I Improvised Lines For My Initial Role as Andy – Kenneth Okonkwo


Iyke Bede

At the recent private screening of Living in ‘Bondage: Breaking Free’, a sequel to the 90s blockbuster thriller, ‘Living in Bondage’ (LIB), Nollywood actor Kenneth Okonkwo revealed that he improvised his lines in the original film.

This reveal came on the heels of a dialogue that ensued between Andy Okeke (Kenneth Okonkwo) and Richard William (Ramsey Nouah) in a scene in the sequel. Impressive, the scene had elicited thunderous cheers from a select few who attended the screening.

“When we did the first film, the script format came like a story,” Okonkwo said, “Every scene was not dialogued. In some scenes directors would tell you to provide befitting lines. Say for instance, Andy came back and then told his wife a fictitious story.  I would now come up with the fictitious story that Andy tells his wife, and that’s why I still have the story and the dialogue of the first ‘Living in Bondage’ in me. But this current one is detailed and dialogued. There was no need to improvise.” He concluded by saying that the current script shows an advancement in filmmaking in Nollywood, generally.

Almost three decades later, the current iteration still mirrors the 1992 classic’s plot in many ways to project sociocultural trends and values. Only this time, it expands its scope to reflect the clandestine group (The Six) influence on a global scale using better visual effects and cinematography.

Executive producer Dotun Olakunrin expressed the need to retain the blueprint of Kenneth Nnebue and Okechuku Ogunjiofor’s vision as screenwriters. He said:

“I think there is a moralistic thread to this story, which was also in the first story, and basically relate to people today just as it did 27 years ago. It relates to people that wealth is good, or is impressive, it’s attractive, but there is a price to pay. You can sweat to make your wealth or you can go the shortcut, but the shortcut has a price to pay.’ I think that message is very clear, and very important.”

Although he acknowledges the leverage the first two installments avails due to its cultural impact, which, in turn, sets the pace for ‘LIB: Breaking Free’, he feels continuing a legacy of educating masses on values of morals should continue.

“Because it is a classic, a classic that was left open-ended; a classic that the new generation needs to know about, a classic that we need to see, and see what happens next. What we’ve done is that we brought out the classic’s child which we hope will be a classic as well, and grow to be as big as, if not bigger than the previous one. The story is important and I don’t think you can leave a classic lying there.” He concluded.

The premiere for ‘LIB: Breaking Free’ is set for Saturday, November 2, 2019.