Interview by Aremuorin
Had the opportunity to interview Oris Erhuero, recently. A new Bond era. Fit for Her Majesty’s Service ..’ It was really inspirational and indepth. Here is the interview:
1. How do you adapt to winter?
So far so good, as the winter has it’s thing with me, where it keeps me on my toes at all times.
2. Whats keeps you busy?
Right now my family keeps me very busy. As well as my good friends, that I haven’t been able to make time for, during the year, due to work commitments.
3. Why is fitness important to you.
Fitness is extremely important to me. It’s a lifestyle for me, no doubt. It’s parts and parcel of who I am. It’s one of the many things in life I will always live and swear by.
It’s something that’s been installed in me since I was a kid. It’s what led me to break dancing, martial arts, weights, running, meditation, yoga, and the urge for me to push and compete with myself. It has been very rewarding to my career in ways that I never saw coming I would like to say it’s an institution within my life.
And a medical proven fact, that one will for ever stay young, healthy and alert with time and age, no matter what, and where one is in life, as long you are willing to slice and save time out of your 24 given hour a day to commit.
4. Your latest movie “EUROPA” playing at Film festivals around the world at the moment … Tell us about it.
Well. it’s a true story, told from – as a movie – shot within a movie. The inside movie tells a fictional murder story, a drama and love triangle. And the «outside» movie tells above all a razor sharp analysis of contemporary life in Europe by the award winning Rwandan director Kivu Ruhorahoza (Grey Matter, Things of the Aimless Wanderer). He decides to film his new movie, A Tree Has Fallen, in London.
It is, to be a stylish drama. about “Simon”, the character which I play, a mysterious “Nigerian man”, who returns to London to make amends with Anna, his mixed-race lover (Lisa Moorish) and Bruce, Anna’s white ex-husband (Matt Ray Brown).
Progressively, this love triangle mirrors the increasing social and racial tensions in Great Britain, and Europe today right now. This is in parallel to his narrative fiction, “Kivu documents”. This tensions by filming a series of rallies in the streets of London.
But inevitably, the ‘hostile environment’ immigration policy of the ruling Conservative Party comes back to haunt the reunited lovers and to disrupt Kivu’s film making effort. Sensing that his London stay is coming to a forced end, Kivu attends a far right protest to try and understand the rising xenophobia of the Brits and of his character Bruce.
5. Barriers you have had to break down.
One of the many things in life I have learned is that from the day we were born, no matter what race, gender or tribe we are, there would always be a barrier without fail in front of us.
I believe it’s part of all of our destiny and mission in life to fight for what we believe in, and that will come with a lot of barriers. I have had to keep in mind, that the many that came before I was born, fought to overcome what I wouldn’t probably think is a problem, today. For example; ‘Racism’ – today isn’t what the likes of my father and mom had to bear in the 60’s, in the west. Today, it’s a different kind. It’s all psychological. For example in my case, transcending from the fashion and modelling world.
“For me, being a person of colour, I had to fight my way through all the racial political crap that came with it to get work. However, you keep pushing through, with a positive mind set, or it can eat you up and discourage you from growing. I walked from the world of fashion onto my first tv series in the 90s, and forcefully been the character that was intended to be a guest star in the first episode, to being one of the leading characters”.
At that time, when and if you came from modelling, or the fashion world, you were never taken seriously, for TV. So, having to push through that in the 90s, was a big deal, and then having the opportunity to transcend from TV to Film was a barrier, As Back then, doing TV was the death of an actor, as once you started there you died there, you couldn’t cross that line to film ever, and then finding myself blazing through that barrier on to films and stage and people accepting the change ,was a big deal.
It’s funny with the help of social media, how many people are taken back by my journey from the beginning, to where I am now; because to them, many people back then, where kind of stuck in a time zone and didn’t, and couldn’t, cross that barrier.
I have become part of that generation that can juggle anything thrown our way. So, for me, it’s almost a trill to say to myself; let’s do this, and surprise myself in the process. Today many of us can do music, produce films, write and direct them, as well as collaborate with fashion houses, simply because many of us understood that breaking down Barriers, and constantly transcending would always pay of in big a big way.
6. So you are an SGI Nicheriann Buddhist? Tell us about it?
Nicherian Buddhism’s for me is the simple in-depth discovery of common sense in it’s entity, taught to me through the sgi Soka Gakkai international, meaning value creating society.
