IK Steele

Mary Ekah

Having been away from his fatherland for a while, US-based Nigerian actor and movie producer, Ike Onuoha a.k.a IK Steele is coming back to Nigeria with great plans to take the Nigerian movie industry to another level. The Hollywood actor who has featured in a couple of American award-winning films, during a recent visit to Nigeria revealed his plans. Popularly known as Ik Steele, he has moved from being a mere actor to producing award-winning works. He got his big break in Hollywood when he starred in Stephen Spielberg hit movie, The Terminal. He has since worked with top American celebrities like Beyonce, Kanye West amongst others.

“I’ve been away from the county of birth for a while because I was doing a lot of other stuffs in the United States. Now I am back in the country for a few things – one to give back to my community and my place of birth with my expertise and knowledge in production,” he said,

He started out as an actor in LA after doing some acting gigs. ”I started doing back stage of production. “First, I went to Hollywood to be an actor just to act while I was there I found out that you need to do more to get noticed, so I had to learn the back-end production which is how to shoot, how to edit, how to produce and that’s been my journey so far,” he recalled.

Speaking on his Nollywood experience, he said, “My conceived notion about Hollywood all changed when I went there. So I got to Hollywood and then I found out that I had to pretty much learn everything from scratch. So I started taking acting classes, going to auditions and doing whatever I could do to survive in Hollywood. But I thank God because I had a five to nine jobs while I was pursuing acting. That was what kept me – The ability to pay bills and not be homeless because I could go into lot things. So Hollywood has embraced me and I also embraced the truth about Hollywood in all aspects of it.”

IK Steele has so far produced a couple of movies: “My personal movie that I did produce and I starred in was called ‘The Immigrant’. I made it in 2007 so we got very great reviews. We won best short film in a lot of festivals. We got nominated for awards, and went to quite a few festivals back then; Chicago Black Film Festival, also San Francisco Black Film Festival and many others. We also went to a number of other festivals and we were well received.”

Speaking on his views and plans for Nollywood, he said, ”Back in 2008, we went to Cannes in 2008, while there, I met quite a few number of Nigerians. They came to the festival so they saw the film and they told me to put it up for the Nigerian Film Festival, but honestly, I have to be honest, I didn’t care for Nigeria film festivals at that time, so I didn’t follow through. I could care less because I was looking at the bigger film festivals but I guess that’s the reason why I’m here now. This is my place of birth, I cannot not be a part of this beautiful industry called Nollywood. I want to learn and participate in what goes on here too,” he said.

Still on what he intends to bring on board, IK Steele said, “I can bring on board a lot of great collaborative efforts as the style of the production as far as going into mainstream Hollywood market because there’s a way Hollywood does films which we are almost getting there.”