Actor and director, Antar Laniyan, speaks to Joy Marcus about Nollywood and the type of actors that avoided working with him.
At what point did you realise you would become an actor?
I started acting at the age of 15. I was so small that I didn’t even know how to become an actor. My original plan was to become a soldier because I lived around Ijora, Lagos, where there was a military barracks. At that time, I became part of a musical dance group that was coordinated by an elderly man who gathered young boys in the area and coached them on how to act using music and dance. After a short while, we started performing at small events.
Eventually, I got into secondary school and started winning laurels for my school during drama competitions. My principal asked me what I would like to become and I told him that I would love to be a soldier but he laughed and asked me to see him in his office. When I got there, he showed me all the awards I won for the school and advised me to go for theatre arts.
How do you relate with your colleagues?
I relate well with everybody. The only people I get angry with are people who don’t concentrate on my set. It makes me angry because as an actor, you came to a location to work and not to have a tea party. In order to achieve our aim, there must be seriousness and concentration.
If an actor is not concentrating, that really annoys me but I will never hit or slap anyone because I am angry. Those who have worked with me can testify that if you want to learn, you can work with me but the lazy ones will run away. I am a very tough director; actors have to concentrate so that we can get the best result. Some people just want to get to the top through dubious means and that doesn’t work with me. I don’t have to take you to bed before you act because I want to see you again in future and be happy with your success.