Chike Okonkwo is a British-Nigerian actor who plays Will in the Nate Parker's Oscar contender "Birth of a Nation."
During an exclusive interview, the actor who is a UK-born Nigerian but resides in United States of America, spoke about the movie "Birth of a Nation," how he got his role, his experience working with Nate Parker, his favourite character and how the movie changed his perceptive.
He also spoke on his exposure to the Nigerian film industry Nollywood, the Nigerian culture and more.
On how he got his role as Will in the movie, the actor said, "I didn't audition for the scripts. This one was all about Nate Parker. Nate wrote it, directed, produced and starred in the movie as Nat Turner, and Nate is a guy I have met occasionally through my stay in LA through a friend of mine."
"He is a very instinctive guy. So, we were at our mutual friend's birthday - David Oyelowo, and Nate was like 'you know what? I have a script and this part is perfect for you.' And we got it done."
On his experience working with Nate Parke,r Okonkwo said, "honestly, working with Nate was one of the most compelling experiences of my career."
"Not only is he a great leader, he follows through with what he says he would do. He encompasses everyone. Whether you are a PA on set, or you are the producer or the person who is giving million of dollars to film, he is the same with everyone."
Speaking on his exposure to the Nigerian culture, the "Birth of a Nation" actor said, "One thing I have realized recently is that a Nigerian house is a Nigerian house. whether you're in Lagos or in a village in Onitsha where I am from, every home is the same."
"They feel the same, they look the same, the food is the same, the pictures on the wall is the same. The answer is I grew up in Lagos even though I grew up in London," Okonkwo added.
Advising upcoming actors, the filmmaker said, "a few things. First of all, perseverance is important. If I know anything about Nigerian people, it's that we persevere."
"You're gonna find that they are many more Nos than yeses. You have to just keep going because you know in your heart that the yes is there."
"The community is important. When I moved to Los Angeles, I had friends who were from the UK, who worked the same part as I did. And then I also had peers, people I looked up to, like David Oyelowo, who is Nigerian and British like me. It was important that I was able to connect with those people."
Chike Okonkwo's other movies include "The Last Jazzman," "Shoot the Messenger," "Derailed," "Knock-off" among others.