It’s a diverse Buddhist community network which comprises of more than 12 million people in 192 countries and territories around the world. We, as Sgi members, base our practice on the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Buddhism, which teaches that each person has within the courage, wisdom and compassion to face and surmount any of life’s challenges.
Based on core Buddhist principles such as respecting the dignity of human life and the inter connected-ness of self and the environment, we engage in various peace activities including human rights education, the movement to abolish nuclear weapons and efforts to promote sustainable development.
7. Does God and The notion appeal to you? What does it mean to you?
Yes, the term appeals to me in many ways, but that also depending, on how each individual of any form of belief system. sees it, and understands it. But in my case, as a Nicherien buddhist, we have the term called the mystic law, which is “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo” in English, it means “Devotion to the mystic law of the universe” or “Glory to the sutra of the lotus of the supreme”.
This is the central mantra chanted within all forms of Nichiren Buddhism. However, at the end of the day, as a Buddhist, we believe that nothing is fixed or permanent and that change is always possible through chanting and prayers. That’s my notion of God and how it appeals to me. Nevertheless, it all begins and end with prayers to deeply understand that notion.
8. Have you compromised something you love for the greater good of mankind or would you.
Yes, many many years ago in the 80s before Nelsons Mandela release from jail, I was scouted as a model to go and work in South Africa along with other models. The offer was incredibly lucrative, but even as I was young, it didn’t sit well with me. I had this feeling if I cross that line; it would be the point of no return, as many artist and musicians were warned not to go, as it will be a disrespect to Mandela as well as those fighting to abolish Apartheid.
As fast forward years later in May 1994 the week of his inauguration, an agent invited me again to go to South Africa, and that’s where my carrier in the end really jumped of from fashion and modelling to TV and film career.
9. Life as a black person, does it seem like a fairy tale to you or is it a survival game.
To be honest at times it does feel like the survival game.
Oris Erhuero – Photo Credit – Torunn Lillo
In addition, I was very fortunate to meet Mandela and certain people I would have never been able to sit in a room with in the west.
So today, wherever I go, I take that spirit and energy of Mandela and those who fought alongside him, with me. I remember this when I work in a place where I don’t see people like me. I just make it known that I’m a human just like you, so whatever misconception you may have of me or people like me, we need to get past it and get on with the task at hand.
But from to time to time, I find myself slipping in to that survival mode and having to catch myself, and to be honest I have seen the positive impact more so lately. I now deeply feel slowly, slowly, the survival game is slipping away for good.
10. Actors you will like to co star with?
Anyone that can act, and do it like the greats.
11. Your hide away?
12. Your 4 non negotiables.
B). Leaders who come in to Power and break their promise.
C). People who abuse their power and position in life.
D). The 4th would be any one who discriminates against any gender of any kind, as people should be free to be who they believe they are. Period.
13. Best advice given.
My best advice ever given to me was by the iconic Sisley Tyson. We met in South Africa while I was taking a break from filming.
And during one of our moments together, she invited me to the opening of the Robben Island prison in Cape Town where Nelson Mandela spent part of his 27 years incarcerated. This Prison was now been reopened and turned in to a museum, as a great reminder of Nelsoms Mandela’s past.
As we sat on the ferry ride talking, she just stopped in the middle of our casual conversation, and said to me that I should never underestimate myself and the power in me.
To always stand my ground no matter what, know my worth and to never sell myself short. She lived by those words by introducing me to one of the most powerful mangers in Hollywood, doubling my salary for the next season – that changed the game for me. So now, when in doubt, I go back to that moment.
14. SAY some wishful & grateful things for humanity to come to pass.
I believe in my hearts of hearts THAT AFRICA RIGHT NOW THIS MOMENT IS THE NEXT 21 CENTURY AND 2020 WILL MAKE IT LOUD AND CLEAR, IN WAYS BEYOND OUR IMAGINATION.
Close: Thanks for the interview. It is a real treat. Will just like to add an after thought here. “You are a dream come true and incredibly inspiring. I will pay a million bucks to have the opportunity to do this interview all over again, and again. One day the world will thank you”.
Life will fade, but time will prevail. So, get on your ship, and take to sail. My prayer for anyone going through arduous challenges is that you find your beacon of light. Don’t let go of that hope in your heart. Darkness despises #light ..’ – #In14Ways
Produced by Aremuorin
Àrèmúorin – Anthony Everest is a Multi Awardee Conscious Writer / Holistic Jazz Soul Singer-Songwriter, Author, Producer. No1, 49+ Weeks, Jazz Charts. (C) 2019 MercyfulGrace / Anthony Everest