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Darlene Benson-Cobham

Posted by on 2009/09/04 | Views: 3482 |

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Darlene Benson-Cobham

Darlene Benson-Cobham

An actress has waved aside the allegation of ďsex-for-roleĒ in the movie industry Ė insisting that in every other sector, the ďbossĒ sleeps with the underling. ď The casting couch exists, but it is not just in the movie industry. There are some banks where you canít get a job if you donít sleep with the boss. Or in their marketing department, if...

An actress has waved aside the allegation of ďsex-for-roleĒ in the movie industry Ė insisting that in every other sector, the ďbossĒ sleeps with the underling.

ď The casting couch exists, but it is not just in the movie industry. There are some banks where you canít get a job if you donít sleep with the boss. Or in their marketing department, if you donít sleep with some clients, you might not get the kind of money your boss is expecting. There is no drug that was given to producers that says they must be randy or that they must have a high sexual urge, itís there in basically every other sector. There are just some men who believe that they must get something from a woman for anything they give her. But it doesnít mean that every marketer or every independent producer is like thatĒ, says Darlene Benson-Cobham.

Iíve experienced it
But she says you donít have to sleep with anyone to make it to the top.
ď There are people who made it to the top without having to sleep with anybody and there are others who slept their way to the top. You donít have to do anything you donít want to. Some people did it, it worked for them, some do it and it doesnít work. Iíve experienced one or two things like that but I didnít have to do it and Iím still here. I might not be in every movie. Any woman who succumbs to it has herself to blame

Away to marry
Darleneís one of those in a number of supporting roles in Nigerian movies. But sheís been off the screen so long many thought she had quit acting. Well, Darlene Benson-Cobham left town for a while to face marriage demands. ď I got married and my husband works in Bonny. So some of the producers decided to give me a break, one that I didnít ask for. Now only a few producers know that Iím back in townĒ, she told Saturday Sun, recently.

But then, at Bonny, she did a few shows. ďI organized most of their shows there, performing also. Even before I went, I was a performer, a singer. I do shows, studio jobs, jingles, back-up for some artists like Lt Shotgun, Sonny Nneji, Sammy Okposu. Iím working on my own album now.Ē

Working apart
Working in Lagos, away from her man must be strenuous. ď Yes, the distance is challenging for us, but he loves my career, so he encourages me more than anything. He doesnít try to keep me from my work. Itís true that no woman wants to be away from her husband for that long. Youíll miss him sometimes. He does come to town once in a while.Ē

Seasonal Disease
She says she has also been a victim of the seasonal disease that happens to most actresses in Nigeria.
ď Iíve faced the same challenges every actor faces in Nigeria. You hope you can get roles that you can interpret properly,Ē says the UNILAG graduate of Theatre Arts. ď The seasonal thing that happens to almost every actress also happened to me. I started out well, appearing in quite a number of productions. All of a sudden they stopped using me for reasons best known to them. I donít even know why actresses have to have seasons. It seems the producers and marketers have just created that situation. But Iím still here practicing my craft.Ē
Yet some other actors and actresses have been accused of being over-exposed because they appear in too many films. But she doesnít think such allegations are valid.
ď I think itís the same thing that is obtainable in basically every country that produces movies on such a large scale as we do. The people whose faces appear in almost all films are just privileged because they started out before others and the few lucky ones who started recently and have made it to the top. Itís what we find even in America that some actorsí faces sell movies, no matter what the movie is about. So the Idumota marketers have decided that if they want to sell their films, those faces have to be on it. But I think they are discovering some new faces now. Someone like Desmond Elliot was not a known face before, but heís becoming better known now.Ē

Acting style
Benson-Cohbam believes that the one thing that has kept her consistent in the industry is her acting style.
ď I believe that my acting style is different. Some producers have told me that I give the most realistic reactions. Iím not all into making it glamorous. Iím more particular about the very natural responses that would come if it were a real life situation. The way I see it is that you have to be as genuine as you can with your expressions because at the end of the day, you want to offer a slice of real life. It is like youíre trying to represent what happens in real life in the most realistic way possible. If you have any incidents in your life that resemble that scene youíre about to act, you can draw from it. And if you canít, imagine it. It works for me all the time.Ē
She has some advice for any young person going into acting.
ďDonít go into acting because it seems glamorous and because everybody is doing it. You have to have a passion for it. You also have to go into it with the right attitude. Do what youíre doing decently. And for the ladies, you donít have to start off on the wrong footing by giving actresses a bad name. Be yourself, donít try to act like any other person. Everybody will know you for your own style. Theyíll come for you because thatís who you are.Ē

FILMOGRAPHY: Brides Apart, Honeymoon Hotel, Engagement Night

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