Nollywood is struggling to produce a 2017 breakout star and this is because they are still recycling actors.
It's 2017, and eight months in, the industry is yet to spawn a breakout star. None of the few amazing movies of the year has provided breakout roles or revealed a new crop of talented actors.
While the Nigerian film industry is currently on the rise, their movies still see the same few landing the lead roles. You can barely see a Nigerian movie without spotting the same faces. Not on Africa Magic and definitely not in the cinema.
The absence of a breakout star simply highlights several harsh realities; there aren't many actors to choose from and there are not a lot of risk taking filmmakers.
You probably won't blame filmmakers who refuse to take the risk. Money has to be made and the Nigerian audience hasn't shown much interest in spending their money or time on movies that feature unknown actors.
There is also the current cinema fear of unknown faces. Most cinemas want a star-studded movie that will 'make money.'
A filmmaker once shared his experience with a particular cinema house which refused to screen his movie because it had no familiar face.
They finally accepted his movie two weeks after its official release, after they found out that it was having a 'successful' run in other cinemas.
It's just a tough industry.
The major reason why we haven't seen any breakout star this 2017, is because the already 'established' actors are still leading every movie. The newbies or up and coming acts aren't given the opportunity they need to actually 'blow.'
There are just very few filmmakers taking that risk and working towards creating stars. Africa Magic's original series "Battleground" and "Jemeji" feature veterans alongside up and coming actor and newbies.
In its early years, "Tinsel" featured newbies that have now grown to become assets in Nollywood.
Biola Alabi's "Banana Island Ghost" features Chigul and Patrick Diabuah as first time lead actors. Of course, the movie has strong supporting cast that includes Uche Jombo, Ali Nuhu, Saidi Balogun and Bimbo Manuel.
With the new marketing techniques that exist in Nollywood, the movie should be a success and at the same time, introduce Diabuah to a wider audience. Maybe, he just may become the breakout star of 2017.
MTV "Shuga" will soon return for a new season, and maybe, it will come with fresh talents that would be noticed by filmmakers who are truly on the lookout for real talents.
In defence of filmmakers who recycle actors, they are probably just comfortable working with actors they are familiar with.
But then, how will the industry grow? Or is this growth just all about the money and box office numbers?
There are several upcoming movies expected to premiere before the year runs out, hopefully, a new star will emerge from them.