Tony Umez opens up on his first pay in Nollywood, about filmmakers still owing him money – “I was to be paid N23,000”
The renowned thespian, who has been in the industry for about 30 years, opened up about a number of things including why he got into acting, his early experiences in the industry particularly when it comes to money, and how different the industry is today.
Narrating why he entered into the industry and when he finally started seeing money, Tony Umez said:
“MONEY IS WHAT GOT ME INTO ACTING IN THE FIRST PLACE. THE MODEL I HAD IN MY HEAD THEN WAS THE HOLLYWOOD MODEL WHERE YOU HEAR SOMEBODY MADE ABOUT $20 MILLION DOLLARS DOING ONE MOVIE AND I WAS LIKE “WHOA!”, IT WAS WONDERFUL TO ME, THERE WAS SERIOUS POTENTIAL.
THEN I ENTERED INTO NOLLYWOOD AND MY FIRST MOVIE, I PLAYED THE LEAD IN MY VERY FIRST MOVIE. I PLAYED CHIEF IKANGA AND I WAS TO BE PAID N23,000 BUT UP TILL TOMORROW, I’VE NOT BEEN PAID. SO MY REASON FOR VENTURING INTO THE MOVIE THING, I DIDN’T GET IT. I DID ONE OTHER MOVIE, I DON’T THINK I WAS PAID TOO. SO I FELT IT WASN’T AN INDUSTRY I WOULD SURVIVE IN SO I LEFT FOR ABOUT TWO YEARS. I WAS DOING PRIVATE TUTORING, I WAS MAKING SOME MONEY FROM THAT THAT KEPT ME GOING.
AFTER ABOUT 2 YEARS I CAME BACK AND DID THE MOVIE THE PRINCESS WHERE I STARRED ALONGSIDE ZACK ORJI BEFORE I HIT IT BIG WITH DIVERGENT AND THEY PAID ME FOR THAT ONE.”