Given his history in film and television, Pete Edochie is undoubtedly one of the most renowned veterans in Africa’s entertainment sector.
He is well known for playing innovative and inspiring characters in Nollywood.
Edochie rose to fame in the NTA rendition of Chinua Achebe’s all-time best-selling book Things Fall Apart, where his outstanding performance brought attention to Nigeria and Africa. Edochie has been a cultural icon ever since.
In a recent interview with media sources, the icon, who recently turned 75 and is one of the continent’s most recognised actors with a Lifetime Achievement Award and an Industry Merit Award.
He recalled his first-ever film job and said that none of his productions can be characterised as failure, he said , “First of all, Things Fall Apart is older than Nollywood. When I did it in 1985, Nollywood still slumbered in the womb of time. It had to come on board seven years later.
Most of what I did, like Ikuku for Nkem Owoh, was the first one I did after Things Fall Apart. When I did Things Fall Apart, it had been translated into over 53 languages, so it introduced me to the entire world. There was nothing like Nollywood. If you read the compliments the president paid me on my 75th birthday, he said that my performance in Things Fall Apart drew the world’s attention to Nigeria.”
He added, “So Things Fall Apart, that’s the first and the biggest as well. I’ve done other things. And I thank God that everything I’ve done has ended up a smashing success. No production of mine can be referred to as a failure.”
The highly experienced broadcaster and administrator, who is typically portrayed as the king and father in films, has won praise in particular for grooming future leaders and nurturing skills and abilities like his sons Yul and Linc Edochie, which is one of the reasons he is stereotypically portrayed as such in films.
The actor said, “First of all, by the time I left broadcasting and joined Nollywood, I think I was either in my late 50s or early 60s, so I didn’t get in as a young man to start playing lover boy and all sorts.”
“I went in as a father. Again, outside the movie industry, I am, by marriage, the oldest father in the industry. I got married 53 years ago. There is nobody with that record in Nollywood. It’s only natural that I play the role of a father, whether a good one or diabolical; it’s a question of detail.”
A curious fact about Edochie is that he takes pride in his traditional title, which he has duplicated in film roles. But however criticises some moviemakers for the way they script certain King or “Igwe” characters, pointing out that they have done so by demeaning the people and their customs: “You observe a man playing Igwe, chasing a girl and asking her to sit on his lap. I get quite furious when I see things like that.