Florence Johnson might have hit the big screen late when she took up her first big role in Finding Goodluck but as a theatre arts graduate of the University of Ibadan, Flo-Joh as she is fondly called by friends has been part of several productions both on stage and screen.
Her stage exploits include Kongi Harvest, by Wole Soyinka, No More Wasted Breed by Ola Rotimi, among many others but her pigeon is Tv series where she has featured in popular ones like, So Wrong, So Wright, Papa Ajasco, Eldorado, to mention a few. Here, she bares it all on her career, marriage plans and other things that make her tick. Excerpts:
What has been happening to you lately. It seems you have dumped acting?
No, I haven’t dumped acting, we are two inseparable lovers. Though, I’ve been busy doing other things and planning to float my own production.
You mean like producing your own films? It seems that is the trend nowadays?
(Laughs) I don’t know about the trend but yes, I’m planning to produce my own movie.
You know they say its all about sex and violence these days: do you subscribe to injection of soft-porn or sensual scenes into your films. Some say it makes it real and more marketable?
Well, as much as I believe in making a film real, I don’t believe in porn movies, it’s not in our culture. There are so many ways to make a film believable without having to go all porno. Do you have to do a porn film to make it marketable? Hell no! There are lots of good movies out there now that don’t even involve sex scenes and they are breaking grounds and box offices.
As a sexy actress, you must have used your sexuality in movies before. You are well known for your sexy bust: haven’t you used this gift to good effect in movies before?
(Laughs) I get you now…. I don’t believe in nudity, it’s not my thing. Of course, I can be sexy in a movie but going nude or exposing my boobs to cameras, that’s not the only thing I have. I’m not one of the actresses that you see their body (nude), to get famous, my talent is enough for me. My sexy body is secondary.
Are you married? I don’t think I have heard of your being married?
No, I am still very much single.
Most Nollywood women are guilty of marrying late or not marrying at all. Why is this?
I don’t know about that, it’s an individual thing and I don’t think it’s a Nollywood thing. Marriage to me, is not a rush-rush thing or a trend to follow, it’s an institution you must enter and pass. I don’t believe in divorce, so, I have to take my time for the right man who believes in my own policy to come along.
But seriously, is it that the guys don’t come or you have set high standards for yourself?
(Laughs) Would you see me like this and say guys don’t come my way? It’s not a brag, I get tired sometimes seeing guys trying to woo me, even though, I know most of them might not be with good intentions. But of course, I have my own standards when it comes to men. The man must first of all, support my career and share my own views about marriage.
What are your views of marriage: isn’t all about sacrifice?
I think it’s more than sacrifice. Yes, sacrifice is one of the many keys to successful marriage but to me, I consider trust and understanding as the main key factors.
I know what works for most women: maybe the right rich guy hasn’t come along. You wouldn’t want to marry a poor man, would you?
I am not particular about super rich dudes and of course I can never marry a poor man because I’m not poor and a poor man is a violent man. If he’s got a consistent job and doing averagely okay, that’s fine by me, we can take it up from there and build our own empire together.
Have you ever had a relationship within the industry and would you consider marrying a fellow entertainer?
No, I haven’t dated anybody in the industry. It will be a bit difficult to marry a fellow entertainer because the stress will be too much on us. But I am not ruling it out.
Have you ever been embarrassed by your big boobs or would you say it has helped in your career?
No, I haven’t and I don’t know about it helping me in my career. But when I got the role in the movie Finding Goodluck by Shan George, she said she wanted a Mercy Johnson’s look-alike. And with my colour and physique, I fit into the role. But then I finally got the role with my interpretation. So it’s not all about the physique
What do you first consider before you take up a job and have you ever had to reject a role because of the script?
I consider how the script is written and what impact it will make in my life and society. How challenging it is for me to interpret it. Yes, I have turned down a script because it was full of vulgar languages and the story makes no meaning to me at all.
What has been your most challenging role ever and why was it so challenging?
I’d say the movie Finding Goodluck. It was quite challenging playing the role of a First Lady. I am not even married, so it was a bit difficult for me to know how a married woman with kids behave, let alone, being the First Lady of a State. And playing along an A-list actor like Kalu Ikeagwu made it all the more difficult. I was fidgeting when we were reading our lines together but he calmed me down and helped me got through it without intimidating me. And then, the director David Uro helped me a lot too. It was really difficult for me at first because that was my first major movie.
What was your first movie and how did you get it?
It is still Finding Goodluck. When I got the call I discussed it with my friend and she encouraged me to go. So I flew to Calabar the third day and after reading the script in front of Shan and the director, Shan just said: ‘yes, this is the person I want’. And that was how I got the script.
Finding Goodluck was my first movie but I had done so many TV series before then.
I was contacted by a production manager whom I worked with previously that Shan George needed an upcoming actor that looks like Mercy Johnson and can act very well. Shan later called me herself and asked me few questions and later asked if I could come to Calabar for audition. I was really not too sure about going to Calabar from Lagos for audition so I told her I would get back to her. I was in Calabar for almost one month shooting the movie.
How would you compare shooting TV series to home videos; compare the experiences
There is no much of a difference. It’s just that when you’re too involved with TV series, it somehow limits your chances of getting movie roles. But they are both fun in their own ways. But I would say I enjoy real movie than TV series. It’s a faster way of getting exposure
Please tell me how you came into acting and what influenced your decision ?
I studied theatre arts in the University of Ibadan and I just want to follow my line of study and that’s how acting started for me. I started going for auditions after I finished from school and I have been on the road since then.