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Jammal Ibrahim on Playing SP Danladi Dikko in Showmax’s ‘Crime and Justice Lagos’
What is it about your character that intrigued you the most?
It is his calmness in the stone. Whenever anything is going crazy, he is still. And it is in that stillness that he picks up the unusual, and from this unusual stuff, he finds the truth. So it is his calm in chaos that I love and think is very intriguing. I think that if people could actually get that kind of attitude in themselves, I think that life will be easier for all of us, especially in Lagos. If people can chill for a bit and listen to the silence, they will find a world of reason.
Did you find yourself judging your character at times?
Oh, yeah, there are some decisions that Danladi made and I’m like ‘kai’, ‘why?’. I think in episodes five and six, there were some decisions he made that I was not really happy with but that’s me. Danladi made those decisions on his own. And I wondered why he made them. You know something really bad is going to happen because of the decisions he took. I can see it but Danladi can’t. And I can’t tell him sadly so he has to go through his journey and figure it out. . Overall, I like most of the decisions he makes because it ends up kind of positive half of the time.
Are there emotional or mental depths you reached to portray your character aptly?
Yes, I’m going to give reps to my directors. Mak ‘Kusare is in the States and Onyinye Egenti is in London but they brought some different parts of them into this production that was amazing and pushed us beyond our expectations. I remember episode five which is one of the craziest and most emotional episodes for Danladi, Onyi pushed me to a very dark place which was kind of difficult to get out of that day. I think it took the whole day to the next day before I could actually feel myself. I’m very much grateful for that because I remember her words, she said, ‘Jammal, I really need this. I know I’m going to be selfish for this to work but that place, I would need you to go there. I know I’m being selfish right now. We need this on screen.’ And it’s funny, I think even now that I’m remembering the moment, it was intense. It was quite intense.
Have you always been a fan of police procedural drama?
I have, for ages. I love action. I love mystery. I love detectives. I like that thing when you just don’t see it, it is not all up in your face. It takes a process to find out what happened, oh, how did this happen? Who killed who? Yeah, I’ve always been a fan.
As an actor, what are those things that you look at to show your improvement given how good acting can be intangible?
I used to cringe when I saw myself on camera. I’ll probably watch it once and that’s it. ‘Crime and Justice Lagos’ is one of the shows that I have watched like 15 times, maybe 20 times now. And it’s not even been about the whole show because obviously, I was there when it was made. It’s about my performance. I just criticize myself every time I watch. It’s like, oh, maybe I should have said this way. Or maybe if I moved my hand this angle, or maybe if I have done this… so it’s like every time I watch, I take notes to make sure that I do better on the next one.
And I’ve noticed it has helped because from my first film to this one is like a trajectory that’s going upwards. And I’m grateful and happy about it. Also, I do a lot of research. I read books and watch a lot of YouTube videos. I register for masterclasses which are very important for me because knowledge is power. So I just try and get as much stuff on my head because it helps me grow. You can never stop learning. And every new project I get is a new learning curve for me because it’s different from the way I tried to learn about the characters, the people in the story, my emotions and the scenes. So it’s all added to a catalogue of whatever it is that I have in my brain.