Mike Ezuruonye, who made his acting debut with a lead role alongside an A-List cast, is yet to see anyone else who has had with his kind of growth in Nollywood
It's so easy to miss certain actors' debut on screen. But that wasn't the case with Mike Ezuruonye, who made his acting debut in 2003, in a movie which was never released.
"I don't know what happened with the sponsors," Ezuronye said to Pulse Nigeria during an exclusive chat.
Nevertheless, the actor did have a rare bright start in the Nigerian movie industry. For his first official debut, he took up a lead role in the star-studded movie titled "Broken Marriage."
"My growth in Nollywood; I'm yet to see who it has happened to. Because in my second film, I was already known, and that was "Broken Marriage," he said.
"I was on set with heavyweights like Pete Edochie, Chioma Chukwuka and Patience Ozokwor. I have always been lucky."
The movie which explored domestic violence in marriages, saw him take up the character Fred; a husband with anger issues.
Ezuruonye was phenomenal in the role which would kick off his journey to becoming a household name.
For his next movie, the actor played Victor, a paralysed man who was at risk of losing his girlfriend to a wealthy artist.
It was a big production, written by the stellar Emem Isong for Remmy Jes Production.
"Then in the next movie that I did, which was my commercial standpoint of success as an actor was "Critical Decision," the actor said.
"And there I was, an unknown actor and I was cast as the lead alongside heavyweights like Genevieve Nnaji, Stephanie Linus and RMD."
Comparing his growth and journey to the famous Cinderella tale, the actor doesn't leave out the role his passion for his craft played in his growth.
"But, I've always had my passion going," he said.
It's natural for actors to have that one film and character which fans can't seem to let go for. But for Ezuruonye, he doesn't have any particular one.
"People call me many names. Maybe because I'm an actor who has done different genres of movies. Like, I was walking in here [Pulse office] and someone called me Brother Jekwu," the actor said.
"It gives me a sense of fulfilment of some sort; I have not been boxed into a corner as regards to any name. People still know me as Mike Ezuruonye, but once a movie registers in their head, they just can't let it go."
14 years after he made his acting debut, the actor has gone on to become a filmmaker. Sharing his upcoming projects, Ezuruonye revealed that he is making his directorial debut.
"It's called "Divorce? not Allowed." It's a romantic comedy," he said.
Mike Ezuruonye isn't a fan of buffoonery, so he is making a different kind of comedy.
"I'm not a fan of buffoonery. Even if it's comedy, it has to have a message to it, which is what we did with "Divorce? Not Allowed."
His other projects include a movie which would be shot in Poland, Lagos, Rivers and Cross Rivers State. He is also working on a movie which would depict the old Benin. The untitled movie would be shot in Ekpoma."
"So, quite a lot coming out and we are just taking it one step at a time,' Ezuruonye said.
The actor also talked about the success of comedy movies, what an award means to an actor and his five favourite movies of the last 10 years.