Ace actor, Van Vicker is one of the most recognized Ghanaian faces in the Nigerian movie industry, Nollywood, after having been one of the first actors to successfully crossover from the Ghanaian movie industry into Nigeria.
Born of a Dutch father and a mother who is half Liberian and half Ghanaian, and often referred to as the Ramsey Nouah of Ghollywood, Van is one of the best role interpreters to have come out of Ghana and he has made his mark in the make-believe world, with many recognitions, awards and a Globacom endorsement to show for it.
In this interview with City People’s showbiz reporter, Jombo Uche, he opens up on why he has not been featuring in Nollywood movies as before, his 10-year marriage and why has started his own productions.
I discovered that you have not been featuring in Nigerian movies as you used to.
Well, I have been filming. I run a production company called “Sky+Orange” Productions and I just started my own productions and doing my own movies, that is why I haven’t been in Nigeria for a while because timing is very critical.
Can you remember the last time you were part of a shoot?
The last time I was involved in a shoot was November last year. Before then, it took me 6 months to come to Nigeria. For the past 2 years, it has been like 5 or 6 shoots, which is because I have been producing my own films in Ghana and a lot of other PR works around the world. I think it is also good, because if you are in a system, you don’t want to overflog them with your presence. Sometimes it is also the PR work, you just want the producers or the viewers to look for you but it’s just that I now produce my own movies, which take more time. I have to start from the very beginning because I am also directing.
Tell us some of your produced movies?
Starting from the very beginning, my first movies was ‘Friday Night’, then ‘Johnny Walker’, ‘Hand Of Time’, and a new one that is not out yet.
What informed your interest in going into directing and producing?
I have always been interested in the technicalities of film making. I have got some technical training in TV3 television station I was working for in Ghana in 1998. I got some training on how to edit and direct and of course I upgraded myself because it is also what I love doing.
Tell us about this new movie?
In this production, my character is called MP, a very intelligent guy, who has got a few friends who are robbers and not killers. They are not violent guys but they refuse to do a 9 to 5 job. Instead, they plan and scheme on how to rob people of their hard-earned money, but in one of their well-planned operations, they were caught, only whe a neighbor show up and the girl’s boyfriend show-up and things got complicated. It is aUJstudio productions. It is a very interesting movie but the major challenge in the movie is that we are shooting in the night.
Is this your most challenging role?
Well, I will say I have not seen my most challenging role in a movie and I am still looking out for that role.
How does it feel celebrating 10 years in marriage, has marriage changed anything about you?
There have been many advantages and bonuses for me in the last 10 years in marriage. It has made me focused and responsible and it has also made me love kids. It has made me really grasp the adage that says, ‘2 heads are better than one’. There is no time I make a decision without running it by my wife, sometimes I will think it is a very perfect idea, only for her to point out many holes in it and I’m like what have I been thinking. It has really been awesome for me. If you take me back 10 years again, I will still get married to her again.
To the same woman?
Do you sometimes feel threatened that somebody might take your place seeing the new actors coming out in Ghana and Nigeria?
I don’t feel threatened in any way, I know competition is good when it is healthy. All the actors are competitors, give and take, because we are all fighting for the roles out there; we are all trying to impress the producers and directors to give us roles, we are competitors but yet we are all pallies and friends. I will not feel threatened in any way, because I know my strength as an actor and my weakness that I work on every now and then, it is good for the industry and I cannot stand here and be selfish. Looking at it from another angle, as a director and producer the more new faces, the more challenging it becomes for the older actors because they need to also step up their games and also it introduces employment in the system.
How did you meet your wife?
We met back in our secondary school days in 1994. I was in an all-boys school and she was in an all-girls school, I actually played a basketball match on a Friday against Ghana National High School. I twisted my ankle so I had to go home and when I got to the bus stop, she was also there so we sat on the same bus. I sat next to her, when we got to Accra, I was limping so she offered to help me with my bag and that was it. We got married after 10 years; we are in 2014 that means we have known each other for 20 years.
Van Vicker with his wife and kids
How does your wife feel and react when you play romantic roles in movies?
It is just me being professional. It is my career and what I love doing. I don’t take it personally. Every romantic scene I do, it’s not Van doing it, but the character I’m playing. It doesn’t make any difference even though I have limitations on how far I can go in a romantic scene. I take my wife’s feelings into consideration as well. But that is not the paramount reason, the reason will also be what is the point? I have to have a good reason from the producer or director why I have to do it or go so deep in that particular scene.
How does she feel when bad things are written about you that are not true?
We always talk about it. Most of the time, some of these reports are written by mischievous people. It is not a big deal. She always asks for my side of the story, when I tell her my own side, she believes because she knows what I can do and so whatever is written doesn’t make any difference. At the end of the day she knows the media likes controversies and scandalous stuff.
Tell us about your family?
I’m of a mixed race. My dad is Dutch, my mum is part Ghanaian and part Liberian. My dad died 31 years ago, so I was brought up by my mother, I have a sister, both of them presently live in America. I am the last child.
Tell us about your fashion sense?
I just wear what I love to wear, it doesn’t make any difference, it doesn’t really matter how expensive or cheap it is, if I see it down the road and they are ringing a bell and I like it, I will buy it. I sometimes make up my own dress code. Though I follow the online trend but whatsoever is comfortable, I will wear it.
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