It was difficult and very challenging – Genevieve Nnaji speaks on director-actor role in ‘LionHeart’

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Nollywood star, Genevieve Nnaji has described as “difficult and very challenging” playing two different roles – directing and acting – in her directorial debut, ‘Lionheart’.

Having enjoyed over two decades as one of the most popular and successful actresses in the industry, Nnaji decided to direct ‘Lionheart’, a movie which has received positive reviews from both stakeholders and movie enthusiast. 

Speaking about her transition from actress to director, Nnaji said she wanted to be a storyteller. 

“I believe the right story and intent called for it,” she says. “I was ready to become a storyteller beyond portraying a singular character. The only way to fully share the vision I had was getting behind the camera lens, and I look forward to sharing more.”

In her quest to accomplish that mission, Nnaji says she was worried and her worry was about being in two places at the same time. 

She says: “As an actor, you get on set at your call time and leave when you wrap your shoot for the day. As a director, you are first in and last out. I had to stay up long enough to go through the rushes of the day as well as plan out the scenes for next day’s shoot. It was difficult and very challenging, but with sheer determination and tenacity, as well as a very efficient crew, Lionheart was made.”

‘Lion Heart’ captures the challenges of a female in a male-dominated industry. It tells the story of Adaeze, a young lady who steps up to the challenge when her father, Ernest Obiagu, is forced to take a step back from his company due to health issues.

The movie which stars Genevieve Nnaji, Peter Okoye, Nkem Owoh, Pete Edochie and Onyeka Onwenu was first screened at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.
This was hours after Netflix acquired the movie.

Nnaji says the idea of Lionheart came from her “desire and hunger to shed light, and to speak the truth of what it’s like to be a young [woman]trying to make it in a world that is dominated by men.”

She adds that ”it was equally important to me that the movie was light-hearted and warm, so the environment in which it was told was crucial as well.”

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