Tuesday, September 19, 2023 4:47 pm
By Nehru Odeh
Nollywood actor Richard Mofe-Damijo, better known as RMD, is adept at interpreting roles and delivering filmic assignments. Little wonder he is an icon in the Nigeria movie industry.
Now, RMD, whose immense talents fans gush over, is set to showcase his acting skills, which had made him the darling of movie buffs in Africa and beyond, in “The Black Book”, an action-packed thriller. “The Black Book” will be available to stream on Netflix on September 22.
“The Black Book” Is a fictional thriller that explores Nigeria’s conflicted history, including military dictatorship, drug trafficking, and politics, through a retired hit man’s journey to seek justice.
And the movie, produced and directed by Editi Effiong, stars an ensemble cast of Africa’s most well-known actors, including RMD (who plays the lead role) Alex Usifo, Sam Dede, Taiwo Ajayi-Lycett, Denola Grey, Shaffy Bello and Ireti Doyle.
Still, an interesting festure of RMD’s involvement in the movie, the biggest budget film in Nigeria today, exceeding over $1m, is that he has also joined the Board of Directors of Anakle Films as Chairman.
In what, no doubt, is a significant move, Anakle Films has acquired RMD Productions Limited, founded by RMD. This partnership reinforces Anakle Films’ commitment to fostering talent and innovation in Africa’s film industry.
This acquisition has resulted in a 14-project slate for Anakle Films, including films and television series cutting across romcom, action thriller, drama and other genres. The first of these will go into production in the first quarter of 2024.
“The Black Book” details the fictional story of Paul Edima (played by RMD) a former military and drug cartel hit man in Nigeria who cemented his legend with an unparalleled record of assassinations, coups, abductions and drug operations.
Faced with the hard choice of going back to kill a female journalist’s child whom he had spared or losing his own life, the protagonist wagers with his boss, giving up a legendary ledger called ‘The Black Book’, which details incriminating evidence against Nigeria’s corrupt elite in exchange for his life and the child.
After walking away to live a quiet life for 30 years, Edima is forced back to seek justice when his only son is killed by a gang of corrupt policemen, SARS, in an attempt to cover up the crimes of a politician’s son.
“The Black Book” is a powerful and timely film that will resonate with audiences around the world. The film’s themes of corruption, violence, and redemption are quite familiar; however, the film also offers a glimmer of hope, as it shows how one man can fight for justice, even in the face of overwhelming odds.”
Effiong, who is known for his work on the films “Up North” and “Fishbone, ” noted: “Nigeria has a complicated but fascinating past. What we aimed to do with The Black Book was to provide historical and cultural context through a fictional, entertaining lens.
“Great storytelling is universal; this African story will resonate worldwide. Developing ‘The Black Book’ and reimagining the Nigerian cinematic experience has been incredible; we’ve had world-class actors and the chance to incorporate amazing sets and large-scale location shoots to bring this Nigerian narrative to life.”
“Nigerians are amazing storytellers – it’s core to who we are as a people. But as a culture, we have tended to distance ourselves, especially in the creative storytelling genre, from the harsher realities of what military rule and corruption did to our land in the 1970s and beyond.
“With Richard Mofe-Damijo joining our team, we will add a new layer of excellence to our storytelling. To be able to tell this story, and on such a scale, with a world-class cast and production team has been an epic experience, and I’m looking forward to The Black Book being received by movie fans around the world”.
RMD, for his part, said: “The journey to ‘The Black Book’ was a transformative one for me, both professionally and personally. Meeting with Editi Effiong and embracing the physical and emotional demands of my role was an invigorating challenge that took me to new heights.
“As I step into my new position at Anakle Films, I’m excited to contribute to the growth and innovation of African storytelling. We have a rich history and vibrant culture that deserve to be shared with audiences far and wide. ‘The Black Book’ is an example of what we can achieve, and I believe it’s only the beginning of what’s to come.”
Pre-production for The Black Book started in 2020, where the film’s lead characters underwent intense training with stunt and tactical trainers to help them achieve high-level skills in martial arts and the use of weaponry.
Filmed over three months across multiple sites in Nigeria [many have never been used for film production], including the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Lagos’ Apapa Port and Old Railway Compound, Kaduna. The team also constructed huge sets and sound stages, not usually seen in Nigerian cinema, to achieve some stand-out scenes.
Anakle Films’ debut feature film, “Up North”, released in 2018, made Nigeria’s box office history, grossing over 50 million naira [$130,000+] in its first ten days of cinema release. It is currently streaming on Netflix.
Anakle FIlms is a subsidiary of Anakle Digital Agency, which helps brands and agencies build profitable connections with target groups; while creating online and offline experiences for audiences.