Yomi Fash Lanso is one of the A-list actors who cut his teeth in the Yoruba genre of the Nigeria movie industry. The gangling actor has been able to calve a niche of uniqueness for himself in the industry little wonder tongues have wag on his personality as the proud and arrogant type. In this interview with Faith Irabor, the graduate of the University of Lagos who just featured in an English movie spoke on what he perceives as problems plaguing the movie industry generally. You would enjoyed the chat.
What’s been happening to you of late?
It’s still the same profession that you’ve always known me for that I still do.
Yeah but it’s been a while since we saw your face in movies unlike before when you’re virtually in 70% of the movies released?
Yes you’re right, I am presently on break, am resting though that’s not to say that I have not done some movies of late.
Which was the last one you did before going on break?
I think the title is Omo Okunrin Kan.
Was it produced by you?
No o, me I am not yet capable to be a producer, I am a full time actor, when the time is right I will produce my own movies. Mind you it’s not because I don’t have what it takes but I choose not to join the band wagon yet.
But why is this so in the Yoruba industry unlike the English sector where we can count producers?
Yes, you’re right and it’s true that everybody even a new comer wants to produce and there is no other thing than the lack of structure. Like I tell people, we don’t have an industry yet, we are only deceiving ourselves. As far as Nigeria is concerned, the motion pictures industry does not have structure yet and that’s why anybody can just come and produce one junk movie and get out. Assuming there is an appropriate structure, I tell you it’s on that platform that everybody would ride, this way people would climb the ladder before assuming the position of a producer. One thing people don’t understand is that film producing is not a child’s play. I always say this despite the fact that I have done a film producing course well over nine years ago where I got my certificate as a certified film producer, yet I have not shot a movie not because I can’t but because I feel the time is not right. Let me even ask, what experience have we garnered as actors before jumping to say that we’re producers? Film producing is not as easy as our people here are making it look. Like a friend of mine would always say, if you watch Nigeria home videos, it would teach you how not to make a film and I tell you, I have borrowed that word from him and let it serve me as a guide. When you watch it as an aspiring producer, you’d know that yes this is not how to make a movie. That’s the reason why I just sit and watch most of these movies.
Then again don’t you think you people also need to work on the subtitling?
Yeah, it’s very terrible my sister but there is honestly nothing I can do because I am not a producer, all that concerns me is to act and get out. It’s the duty of the post production and you would see their names on the end credit. It’s the duty of the so called marketers who are so redundant and myopic in thinking to know that our subtitling is poor and should do something about it as the marketers who would sell the films. They are supposed to ensure that final touches are put into these movies before pushing it out to the market.
Why are you seen as an expensive and arrogant actor because I have heard a lot of people say this?
Yeah, it’s good that way. Whatever comes cheap lacks value. It is when you give yourself a kind of platform that people would say all sorts of things. The most important thing is for you to believe in yourself and when you do, God Himself would believe in you, so nobody can ride you. When they say am arrogant, fine so be it, it’s not arrogant but pride, it means you pride yourself. Like King Sunny Ade would always say “whosoever doesn’t give you money, clothes have no right to claim that you’re an arrogant type”. My philosophy is “once Fash is still delivering, they should pay!”
Then you’re known for wearing different hairstyles and not having a particular look?
Yeah, I do that a lot. I could go bald, do dreadlocks, and keep full hair. I actually pattern my facial look after the character I am playing in a movie. I believe every actor should, even if the producer or director did not tell you that this is the characterization, you should, if you want to have substance, you need to give your look that character matters. But when you’re seen playing different roles with the same looks and shape of face then you’re not acting anymore! You’re yourself!
What’s your educational background?
Let’s just say I went to primary and secondary school like every other normal person but I am a graduate of the University of Lagos.
Can you still remember when you started acting and perhaps the first movie you did?
I can’t remember to be sincere though I started acting professionally in February 1995.
Then again let’s talk about your wife and kids because not much seems to be known about them?
Yeah, you’re right, I don’t bring my family into my career and that’s why I try to keep them from public glare. But I am happily married and my wife and kids are doing very fine and I think that’s all I will want to say about that aspect of my life.
Where are you from?
I am a Nigerian (laughs) from Ogun State.
Who’re your favourites among your contemporaries in the movie industry?
I give it to Funsho Adeolu any day and there’s a guy coming up and I love working with him anytime any day and that’s Gabriel Afolayan, he acts from the inside and we also have Ibrahim Chata, he’s also a fantastic actor.
YomI Fash Lanso has become a brand whose market value over time has not depreciated, can you share the secret that has sustained the brand apart from God?
Like I tell people, if I want to go into any business I don’t know of, I would go and learn it from those who are perfectionists in that area aside learning it in school. I would go to those who know it to sensitize and teach me the path to follow, those who would tell me what I stand to gain if I stand here or there. As an actor, there’s what we call field benefits of you placing yourself in some certain places. Like I tell my producer friends that as long as they still keep using brands, I mean all these soft drinks, those soaps in their jobs for free, the manufacturers would not give you money because you’ve already cheapened yourself by giving them free adverts and quote me, you won’t see a Yomi Fash Lanso hold such brands in any movie because I know as an actor my right must stand. As a matter of fact I don’t go for names when I am buying things but rather quality things that cost money, so you would not catch me dead wearing names. And until we realize this, the public won’t know our worth, that’s just it.
People say you don’t honour events, so how do you relax?
I am an indoor person actually and aside that, it’s not as if I don’t go to events, I only choose to go to meaningful events that would add value to my person.
On a final note, any message to your fans?
Yeah, I love and appreciate their supports and prayers for me. I promise to keep making them proud. God bless them all.
It’s been nice chatting with you?