Business Administration graduate of University of Lagos turned actor, Yomi Fash Lanso, no doubt has been able to carve a niche for himself as a thespian, and the father of three is no way showing any sign of tiredness. In the bid to find out the secret of his success, Fash Lanso in an interview session with Wole Adepoju opened up on his strength, he also spoke about his fame, women and more interesting issues. Excerpts
You recently won best actor of the year award, how do you feel about it?
I really feel elevated because it’s a prestigious awards and because it is coming from a reputable magazine company, Global News magazine. I really feel good about it because even to be nominated is worth celebrating not to talk of winning it.
Awards have generated controversy at different times, what is your opinion of Nigerian awards?
Thank you. My opinion is this. Who are the judges that make decision at awards? What relationship do they have with the actors? I think it’s simple, lets have credible people who are knowledgeable about acting, those who are authorities, let them decide and our awards will be better.
With your contribution to the entertainment industry is there any award you are still looking at?
Out of the roles you have played, which one do you consider most difficult?
No role that comes to me that is not challenging. I don’t see any role as more tasking and may be it is the approach to my character. For instance, as a lover boy you must be able to provide some characteristics to the name that will make it different from the one you have done before. That is the way I see it. So no role that comes to me is cheap. I take every role I get very seriously.
Is it true that you get roles regularly because you take any amount of money you are given because I know of an actor who claims he’s been off the scene because he would not take stipends?
I don’t know if that actor does something else because what I know is that if you are good at what you do, people will come for you. If you are good they will give you whatever you ask for. When I started this revolution of taking higher fee some years back, some actors were like Fash, they won’t call you again because of the price you are talking. And I said it was okay that those who know my worth will come for me. And I can tell you for about six months they did not show face or request for my services because of the fee. But in the long run, they started coming back because they know I can deliver. I started the banking thing too, by telling whoever needs my service to go and pay into my bank account. Now I came up with agreement form so everything I do will be documented… I want to know how much you are offering, for what job, what is the duration and all that. If you are not good those are things you can’t do. So I will advise that actor to go and get his game right.
Are saying you are relevant because you are good?
(Smiles) let me tell you what Kush (a marketer) said sometime ago at the burial of Alaasari in Abeokuta. He said I don’t know what else this Yomi Fash does because his fee is high and he will still shakara with his high fee and he’s not producing. He said it. So if Fash can be living comfortably…I have my children at one of the best schools in Nigeria, I have a very good wife, I wear the kind of cloth I want to wear, I do whatever I want to do at my convenience…Allahmudidilahi…and I am not doing any other job aside from acting. So that means I don’t come cheap because if I am cheap I can’t live at where I live, I can’t have my children at one of the most expensive schools in Nigeria, three of them for that matter.
From your utterances it is obvious that there is a problem in the Yoruba Movie that needs to be fixed even if you say you are not affected?
It is not peculiar to the Yoruba alone. It’s everywhere. Let me give you an insight. Some years ago marketers sprang up that they were not going to be giving some English actors the fee they demand that it was too much, and it was their colleagues who were supporting the marketers, and now those betrayals are now paying for it. Meanwhile, if we have standard rules, structure on ground, it would be better because as a marketer you do not have any right to dictate what the actor earns. If an actor tells you to bring five million for a job, and you cannot afford it, then you look for one who will collect one million and not to call for his head. So it is not an issue that is peculiar with the Yoruba alone, it’s a general thing that should be addressed.
Why have you not produced a movie after many years as a director and frontline actor?
Let me start by saying I am someone who love to achieve so much, I believe I should excel in one area before crossing to the other area. We have a number of arms in film producing, script writing, producing, directing and so on. I am a director and actor, but I keep telling people that you cannot excel as a producer, if you know nothing about producing. I have my certificate as a producer from ITPAN eight years ago, and yet I have not produced up till now because I want to prove something, and lay a good example that without producing you can excel, if you know your onions and you are good at what you do. So my argument is excel in one thing before crossing to the other, which I have done.
What did you set out to achieve as an actor?
One is to project my culture as a Nigerian and to make money. That is the truth. It is called showbiz, so possibly I want to project my culture, my country, my kind of person…who we are in this part of the world to outside world, and from there I make money.
When you are paired on set, what is it that brings the best out of you?
It’s simple. When you are working with a professional actor you will flow, the thing will come out but when you are paired with a green horn it kills your mood.
Who really is Yomi Fash when he’s not acting?
Fash is really a fun loving person. I like to be with my friends to discuss and forget about all the Wahala of life. I also like to spend time with my family when I am not on set. I want to believe he’s just the guy next door. I am a very shy person so I like to keep my head cool, and I try to be nice to people because I love and I don’t like having enemies.
But some are of the opinion that you are arrogant?
That accusation is not new to me but even you Wole, (the interviewer) can testify to it that I am not like that just the way so many other people can testify. Look at where I am now…if I am not working I could decide to stay in my house but I know I have got people that are my own, so that is why you see me here. If I was arrogant I won’t be doing so. The problem with those who think I am arrogant is that they are not close to me, they don’t know me very well so they will just jump into conclusion. I try as much as possible to be nice to my admirers, even when my mood is not too bright but they don’t realize that….some of them want you to idolize them claiming they are the one that buy your film. So they expect so much forgetting we too are peoples’ husbands, wives and so we deserve some respect. You can imagine a scenario where someone meets you at a bar, and he paid for your order and this person now sees you else where tomorrow and he goes like hey Fash…come…ordering you because he paid for your drink or something….do you understand? It is not that you don’t have the money but he volunteered.
You have been able to live off scandal, how have you sustained it?
I will say it is contentment because when you have contentment you have everything. And secondly, you don’t allow fame to get into your head because by the time you allow fame to control you, or get into your head then it could spell doom.
How comfortable would you say your wife with the fact that you get lot of female attention?
I must tell you that she’s just about seventy percent comfortable but I pray and hope she will be one hundred percent comfortable in the next two or three years. You know because of things she hears and reads in the paper….you know when she reads that actor A or actress B that you are close with was caught doing this or that, it is only normal for her to want to start suspecting and all that because she’s human. She’s also aware that the attention is always there from the women, though, I am not insinuating the women want to date you but it’s only normal for her to be jittery at times. And mind you, the moment your spouse begins to be careless or feels not interested in your affair then there is problem. But all the same my wife is a wonderful woman that I adore, respect and love so much.
What do you do when your mood is bad and you are expected to go on set?
You might be dull and you need to go on set, it happens but if you work with a professional producer, he will notice and the production manager will come to you and sometimes they might suspend your et and take another one while you get over it. And at times, you subdue it, and move on. In my case I put aside my dull moment when I’m going on set and pick it when I am done.
Do you get carried away acting romantic roles?
That will be very unprofessional of me. In fact, it will not happen to a normal person…apologies for that. But sincerely, it cannot happen to me because we have the camera men that will be there, D.O.P, director and the rest, so you only act and get off.
What is usually your wife’s reaction when she sees a scene in a movie where you are involved in a romance?
Hm….before now, she would say Yomi see how you kissed that babe and all that. But she now handles such with much maturity. She now understands better.
You are a fashionable person. Where did you get that from?
First, I will say DNA, may be I got that from my father and my mother. And I think I am also very interested in what I wear…I may not be keen on designer but whatever that fits me.
Politics seems to be one of the in-thing among actors, do you see yourself considering it someday?
I would not rule it out because if we keep saying they don’t do it right, and you and I have got one or two ideas…then why don’t we try to get there, and inject these ideas and make the country a better place. One thing l know is that this country is in bad shape even with all the natural resources we are blessed with.