- Nollywood actor Jimmy Odukoya gives an insight into what it was like working on the same set with Hollywood Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis
- He also revealed how he got the lead role of Oba Ade of the Oyo Empire in the new movie The Woman King via his DM on Instagram
- Jimmy shares why he adopted the name Oba Ade in the movie, changing it from the original one written in his script
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Jimmy Odukoya is a young Nollywood actor born Olujimi Othniel Odukoya to famous Nigerian clerics Bimbo Odukoya, his mum and Taiwo Odukoya.
PJ, as he is fondly called, recently spoke with Legit.ng's head of the Entertainment desk, Sola Sanusi, on his experience working on the same set with the Emmys and Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis in The Woman King.
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He also revealed how he got his role in the epic blockbuster during the interview. Read on to get more juicy details about Jimmy Odukoya's debut experience working in Hollywood:
It all started with a DM
"First of all, I will just say it was God. It started with a DM in my Instagram then asking about an international role, to doing auditions, having no idea what I was auditioning for, sending headshots and resumes. And then finally, doing tests for stunts, for horse riding, you know, I did a live audition with the director. And finally, after many weeks of back and forth, I got the role."
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My dedication to fitness and physical training helped me get the role
Jimmy, during the chat, also revealed that his background in fitness and heavy training helped put him in the right stead to get the role in the movie. He said:
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"Oh, absolutely. A lot of times people would ask me like, what are you working out for? Why are you training like you're going to war? You know, because I was always doing very heavy training. And definitely when this character came all of that definitely paid off because I was what they were looking for physically. And as far as even training on set and all of that stuff, my background in fitness definitely helped me."
Working on an African story shot in Hollywood gave me a huge sense of pride
PJ also revealed that he was the one who renamed his character Oba Ade, noting that the name given to his character before taking the role was Okia Abua. He said he spoke with the director that if that name was used, Nigerians and Yorubas would not forgive him, especially knowing that he is a Yoruba man; it just couldn't slide.
It was a sense of pride. You know, we're shooting in South Africa, we're shooting in the motherland. You know, my character was a Yoruba man. So it was very, very special for me to be able to play that character and bring it to life and make sure that we are represented accurately.
He continued revealing how he changed the name of his character:
One of the things that I did on set was change my character's name because his name originally was not a Yoruba name. And I said, my people and myself will not forgive me if we allow this to slide, you know. A Yoruba man cannot be called Okia Abua, who is that? So I switched it to Oba Ade something short and simple. And it was just a great experience, you know, to see our culture on display.
Jimmy also spoke about the pride he felt seeing black women portrayed in a position of power in a Hollywood movie, and not the usual narrative of them being oppressed, maltreated, villains or treated as second-class citizens.
To see black women in positions of power because most of the times when Hollywood stories are told, black women are either the victims, the ones been abused. But these are dark skinned women in positions of strength, which I think is a very important message for even the younger generations growing up to see that it's possible to see the strength. And to think that this woman actually existed will also make people curious about our history and to know where we've come from. To see these women fighting against people with muskets, and they actually did that, it is a thing to talk about. Their bravery was on another level and just the strength of womanhood, so I think it was a special thing to be a part of that experience and to be part of that cast.
My first time on the set of The Woman King and how it felt like working with Viola Davis
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This was my first time meeting, Viola Davis it was a bit surreal. In excitement, I called her Viola Freaking Davis, I was like oh ma'am, sorry, but yeah! Viola Freaking Davis, because that's how I call her. It was humbling. It was beautiful to see her dedication, her humility, her drive. She's won it all, and yet she's still hungry. She's in her 50s doing physically strenuous stuff, she trained with all of us. She never took days off, she was part of all our training routine, the fights and sequences everything, she partook from start to finish.
It was great just to sit and have a conversation with her. And also to meet my other cast members, it was interesting, the people that I had seen, you know, on social media, I was looking at them right there, the camaraderie and the conversation. It was great.
Jimmy Odukoya shares his first day on a Hollywood set
The youth pastor, Jimmy, narrates being nervous and having to work with over 1000 people on the movie set on his first day. You can feel the excitement in his voice:
I remember my first day on set, you know, I was the only major lead on set and I was doing my first scene. I get on set and saw almost a 1000 people, it was huge. And my horses were there . They told me I will say this, I will say that, they're telling me my cues, and I'm looking around thinking Jesus! You know, I said I've acted in over 100 movies and I've never felt nervous, this is a lot. I'm on set and people are following me around, Oba on the move, Oba coming, they're bringing me my props, my sword, they bringing me my horse or bringing me my turban, the actors giving me cues; you get off you look here, circle through six emotions, then walk. And I'm like, okay, I can do this, Lord help me. But once we started, I just got more comfortable in it and it was great. It definitely was an humbling experience, to say the least, it was great.
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Jimmy Odukoya vs John Boyega: Two Naija boys, the same scene in a Hollywood movie
Jimmy also spoke about what it was like working with John Boyega on the same set. He revealed the inspiration behind the famous viral scene of himself and Boyega locked in a face-off battle of the wits.
"I was so excited, first of all, two Nigerian boys then two Yoruba boys, you know what I mean? That Yoruba swag, you see me, I see you and we were trying to oppress each other.
He further explained the scene and why it was a special moment for him
It was a faceoff, you know, he's the king and I'm the general representing the Alaafin of Oyo. So you know, that thing of oya show yourself. Yeah. It was, great to spar with him, just it was so exciting because this is my Yoruba brother my Nigerian brother as well. And I hadn't met him before, but once I met him, we just clicked. John is like my younger brother, now. It's just fantastic to have the experience with him. I really enjoyed playing that scene."
Nollywood's Jimmy Odukoya fights dirty with Viola Davis in a thrilling scene from the movie, The Woman King
Meanwhile, Legit.ng recalls recently reporting when Nollywood's Jimmy Odukoya received accolades from the Nigerian online community following a viral fight scene of himself and American actress Viola Davis.
The actor who stars in the upcoming Hollywood African historical epic movie, The Woman King, shared a teaser from the film on his official Instagram page.
Odukoya was spotted in a heated fight scene with iconic actress Viola Davis, who equally plays a lead role in the movie.