“Alvin, session is about to resume”, “Alvin, we need you here”, “One minute please Alvin.” The crew members at the Kasanova set, on Saturday, January 26, 2019 kept coming to grab Abayomi Alvin’s attention – causing intermissions in our chat. I would have preferred an interview without cut-ins and without breaks, but it turned out to be an experience of note. Seeing how many different things he had to attend to, exposed me to what it is like being an actor on set – it was my first and still my only experience yet.
For Abayomi, expectedly, it was the usual. He was well aware of the rush in activities at the location. He had the costume for the movie on – body-hug and unzipped hoodie, denim trouser, with boots on his feet; the whole look was blue and college-boy-like – as we discussed. It is most certainly another ladies’ man, student role like Austin in the hugely popular Jenifa’s Diaries – a role he played so convincingly that people often forget he played a second, different, role in the same series.
The sweetness of the Austin character has been fused into the Alvin’s acting image, which has seen him star as a cheerful, bubbly person in Isoken; the nerdy and naïve boy in Girl Next Door; Mentally’s good-natured Kpoi-kpoi. Surprisingly, it is the hard-fighting Hollywood characters played by the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rambo, Sylvester Stallone, Van Damme, Jackie Chan that sparked the fire of acting in him. “Watching people like those growing up made me want to be on TV”. Isn’t it ironic?
In all of his acts, his role in the well-rated action thriller, Knock Out Blessing (KOB), makes the best case for his versatility; playing the act of a minor antagonist in the movie – a privileged village bully – is perhaps his closest to being an Arnold or a Rambo, although I can’t remember Van Damme ever getting whooped by a lady. Alvin admitted that the role was challenging – in an exciting way: “I don’t think I have ever played something like that before. It is quite different from the roles I have played before. It is always good for an actor to take up new, untried roles. When I heard about the role, I liked it almost immediately”.
Jim Dale once said, “good acting is consistency of performance” and it applies to Alvin. His success at personating Akin has confirmed his as a good actor, particularly in the eyes of filmmakers. “I was on set the other day and one of the directors told me, ‘nice one in Knock Out Blessing’”. It is a similar scene in his Instagram DM and with fans who approach him, a lot of times, at cinemas. “People like it, even though they hate the character. They like the fact that I could pull it off”.
Yet, “characters that do bad things for good reasons” are his personal favourite. “Preferably a protagonist.” Like Blessing in KOB who had to rob people using her knockout skill, so as to reach her target, and her father’s dream of her participating in a major boxing tournament. It is no surprise that he is open to even tasking and uneasy roles, “as long as the role moves the script forward”.
Not too long from the time of interview, he received a call to be part of the famous MNet Series: Tinsel. For Alvin, it is a sign that he has grown as an actor; and it means fulfilment for the young man whose first step in acting was auditioning to be part of Tinsel. “I was called to come and play one of the roles early this month”, he said to me. “My first audition (Tinsel) was not too bad but it was bad”. He didn’t get in but he left there with the inspiration that has fuelled his rise to the spot of recognition in Nollywood.
Admittedly, he did not wow the judges at his first Tinsel audition; in fact, his performance was far from great but he managed to impress one of the pickers who said, “under the right tutelage you will make a great actor.” The invitation to be on Tinsel, the recognition by City People Movie Awards, Nigerian Teen Choice Awards, African Entertainment Legends Awards, Nigerian Achievers Awards and others, tell that Abayomi Alvin Towase has been making career leaps.
This article was written by Ibironke Oluwatobi. He tweets via: @ibironketweets