WHY I CAN’T MARRY GENEVIEVE – FRANK ARTUS

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Since
he emerged on the Nigerian movie scene, barely two years ago, his soaring
profile has continuously kept tongues wagging. While many movie buffs have
fallen in love with his daring and scintillating roles interpretation skill,
others, especially his peers in Nollywood are seeing him as a threat – an
invader from ‘nowhere.’
Born by an Egyptian business father and a Liberian mother, Artus who many
mistake for a Ghanaian is currently the toast of movie producers and directors,
not just because of his skill, but also because of his guts and readiness to
act nude without giving a damn.   
“I can act any kind of role, even nude roles. I’ve acted nude scenes in about
three movies and I don’t see anything wrong with it. I’ve sold my soul to
acting. I can do anything to interpret a role,” the star actor of Mad Dog,
Heart of a Widow and  One Last Feeling affirmed.

In this hearty chat with Entertainment Express, the Human Resource graduate of
AME University, Monrovia, Liberia, speaks about his sojourn from Liberia to
Ghana and finally to Nigeria. Apart from sharing some of his long-held secrets,
Artus also opens up on why he can’t marry screen icon, Genevieve Nnaji, the
wowan after his heart.

Lots of Nigerians think you
are a Ghanaian; tell us everything about your background
My father is an Egyptian, while my mother is a Liberian. I was born in Egypt,
but I grew up in Liberia. We are three in number-one girl and two boys. My mum
is a Christian while my dad is a Moslem. In fact, my real name is Isa Artus.
Artus means light while Isa means ‘Jesus’. It was along the line that I changed
my name to Frank Artus.
At what age did you leave Egypt?
I relocated to Liberia when I was about 12-years-old. I lived in Tanama; I had
my education, both high school and University in Liberia. I studied Human
Resources in AME University, MonroviaI. I also have a Diploma in Computer
Engineering.
Tell us more about your growing up
My growing up was fantastic. I grew up as an introvert. I wasn’t the type that
played with friends. I was only comfortable playing with my toys, and my mum. I
was so shy to the extent of not being able to answer questions in the class.
I’m not from a poor background. Then, my mum was working with the United
Nations Development Programme [UNDP] while my father has always been an
international businessman. I think my childhood was fun, not as bad as some
people’s stories I’ve heard. Though I can’t say I was born with a silver spoon,
but I know I always had whatever I wanted.     
How did you find yourself in Nollywood?
It all started in 2009 when I went to Ghana. I went to Ghana with the sole aim
of joining the Ghana movie industry. While growing up, I had always had acting
in mind, even though I had lots of trainings and experiences in martial art.
The first movie I did that actually shot me to limelight was entitled Who Loves
me. And I can’t thank the person of Abdulsalam enough because he believed in me
and made sure I excelled in my chosen career. I was already established in
Ghana before I moved in to Nollywood. I think that is why most people think I’m
a Ghanaian. When I stepped into Nollywood, through the special grace of God my
impact was immediately felt.
Were your parents in support of your chosen career?
My parents gave me all the support I needed. All they needed from me was to
make a decision because I had opportunities of doing so many other things. My
mum wanted me to go into her area of job while my dad also wanted me to go into
his line of business. But I knew I wasn’t going to do any of those things. I
knew I loved acting; so when I told them what I wanted to do all they did was
to wish me well and give me the necessary support.
As a Liberian, what were the challenges you faced when you joined Nollywood?
The basic challenge I faced in Nollywood was my accent. So I was somehow denied
some roles because of my ascent. It didn’t discourage me; I just saw it as a
challenge that I would one day overcome. They say if a man speaks you know
where he’s from. If an American speaks, you would know he’s an American. The
same applies to a Chinese. Someone once called me and said; ‘Frank, we know you
are a Liberian, but you have to keep up with the fact that we do Ghanaian and
Nigerian films. We cannot give you a name like Kweku in Ghanaian film and you
start sounding like Adin from Liberia. You have to sound like Kweku. We cannot
give name you Chinedu in a Nigerian movie and you are still sounding like a
Liberian; you have to find a way of fitting in’. I tried as much as possible to
get rid of my Liberia accent. I thank God I was able to adjust along the line.
Lots of Nigerians see you as a fierce person. Who really is Frank Artus?
Artus is a simple, humble, intelligent, down to earth, and above all a God
fearing young man. The real me is contrary to what people see on the screen-I’m
not what you watch on screen. I try to do all these things on screen because
it’s what people like to see-it’s mere acting, and to us, it’s a business. It’s
not that I fancy romancing, kissing and things like that, I just have to do it
because it’s my job, it’s from there I earn my living. You see me being so
aggressive in movies, but the truth is that I can’t even hurt a fly in real
life. I remember when I was shooting Heart of a Widow, I had to stab someone
and I was doing it with so much aggression that you could see real tears
flowing down my face. Most times, when I shoot in Nigeria or Accra, people
would see me and scream ‘ah! See that wicked Ghanaian boy.”
