Nigerian Movie Star Profile

Zack Orji

Some call you Zach Orji, others Zack Orji.  What are your real names?

I was born Zachee Ama Orji in Libreville, Gabon. However, most people call me Zack.

When ever we talk about actors it looks like they have always been actors. What is your background before acting- education, experience etc

I hold a B.Sc. (Hons) Estate Management degree from the University of  Nigeria, Nsukka.  I graduated in 1984.


Apart from Gabon and my fatherland Nigeria, my formative years; primary and secondary education were in Cameroon, Benin and Togo where I attended both French and English schools.  This accounts for my being bilingual.  Before becoming an actor, I used to design and make aquariums for sale and on order.


Fine Arts was where I made one of my best grades in secondary school.  The aquanum market was dull so I moved on to shoes.  Back in my secondary school my principal used to call me an all-rounder.  I was senior prefect, I was speaker in senior debates, I was in the dramatic society, I was school champion in shot putt and discus; state champion in shot putt (1978) and went on to represent my state nationally



You must be a unique Nigerian actor since you speak French fluently. Have you thought about acting in French?



I would like to act in French. In August 2002, I was in Kinshasa, Congo where alongside my Congolese colleagues; I did a 5-minute promo in French for Vodacom to promote their short mail service in that country.


Nigerian Movies have become de facto Africa's popular movies. How do you see this evolving?

I see the role of Nigerian movies as a pioneering one. Other sister African Nations will follow our footsteps and begin to do their own homegrown movies.


There will be more collaborations than we have already done with Ghana, South Africa, Cameroon and Sierra Leone, transcending language barriers.


Which are your all time favorite foreign and African Films?

a. Guess who’s coming to Dinner
b. The Good The Bad and The Ugly
c. Sound of Music
d. Sarafina
e. The Unforgiven Sin
f. Tenterhooks
g. Web
h. Return To Kazondia
i. Games Women Play
j. All my Life



What is your take on Films made on celluloid and Filmmakers like Sembene Ousmane or Basek Bakobio?


Nothing compares to the big screen. It is awesome, it captivates and it is the ultimate created world. My recollections of the big screen, watching movies like “The Good, the bad and the Ugly”, in my very early teens, are still very much vivid. Celluloid gives you the “feel” of the big screen.


However, recent breakthroughs in digital technology have given birth to digital video cameras with very high definition. You can shoot your films with these high definition cameras and watch them on wide screens, enjoying the same picture resolutions.


George Lucas used such high def cameras and said “I will never shoot another film on film”. Filmmakers like Sembene Ousmane or Basek Bakobio are torchbearers who have inspired a lot of Africans and people of black descent. They have made indelible marks and therefore occupy a pride of place. However, we must strive to traverse their footprints and leave something behind, in order to build up on their foundations

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