him fire. Likewise was Apostle Paul that was sent to preach the gospel around the world, they gave him power. So who am I that they won’t show fire, If nobody talks about you whether good or bad you are nobody. Let them talk, I am not afraid of anything. I just believe so much in my God and where he is taking me to. If you see me tomorrow if I am preaching on the altar don’t be surprised.
Are you saying you could become a pastor?
No, I have not said I have any calling, please don’t go and write that I am becoming a pastor soon oh. (laughs)
Can you tell us more on what you and Stella are doing together?
Yes, Stella and I are doing a seminar titled Action Cut. We are training people in acting and directing in Nigeria as a whole and the industry has helped me so it is just a way of giving back to the society by training these people. It is not everyone that can afford to go to a film school like we did. We just thought let us train people. Stella is an amazing person to work with, she is very intelligent and she is able to joggle up with her foundation that she is doing. It’s been going on fine and so far we don’t have any issues.
So how huge is this?
If you come to Abuja this thing is huge. As I speak to you we have been booked to come to Aba in May 2012 and do the same thing. We also went to Cameroun in September 2011 to train actors; we were there for 10 days. We trained them on acting; script writing and we did a short film for them. We shoot that film in less than 2 days. The same students developed the story, and they acted in it and it was amazing. The people there after seeing what we did asked us to come back again and we did in November with our cameras, equipments and we made a film for them. They didn’t have to pay me; we went there with our own money and we even paid those that we used. I am trying my best to give back to the community. To me there is nothing I want that God hasn’t given to me. And he didn’t give me money to be buying shoes or Hummer Jeep. In Abuja now I am training people free of charge; come, register and learn free of charge and we give certificates. I just want to raise a new generation of actors and I want people to know that you don’t need to publicize immorality, lesbianism or other vices before you can act. Let people come and learn the right way; let us start making films that are Godly, sensible and matured.
So what went wrong between you and your pretty wife Doris that you both feel it’s beyond what you can resolve?
Like I said before, my private life should be kept as private. Please we agreed we should talk about my movies and leave my private life alone. I have been doing a lot of things lately; let people look at that. People that even know me will be shocked that I am doing this kind of business because I am a totally private person. I was a bass player for different churches for so many years, band leader, choir leader, church boy and I didn’t put myself out there in front of the cameras so now that am doing that people should leave me. I sweat myself to make sure my fans are happy; they should look at my films and let them stop there
But are you guys on talking terms?
No comment oh.
Could this be one of the reasons you no longer pick calls, reply text messages and pings and we also learnt that you delete anyone who try to talk about it off your bb friends` list?
People who say this are people that do not know me. On the 1st of December 2011 I got robbed at gunpoint; they shot me three times but God just decided to save me. So my over 400 contacts on BB went away, so some people just thought I deleted them off. But now I have a new one and I think everybody’s BB should be a private thing; it is not all the people who want to talk to you about whatever that you want to reply. I am very private so I have every right to filter people I don’t want on my BB; nobody can dictate to me who I will put on my BB. I am not in any way arrogant but sometimes when people say that people are arrogant you will be shocked because I believe that sometimes there are people that get upset when they see you attain a position that they cannot attain. I am very easy to deal with. Recently in New York I ran into two prominent actresses and I took them around New York because I am more familiar with the place; now people don’t get to see that part of me because I don’t need to come and put a billboard on my face and say I am nice. The fact is that I cannot be nice to everybody because some people when you allow them get one inch they go 25 miles. I am human like everyone else so I have my days that I may not want to speak to anybody. Certain people for their own selfish reasons have become very nosy in my affairs so I decided to delete them off my BB because it is my right; if they don’t like it then I am sorry but it is my phone and I can do whatever pleases me with it. I am not answerable to a lot of people; I am only answerable to God, my family and my Pastor. I am entitled to my own privacy.
How do you find time to relax?
I relax by watching movies; I like Kunle Afolayan`s film, Emem Isong and I watch a lot of American films. I like films that when I see they challenge me intellectually; films that you see creative story writing and films that are intelligently directed. My movie library is unbelievable.
What would you attribute your new look too?
It is God. Like I said Lagos shortens a person’s life span but now I have God and this measure of peace in me. When you have faith in God, He will sort you out. Sometimes when you try to get out of one problem you get into another but if you have God in you; you won’t fall into trouble. God said we should call Him and He will show us the kind of God He is. Be diligent in everything you do; do your best and leave the rest for God. I have come to learn the simple things of life and that is, solve God’s problem by paying your tithe and He will solve your own.
What is the relationship between you and your mum especially now that you have relocated with your son, her grandson?
My mum is my chic; she has been supportive and extremely prayerful. She loves me to death unconditionally.
Is it true that you are the only son?
No I am not the only son. I am the third son of my mum and I have a younger brother. My older brother, mum’s first son died in 1991 and five years ago my second older brother also died of kidney problem. So now I am the one who is very close to my mum and my two sisters are married and they live abroad. Even my younger brother is leaving very soon so I am the only one here with my mum, that is why we are close. She is dear to me and I am dear to her. My mum and dad used to live together but now that my father has died, my mum has been the only one living in our house in Surulere. I talk to her all the time, and whenever I am in town I go to see her. I don’t joke with her. We are very close but also we go head to head on certain issues.
What is the best thing you cherish most about your mum?
I cherish her spirituality; she is a rare kind of mum. This is a woman that will be sick and she will be fasting for 7 days for you.
Considering the closeness between you and your mum; how is she taking your relocating?
Let us leave that between me and my mum; we will know how to work it out.
What kind of father are you to your son?
My son means the entire world to me. He is like a 35 year old stock in a 4 year old body; he is going to be 4 on April 4th, 2012. I always joke with him that, “David tell me your real age please,(laughs). He is a great kid and I love him so much.
For your fans out there what message do you have for them?
I want to tell them that my book is coming out very soon; they should go and read my book. The book is titled, The Shark Theories; it is going to be in every bookstore nationwide. When it is going to come out you will know. Action Cut is coming to town very soon in a city near you and it is going to be explosive; it is good for experienced directors and upcoming directors, actors and actresses. We have hit Port Harcourt, Aba, Abuja and it is coming to Lagos very soon.
It has been nice chatting with you.