How do you feel being mistaken for a Ghanaian?
I don’t think it’s something I should feel bad about. The truth is that the
story of my life would be incomplete without Ghana being mentioned. Ghana
really made me. I was easily accepted into Nollywood because of the name I had
already made Ghana. I was well treated when I was in Ghana, just as I’m being
treated currently in Nigeria. I think I really feel proud when people call me a
Ghanaian actor; I’m cool with it. I love Ghana, I love Nigeria, but I don’t
forget the fact that I’m from Liberia.
So how do you see Nigerian women?
Nigeria is blessed with beautiful women; beautiful in all ramifications, both
sexually and otherwise.
Compare them with Liberian women
It’s not something one should be comparing. You are bound to see beautiful
women in every country. There are ladies you see in Liberia and you would
scream ‘wow’. The same thing applies to every country.
Having romanced lots of Nigerian ladies, do you find them more sexually
appealing?
I’m not in Nigeria to romance women; I’m here to act. My job has always been my
priority. I’m not a womanizer and I don’t think I would love to be one. My
interest is on being a great actor.
 What do you think makes one a great actor?
Creativity is what distinguishes actors. When you are creative, you can always
improve; you can always pick up something from different actors and add to what
you already know. A creative actor knows how best to interpret a script and
make people see it as being real. No one ever rises to the top in acting
without being creative-so creativity makes a great actor.
What is the craziest thing a female fan has ever done to you?
A fan went as far as tattooing my name ‘Artus’ on her hand.
What about those wanting to have something intimate with you?
I can’t deny the fact that there are so many of them like that. It’s not strange.
Any girl could have a crush for any guy, so I don’t see it as something
strange.
So how have you been handling such situations?
Generally, I treat women with lots of cares. I make them understand why we
can’t have anything intimate. I have told so many that ‘I know you are in love
with me, but I just want us to be friends and nothing attached’. I’m not really
all about sex as so many people would want to believe. What I act is basically
different from the real me. Lots of people say I look sexy, of course I’ve to
continue doing all I can to look this way because of the nature of my job. I’m
not even romantic in real life.
Tell us about the recent nude scene you acted    
Yes, I had to go nude in that movie to perfectly interpret the role. I’ve sold
my soul to acting, so can practically do anything. I’ve said this before, I can
act nude as long as the storyline is good enough, and if the money is worth it.
I like perfection. For every movie I do, if it’s not perfect, it should at
least be close to perfection. As far as I’m concerned, acting is my life. I’ve
given all I have to acting. For instance, I can’t even remember when last I had
a sufficient night rest-sleep. Most times I go to bed by 3 0’clock and wake up
by 7am.
At a point rumours revolving around being gay trailed your paths; is there any
element of truth in those rumours?
No! There is nothing like that. I’ve never been a gay and I would never be one.
It baffles me how people could just come up with unnecessary allegations. I say
Holy Ghost fire to any one carrying such baseless rumour (Laughs).
How did you feel hearing the rumour?
I think the rumour started shortly after I played the character of a gay. That
was among the first films I did when I started my career in Nollywood. In fact,
it was in the first movie I acted alongside a Nollywood star. Probably, due to
how well I played the role, I started getting similar scripts. I have accepted
lots of gay roles, but that doesn’t in anyway make me a gay. Most times, my
interest is always on how good a script is. I can do anything on the screen,
but people should understand it’s just mere acting. To set the records
straight, I’m not into any form of homosexual acts.
Apart from smoking, what else do you do to enhance your acting skill?
Who told you I smoke? Honestly, I don’t take any hard drugs. A bottle of
Guinness is the highest I can take. I smoke cigarettes and I’m hoping to stop
it soon because of its health hazards.
Are you really as arrogant as most people think you are?
I think it’s just normal for people to have an opinion about any entertainer.
But the question is, how informed are those opinions? Those who say I’m pompous
and arrogant might not even have met me one on one! People that know me can
tell more about the real me. The answer to your question is that Artus is not
arrogant. From Liberia to Ghana, down to Nigeria, those that have met me will
tell you the real me.
You seem not to be talking about Egypt, your father’s land
I only spent my childhood in Egypt. The truth is that I’m known more in Liberia
than in Egypt. Liberians welcome me in a better way than the Egyptians. I can’t
deny I’m from Egypt, but I have so much respect for Liberia because that is my
motherland. You can’t imagine the kind of respect I’m accorded in Liberia-maybe
that is why you see me talking more about Liberia than Egypt.
Did you experience the much talked about Liberia war?
It was such a horrible period in the life of all Liberians. It was a war that
tore so many families apart. My family did everything possible to survive, but
not to the extent of picking or begging in the street. I won’t lie, it was such
a terrible period in our lives.
Were you in the battle field?    
      
