For most Nigerians, Africans and the world in general the mere mention of the numbers "419" sends shivers up their spines. Several innocent people have been duped, destroyed or even killed by a group of highly intelligent and organized miscreants who prey on both the "greedy" and the "innocent". This Phenomenon became the trademark of Nigerians all over the world and the stigma deprived hard working and innocent people opportunities.
As concerned Nigerians sought for ways to exonerate the innocent from this enigma, Sunghai filmworks, a Texas based film company released 419 Stalk Exchange. This film categorically expressed the 419 saga as a battle between wits and greed. 419 Stalk Exchange holds you glued to your seat till the end. Because of the brilliant performance of one of the main characters and the constant barrage of emails from fans who want to know more about Jakinde Lawanson, Africamovies.com decided to fearture him this month as our artist of the month.
In an exclusive interview with Africamovies.com, Erran whose middle name is I-Hano, discloses that working on 419-Stalk exchange was not only a challenge, but it was also a blessing.
Africamovies.com: "Your role as Jakinde Lawanson in 419-Stalk exchange was quite brilliant. How difficult was it for you to learn the accent".
Erran: "It wasn't difficult at all. My aim was to bring out realism, so I spent a lot of time with the Director, Mr. Don Okolo and some other members of the crew who were Nigerians. Several times I had to converse in the Nigerian dialect, mimicking the rhythm and speech pattern and I am happy that I came out convincing enough".
Africamovies.com "Yes you did, you fooled a lot of us. There has been this mystic about the locations of 419- Stalk Exchange. What Parts were shot in Nigeria, London, New York and Texas?".
Erran: (Lets out a hearty laughter) "Everything about 419 was done in Texas".
Africamovies.com: "You mean, you didn't shoot all over the globe"?
Erran: "I hope this doesn't take away from the mystic of the film, (He quipped) the geography of Texas, especially Houston made it possible for us to create various scenes right here in Houston".
At 31, Erran, who has featured in two other Afro centric films "Material witness" directed by Don Okolo and "Return of the Exile" has developed a special bond with his film director whom he describes as an "excellent director with a lot of vision and ideas, a very adept writer and a classical poet. I have always told Don that our meeting was by divine orchestration and I can't wait for that day when he'd get that million dollar budget to do a film". Recently, Mr. Booker took a trip to Nigeria to promote his latest project "Return of the Exile".
AfricaMovies.com: "How was your trip to Nigeria?"
Erran : "It was great. It was a revelation. I went to Abuja and Lagos, I went to Ala..Aba..la market" "Alaba market" (Corrected the interviewer) " thank you (He responded) I saw stories to be told. The outcome of my trip I'm gonna have to leave for Mr. Okolo to discuss with you."
Africamovies.com: "You have been around a lot of Africans, you have featured in prominent African-oriented films. Do you think that African movies have a chance of striving in the US"?
Erran: "Before we go into that, what I have noticed in some of the Nigerian/African films that I have seen is that the thrillers tend to move a lot quicker than the typical Western film and the drama genre is often too slow, unfortunately the majority of American films are somewhat in between. In order for African films to make it in the United States or the West, the actors have to tone down the aggression. There is very little transition from the lower level to the higher level. The American actors are trained to bring realism to life."
Africamovies.com: "I want to thank you for taking the time out to speak with us."
Erran : "Thank you for having me "
A chat with
Erran I-Hano Booker
At last, the cloud behind the suave, smooth talking and debonair Erran Booker (Jakinde Lawanson- 419 Stalk Exchange) has been cleared. Many have asked what part of Africa he hails from, while others have claimed convincingly that he is from the river rein area of Nigeria. Well, do not blame anyone who insinuates that Erran is from Rivers or Delta States because of his brilliant portrayal of a Nigerian con man in the epic thriller 419 Stalk exchange. In our quest to quell the curiosity, the claims and insinuations, Africamovies.com tracked him down in Houston- Texas where he has lived for twenty-five years. Yes, Erran I-Hano Booker may be an African by inclination, but he is American by birth. Born in Greeley, Colorado in 1971, his parents moved to Houston -Texas when he was six years old, and he has lived there ever since. Although he is naturally gifted, his love for acting was kindled when he chanced into one of his college professors (Fred Strong) who convinced him that he possessed the qualities of a film star by featuring him in an independent film. After a laudable performance, Erran decided to take some college courses in Cinematography and ended up with a degree.
From left, Tsery Tse, Gillian Paul and Ogo Sow of WLIB
Its photo time with the Mthusa Thulisa brothers from South Africa.. The Tulisa brothers were on hand during the production of the off Broadway play "Prisoners of Kalakiri" Second from left is Bethels Agomuoh..First from right is the lady of songs herself, Dr. Cosby Mbele.