Tell us about yourself?
I’m from Abeokuta, Ogun State. I was born into a family of entertainers in the 70s. I joined them in the profession and right from then, I have been featuring in their movies. I featured in ‘Atoka’ magazine and at age 3, was already featuring in stage plays and optical films by late Baba Ogungbe, Ogunde, Baba Sala. So, I had the privilege of featuring in their movies. Since then I have featured in different movies till now when we have the modern day movies.
In 1996, I started my own film company, now known as Segun Ogungbe Films. It started with the name it was initially called.
A lot of people say you are the son of the famous Akin Ogungbe, some say you are his nephew, can you make clarification on this?
Akin Ogungbe was my dad’s elder brother, he was my uncle. Though, he took me like his biological son and he liked me so much that then you will always see him with me. I could remember when I produced my first movie and wanted to censor it. At that time, you cannot just take your movie to the censor’s board; they could reject your movie. So, I begged him to follow me there and when the people at the board saw him with me, they were afraid and unsure of what to do afraid seeing him with me, because they respected him a lot. They were even like he should have just given me a note or something, that he should not have followed me down there.
So, it was because Baba, Akin Ogungbe followed me there that day that made them accept my movie, which was my first movie, titled ‘Banke Despirado’ in 2004 or 2005. But you know, Baba Ogungbe was so popular in those days and when they saw my name, they said, he is the son of Ogungbe the actor and probably that was why a lot of people believed he was my father. Though my father and Akin Ogungbe were brothers from the same parents and my father was an actor too, he and Akin Ogungbe were both into the movie profession then. In fact, I started featuring in movies then through my father.
However, my father was a tailor too. In fact, he was Mama HID Awolowo’s tailor in the 50s, before he then faced theatre squarely.
Mention some of the movies you have produced personally?
Banke Despirado, Akanni Olowoori mi, Ibi Giga, ‘Ite Oba’ to celebrate my dad at 70; I did Agata and many more because I have produced a lot of movies.
Which of these movies would you refer to as your best movie?
All the movies are my best movies, but if I am to mention two, I will mention Ibi Giga, reason being that it was that movie that brought me into the limelight. it was Ibi Giga that made people know about Segun Ogungbe. Some people thought it was my first movie, but it was actually my fourth. The second will be Ite Oba, which I said I did to celebrate my dad and it was a movie I so much love personally and for the fact that we were able to produce it well, that made me love the movie.
You are a director and an actor, which role do you enjoy playing the most, directing or acting?
I enjoy directing more than acting because there are some mistakes in a movie that as an actor I would not be able to interfere and say the director is not doing enough. But as a director in a movie, I will be able to put everything in place and in order.
You focus on Yoruba section of Nollywood, do you have plans to also feature in Igbo, or English movies too?
I have once directed an English movie in Abeokuta, it has been a while though and the title of the movie was ‘Boma’. It is not as if I am not interested in featuring in Igbo movies but you know we are always fixed for a lot of projects in the Yoruba movie Industry.
You are married to two wives…?
How do you manage to put work and family together, how do you create time for them?
Well, before I married them, they both knew I was into acting and they know what it takes. They understand what the job entails because they act also and there is no problem. So, we all manage our jobs with work and not let anyone affect the other.
So, do you live with both wives?
Yes, we all live together
How did you meet your first wife?
We met a very long time ago and she came into the movie profession because of me, but she does not act all the time, her own area of specialisation is the makeup artistry. So, we met when we were both going for rehearsals in 1999.
What about your second wife, how did you meet her?
We also met in the industry in 2009 at the National Theatre. What actually happened was that when I initially met her, I never knew she was an actress because she was not that known then. So, when we met, she did not tell me until when we started talking and she told me she acts also and I was like really? Then later I saw her in movie locations, which was when I believed she was an actress, because when she first told me I did not believe her. I thought she was just one of those people that like actors and actresses, I never knew she was an actress too.
How many children do you have in all, from both wives?
I have four children.
What is your best moment in life and career?
Let me say, the day I met with President Buhari and I was so happy that, through this job I was able to meet with the number one citizen of this country. Then, it was I, Kunle Afod, Rachael Oniga, Lola Alao and co. We were in Abuja to represent Yoruba actors in a meeting with the president. So, I can sat that was my happiest moment, because I felt honoured to be chosen as one of the actors to represent Yoruba actors to meet with the president of our country.
What about your worst moment, which you will never forget in a hurry?
That was the day armed robbers came to rob us on set in Abeokuta. We were shooting a movie by the road side in the night; they parked beside us, brought out their guns and robbed us of everything we had. They took the camera we were shooting with, our phones, everything, even the electricity generator. I have even forgotten the title of that movie we were shooting then. It was the job of one lady and even till now, when I see her I still remember that it was her job I was doing when armed robbers came to rob us (laughs).
It was really a bitter experience; even one of them became angry and insisted that he was going to kill one of our actors, claiming that the actor saw his face. It was the intervention of God and their leader, who told him not to shoot. We just thank God it was not the guy that wanted to shoot that led the gang that day. He would have just killed the actor.
Who was the actor he wanted to kill?
He is someone you know but I don’t want to mention his name because it is a gone issue.
Well, you know, it is a testimony for the actor not a bad thing. He was saved that day and even he would love to share that experience.
It was Niyi Johnson and I won’t say more than that.
How do you cope with female admirers?
Well, I have understood things like this even before I became this popular in this profession. You know I was born into this profession, and I have seen the way the people who are my seniors handled things like that, so I am not really bothered about it and I know how to manage it without any issue. However, just like you said, there are some female admirers that would like to go beyond their boundaries and you are the one who will use your head and know she is a fan and nothing more.
What do you do in your spare time?
I spend time with my children, I play with them, and you know that is very important.
What inspires you?
I get my inspiration anytime I am in a quiet place and there is no one to talk to or distract me. It could be when I am on a plane, when I am in the toilet or anytime I am alone anywhere, I will get something out of it.
If you were not into acting, what would you be doing?
I will be a detective, a police detective.
Maybe because I am also a script-writer. If something happens and we are looking for the cause, I notice and detect things easily that, once I say this is the cause or this could be the person behind it, it will turn out to be the cause. So, I love the detective work so much. I know it is risky but I would have been a detective if I was not into acting.
Do you have any plan to retire in this profession to face some other things?
No, I pray that even when I clock 100 years, I should still be acting. I do not plan to retire from this job.
Going forward, what are you plans, any new project?
Yes, I have some projects I am working on. In fact, I just finished one, which will be out soon and on the 17th of this month, I will start another one. So there are a lot of plans and projects for me.