After the successful movie premiere of BRIDE FROM AFRICA – Love Transcends All Barriers, which came off at the Albion Cinemas in Etobicoke, Edmund Agbeko sat down with lead actress Abba Hammond for an exclusive interview for the Ghanaian News Newspaper, as she touched on a variety of issues ranging from her experience being on set with other cast members, her theatrical ambitions and most importantly, her views on African culture and westernization.
Following is a transcript of the interview with Abba Hammond, who played the character of a beautiful African Princess [Araba], in the BRIDE FROM AFRICA movie.
For starters, many thanks for agreeing to have this interview with me. Aside being a true bookworm, can you in a quick line tell our readers who Abba Hammond is?
Thank you also for giving me the opportunity to reach out to your audience. Abba Hammond is a friendly, bubbly, open minded, science-loving, cupcake connoisseur and a gym freak I guess. [Laughs]
What lured you to be part of ‘Bride From Africa’?
Well well well, it was my mother who actually introduced me to the director and that was the beginning of the love story. As you might not be aware, Lucy Crentsil, who is my mum in real life, is also my mum character-wise in the movie too.
Honestly, what thrilled me to be a part of the cast was the background story on the reasons Director Avenger Danquah wrote the script. Love transcending all things was essentially something I could relate to in many ways. Being Canadian-born but raised by African parents who have strong admiration for African traditions and cultures, it was a mêlée of western civilisation and African traditions. Every culture has its own unique stamp of identity which is characterized by traditions, values and norms that make it distinctive.
Tell me about the difficulty with your character; ‘Princess Araba’ and how do you define your acting style?
Through no fault of her own, Princess Araba was a victim of the influence of western culture on African culture. Personally, I do identify myself as an alpha female; very independent, strong willed and a fighter. My acting prowess can be likened to that of German-born American actress and teacher, Uta Thyra Hagen. For me, good actors are those who can express their emotions through their eyes and most importantly, making their audiences believe in their character.
‘Bride From Africa’ is your debut movie but in which areas would you like to improve as an actress…
Acting is a skill and like most skills, it’s helped by natural talent, but that’s not enough. I have to develop my acting skills and become the confident, captivating actor that I always dream off. Improving one’s ability as an actor is a long process that essentially happens over the course of your life. To be a good actor, you should always be taking measures to bettering your skill and craft. Luckily, there are many ways in which an actor can improve and grow; by taking classes, studying, auditioning and performing relentlessly. For example, voice training because, you will want your voice to be flexible enough to embody any character that’s thrown your way.
Who in ‘Bride From Africa’ is most like their character and who’s the least?
[With a big laughter] Randolf Doe who played the character of antagonist Otibo is no-near his character because he’s such a caring, funny gentleman in real life. On the other hand, Lucy Crentsil who plays Mama Ogechi in the movie is really like her character in real life – a loving, selfless and a very strong protective Mama Bear.
How was working with Director Avenger Danquah on the set of ‘Bride From Africa’ like?
One word – FANTASTIC! Director Avenger Danquah has such a very distinct personality. He’s simply an artistic individual who’s creative, intuitive, adventurous, ambitious, sensitive, articulate, and expressive. He’s ability to use his vision and direction to guide the actors in bringing the script idea to life was visionary. As the creative brain behind the movie production, he read through scripts, held auditions, and helped select cast members for the movie.
You had to shoot a couple of scenes of the movie in Ghana… how was the whole experience?
Nostalgic! Ghana is so beautiful with unique landscapes, tropical beaches that rival some of the world’s best, ancient history, geographical wonders and with good people with a good sense of humour. Prior to the visit, the last time that I had been in Ghana was when I was at age 15/16; almost 10 years ago! The country has been touched by cultures from around the world, and it was truly a wholesome experience! Honestly, it felt amazing to go back.
During shooting of ‘Bride From Africa’, did you have one wonderful or humorous memory from the set that you can share with our readers?
Of course! I remember when shooting a living room scene, character Mama Ogechi [ Lucy Crentsil ] told character Uncle Kweku [Michael Appiah-Kubi] that she will ‘bite him’. And when the director called for a break during the shooting of that scene, we were all crying of laughter because it was hilariously an extreme brilliance of natural acting; honestly, we did not see that coming! Genuinely, characters Mama Ogechi, Uncle Kweku and Otibo [ just to mention a few ] will have everyone entertained!
What sort of acting roles will you be seeking in the future? Will you be more into action, adventure, comedy, crime, drama, fantasy et al or you have selected genres you have special interest in.
I believe that, for every role that I play, I should be able to do my best to have the right message sent across to the viewers. I am open to experiencing all types of genres but I guess I will be looking forward to more romance and action movies.
If you weren’t acting, what would you be doing? Fitness helps me think better, feel better, and move better…. probably playing Professional Soccer! [Laughs]
What are your short and long term goals and where do you see yourself in five years?
I believe setting goals are the first steps in turning the invisible into the visible as education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. My personal goals are to be happy, healthy and to be surrounded by loved ones. At the moment, graduating from University and preparing for my Masters are my immediate goals but with future projections, I want to see myself staring in 3 or more movies.
Do you follow the African movie industry and if you do, any interest in getting involved with Nollywood or Ghallywood or you looking more into high profile Hollywood movies?
Of course I do follow [African movies] because movies from Africa are the way a lot of the black diaspora understand their history – African movies are simply Africans telling their stories. I would love to break into the Ghallywood industry and as one of Ghanaian heritage; it will also be a huge dream just as it would to be in Hollywood movies.
Your views on Feminism and Pay equality… Gender equality is not a ‘women’s issue’ – it’s good for men too because there are plenty of proud male feminists, but to make equality a reality we need to draw more into the conversation. Personally, I am for equal rights, and equal pay, equality for the sexes.
Who is your role model in the acting industry and in your own words, what are the tips to become a successful actor?
I love Uta Thyra Hagen , Angela Bassett, Kerry Washington, Gabriel Union, Meghan Good, Oprah Winfrey, Angelina Jolie, there are quite a few too. Almost all of the famous celebrities and actors you know today by name made it to the top by sheer hard work and of course, a lot of career planning too. It is very important to approach you acting career in a planned manner.
Are you looking forward to any upcoming movies? What film do you want to watch these days?
I am looking forward to watching The Lion King! It was one of my favourite Disney Movies growing up.
Abba, thanks again for the interviewing opportunities but finally, what is one message you would give to your fans….
Firstly, I do want to say thank you so much for supporting the movie because no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. I’m very thankful to all my fans for their constant love and support. I am what I am because of their unconditional love. One message I want to say is LOVE HARD, LOVE WHOLLY, PUT GOD FIRST AND CHASE YOUR DREAMS!
BRIDE FROM AFRICA RED CARPET 2019
Source: Edmund Agbeko