Tobi Bakare Needed Dutch Courage for Role in ‘Gangs of Lagos’
Bakare, who enacted the life of Obalola, a revered street lord who grew up in the southside of Isale Eko, revealed that representing the authenticity of the character was a challenge, especially because this was his first time playing a lead role in a movie. His burden was because he wanted to embody the character so much so that he became one with it.
He made this known in his recent appearance in the audiovisual podcast Menisms, which Michael Sonariwo and Olumurewa co-host.
Tobi said, “Gangs of Lagos, that was challenging because, like for the first time… you know as guys now, we build so many walls like you are ready for all the possible sad outcomes in life mentally.
“Like you don’t know it but … I was now playing the role of a strong guy but then, in the same movie, he had moments when he had to be vulnerable. Bro, I had the toughest time. I had to tear my walls down.
“You know those plastic [herbal bitters] drinks na? I drank two within the space of five minutes. I just felt like I drank water because I didn’t feel anything. I was listening to the saddest music.
“This is the song I always remember from Gangs of Lagos, “Celia,” [a] song by Tiwa Savage. It is a very emotional song. I wasn’t trying to fake it [my role]. I needed to be actually sad, I needed to be there. So, I was putting myself in the scenario of this character.
“I was self-reflecting. There was a graveyard right in front of where we were shooting. So, my head was in different places. And, eventually, we shot that scene.
“After we shot it, and they said ‘cut,’ everyone stayed quiet. And people in the background were sobbing. It was almost as if, in that moment, everybody forgot that we were acting, and some people were actually tearing up.”
Gangs of Lagos premiered on Apr.7, 2023 on Amazon Prime Video. It marks the streaming platform’s first African original. Directed by Jade Osiberu, Gangs of Lagos tells the story of three friends who must carve their own paths in life after growing up on the rough streets of Isale Eko, Lagos.
Watch the podcast here.