Though new to the Nigerian motion picture industry, Ralfeel Lor is a big star in his native country, Monrovia, Liberia.
Popularly known in Liberia and other African countries as ‘Obama’s Son,’ this actor is determined to make his mark in Nigeria and has remained very focused, loyal and committed since his arrival.
Set to give established Liberian stars like Frank Artus, Van Vicker, among others, a run for their money, Lor who just concluded his first ever movie (Breaking Free) on Chima Okoroji’s set in Asaba, speaks on his career.
Why are you in Nigeria?
I’m here to make movies with my chairman, Chima Okoroji. I just finished the first project which was successful. I am waiting and hoping to do the next one soon.
Have you done any movie before now?
This is the first one for me here in Nigeria but back in my country, I have done series of movies like Heartless Prince 1&2, Samaguan In Total Trouble (The Reloaded), The Device, The Blue Lake (and) The Dragons. I did a movie in Sierra Leone stars, ‘Dolly Twins,’… did a film in Guinea, ‘Tears of Emotions,’ among others.
I feel that with the help of my director, Chima Okoroji, I can penetrate Nigeria with my acting career because that is my passion and I want the world to know me. I don’t want to do movies in my country alone but what is in me should be shown to the public.
Do you know actor, Frank Artus, another Liberian who is doing well here in Nigeria?
Yes I know him; he is my brother and friend. I interacted with him on several occasions along with Van Vicker, Eddie Watson who are Liberians also. We interact regularly. We had a national movie award and they all came down to Liberia for same.
I want to join them here. I want them to know that I can work harder and maybe even more than them because that is my stepping stone. I want the world to know me more than them.
What is unique about you?
I have seen a lot of things they have done on screen – that is photocopying of character of one another. For example, in a movie with Michael Majid, Artus was 100% trying to copy Ghana style. I tell you I have different styles. The only thing is for a good director to see it in me, give me a character to portray. You will get the best out of me. There are certain secrets within me that a good director will spot. That is what brought Mercy Johnson to limelight and other top actors. There are different skills in acting and it takes a thoroughbred director to see that.
So you came all the way from Liberia to shoot this project?
Yes I came from Monrovia and my experience has been great working with one of the recent high definition cameras, black magic. I was happy with my crew, the make-up, those in charge of food and the rest. I felt I can do more than that. At first I thought that since I just came in, I have to understand what is going on but when I hit the second scene, I thought I could have done better in the first scene.
I knew all actors are just the same, it’s just a matter of time and experience.
Going by your experience, what is the difference between the movie industry in Nigeria and Liberia?
There is a very great challenge. Liberia is a country that is not getting into film yet though we are making movies, we do not have the experience, the technical know-how, among others. We have a lot to learn in directing. What I have learnt here will be impacted to actors and directors in my country because I am part of those organisations. I understand that here, movie making is food for everybody. It’s like office work when you get up in the morning, you get dressed and head for work but in Liberia it is not like that. We are still striving to get there. Artistic fee here is higher than that of Liberia though we are achieving things a little but it is not equal to Nigeria. Nigeria is a super power when it comes to movie making.
If you have more opportunities, will you continue acting in Nigeria?
That is my wish… my prayer. If I have more opportunities, I will work in Nigeria than even going back to Liberia but I will still represent Liberia because that is my dream not to forsake my country. I will work in Nigeria a 100%, but I still stand as a Liberian.
Since you have fallen in love with Nigeria, would you marry a Nigerian?
Yes, probably if I find a suitable wife, but I don’t want to talk about my personal life now.
What are your hobbies?
I sit with my director, he buys me a bottle of stout and I drink, that’s enough. I also love playing football, volleyball aside acting. That is what I like the most.
What is your relationship with other Liberian actors here in Nigeria?
They are already established because they started early. They fought their way to make their own marks like I am doing now. I came here to fight my way and I don’t know if my director finds me right or wrong but I hope he calls me back and by God’s grace and I know God knows why I came here, I will be established. It’s just a matter of time. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. I know I will hit the mark.
What is the title of this movie you were in Asaba to shoot and what role did you play?
I saw the movie’s name on the script, ‘Breaking Cold.’ I played the lead role. The movie is centered round a character called Tona. He is crippled and I played that role.
How come you came from Liberia for the first time and took a lead role?
That is what I call opportunity cost. I have been talking about my director everywhere. He is a special person to me. Even when I get to a higher peak, I will not forget him, because he has been like a grassroots mentor who has dirty stones among stones and raised it up and now I’m in this position. I will say that this director is great because it takes a man to give you a lead role that hasn’t seen you play a role before, or even watched your movie. That is why I gave him a flower while he is still alive to say thank you and salute my director always.