Going into the battle field was a tough decision. Some people just decided on
their own to pick up guns and fight. Some were being advised to do so. As for
me, I was advised to stay back, I didn’t fight.
Share your most horrendous war experience with us
They are so many. Which do I share and which do I live? There was a day we went
out in search of food; we were three in number. We got the food, but on our way
back there was a missile bomb attack. Unfortunately, it was so severe that my
friends’ necks and intestines were cut and opened! I was the only one that
survived!
How did you cope with that trauma?
It was terrible, but at the end I got over it. The experience made me stronger
as a man.
How do you see Nigeria with all its security challenges? Do you think the
nation would go into another civil
war?                   
I don’t think Nigerians would ever contemplate going to war. Nigerians are too
exposed to be lured into war. I have lots of Igbo friends and from what I hear
they discuss, they can’t contemplate war. To Africans, Nigeria is our United
States…Nigeria has different nationalities, so with this different
nationalities, if something happen in Nigeria, all other African countries
obviously will be affected.
Apart from acting, what else do you do?
 I also write scripts. Besides, I have a movie production company. So if
I’m not acting, I have other things I’m doing. I’ve my own office that I can
wake up in the morning and go to. I have equipments that people do rent for
various purposes.
What is your view about Nollywood?
Nollywood has set a pace in the filmmaking industry. It has over the years kept
on producing quality movies. I think they are still maintaining that standard,
which is a very good thing. Though there are rooms for improvement, but at
least I will say so far so good.
Tell us about the beautiful woman in your life
That is the area I will continue to keep secret. Of course there is a woman in
my life. Whether married or not married, I just don’t want to discuss that. One
thing I want to keep out of the media is my love life. I’m not always
comfortable with media scandals.
You once expressed likeness for Genevieve; is it just all about her acting
prowess?
Genevieve is my screen goddess. She was born on May 3, 1979 and I was born on
May 4, the same year. Even when she came to Liberia, I was wishing to touch or
meet her. In fact, if I’m not married, I would have loved to marry her.
Ironically, I have not worked with her on same movie.
But have you ever expressed your love to her?
No comment.
Who are the other people you cherish so much in Nollywood?
I like Ramsey Noah, Mercy Johnson, Nadia, Majid Michel, and so many others. The
first day Maji set his eyes on me, he encouraged a producer to give me a role,
unlike some other people that would be thinking I want to take over from them.
So I respect Majid so much.
You were awarded the Best Actor of the Year by the Hall of Grace Magazine (HOG)
in 2012; how does that make you feel?
I really give kudos to Nollywood for giving me the opportunity to showcase my
talent in African movies. My greatest achievement so far as an actor is the bold
step I took by coming to Nollywood. Most people think I’m a Ghanaian, but I’m
not. I’m a Liberian. I think Nollywood is the mother of all the film industries
in Africa and Nollywood will always be on top. As an actor in Africa, if you’ve
not come to Nollywood to act that means you’ve not started. Most actors from
other regions started from Nollywood. So I fell so excited with the award. I
still feel awesome about it, especially getting an award like the Nollywood
star of the year, even when I’m not a Nigerian. It makes me feel that my works
are actually speaking for me. I even called my mother and told her about it.
Source: Entertainment Express

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