Like father, like son aptly describes Yule Edochie and his dad, TV veteran, Chief Pete Edochie. A graduate of Theatre Arts, Yul is fast carving a niche for himself as one of Nigeria’s most sought after actors.
Yul joined Nollywood in 2005. Today, he has featured alongside heavy weights like the late Enebeli Elebuwa, late Justus Esiri, Genevieve Nnaji, Clarion Chukwura and Chidi Mokeme among a host of others.
In 2007, he got his first big role in a movie entitled Wind of Glory, starring Genevieve Nnaji and Desmond Elliot. Some of Yul’s movies include Innocent Pain, My Loving Heart, Gaza Treasure, Royal Challenge, Entrapped and Haunted Shadows to mention a few.
In this interview with CHRISTIAN AGADIBE, Yule opens up on why he got married at just the age of 22, why he acted a steamy scene with Annie Idibia and growing up among other issues.
What project are you currently working on?
It’s a movie I started a while ago. I hope to be done in a couple of days. It’s the story of two royal princes who are twins fighting for the right to take over their father’s throne.
You were not the first to start acting in your family. But all of a sudden, you popped out of the blue and outshone your elder brother. How did you manage that?
I think it’s destiny; I don’t want to say that it was my own making. I studied Theatre Arts while he studied Fine Arts. Probably, that gave me an edge. Again, he was named after the first president of America, Abraham Lincoln, while I was named after an actor. It’s not like I am better than him; I feel it’s just destiny.
If not acting what would you be doing right now?
I’d probably be a journalist; may be I’d be conducting interviews with artistes and people who have made it because I love journalism. I also love being a solider; probably I’d have being in the Nigerian Army.
Was your growing up a bed of roses?
It wasn’t a bed of roses. There wasn’t much money really. My father was a broadcaster while my mother was a journalist although, she was a lawyer, she never really practiced so there wasn’t really much money. We were six kids and we were basically struggling. My father did Things Fall Apart in the ‘80s but went back to his journalism job after that. It was in the ‘90s when he entered into the movie industry fully that things got better. Before then life wasn’t a bed of roses.
What advice did dad give you regarding Nollywood?
My father always told me, ‘don’t take what belongs to another person. If a role is meant to be yours, it will definitely come to you; it may take some years but it will surely come to you.’ He said ‘don’t go backbiting by going behind to take somebody else’s role. Even if you’re called for a particular script and at the end of the day, it’s not given to you, don’t go struggling for it. Instead, pray about it and walk away.
Have you seen any of your movies and felt there were areas you needed to improve on?
Yes of course. You know, one keeps improving as the days roll by. I do a film today, put in my best and at the end of the day I feel I have done very well. However, after about six to seven months, I learn more and when I look back at that film, I see that there are a couple of things I could have done better.
Can you share some of the crazy things fans have done to you?
A fan once kissed me in front of my house, in front of my wife. I was about getting into my car when she rushed towards me and kissed me. My wife was surprised though she’s is used to it now. These days when I see such coming, I try to run away; I don’t want them coming too close.
You got married at a very early age, how old were you then?
I was 22-years-old; that was 10 years ago. Now I’m 32-years-old.
When you look back today, would you say you regret marrying so early?
I feel that what I did was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.
Getting married at age 22 is quite young. Were you forced? Whose idea was it? And how did you meet your wife?
The idea came from my mother. Immediately I got into school, I met my future wife and we became friends and my mother liked her a lot. So when I finished school, my mother asked me, ‘assuming you were to get married now, would you get married to her?’ And I said ‘yes.’ Mum asked again and I repeated the same thing so she said that if I’m really ready, we could do it now. She told me to ask her if she wanted to marry me. I did and she said yes so we got married.
What really attracted you to her?
She is beautiful and understanding. She’s not the rough, partying or crazy type. She understood me a lot and she’s always been supportive.
Were you discouraged while studying Theatre Arts?
Yes, a lot of friends felt I was wasting my time. I had friend in fields like Engineering and Medicine that would come to my department and see me and my classmates dancing and they would be like ‘did you actually come to school to do this?’ It was crazy but today, I thank God because it’s paid off. Back then people felt that acting was an all-comers-affair so the mentality was that ‘why not study something else and later go into acting.’
We know that your journey in Nollywood initially was not a bed of roses. Was there any time you felt like quitting?
At some point I felt like leaving but my wife said I shouldn’t. I even got offers from a few friends who wanted me to work in a bank or manage a fast food joint. But my wife discouraged me from doing anything full time. My wife knew me back in school and believes in me and advised me to carry on with the hope of making it at the end. There were times it was so rough because the roles weren’t coming; what kept me going was the passion and of course, my wife.
Has anything made you shed tears?
Yes, there were times I thought I was going to lose my wife to richer men.
How did that happen?
Even while we were still in school, men were already coming for her hand in marriage and her friends told her not to hang around a small boy like me. Then we were in our 20s and some of her suitors were in their 30s. Whenever she told me about them, it made me feel bad. I thought she was going to marry one of those men but at the end of the day, she didn’t but waited for me. It’s good to marry when you don’t have anything because that’s actually when you can find the right person because a lot of girls are after comfortable men. So, if you can get someone who doesn’t really care whether you have money or not and loves you for who you are and sees the potential in you and is ready to stand by you through thick and thin, you should go for that person.
What changed after you got married at 22 especially among your peers?
It wasn’t easy because when I got married I was the only one among my peers who was married. So whenever I went out to hang out with my friends, after about 30 minutes, my phone would start ringing and my wife is telling me to come back home. So it wasn’t really easy coping but my father told me something, he said ‘Yule, with time, it’s going to get easier. As you get older and more mature, things are going to be easier.’
Have you being tempted to cheat?
Of course, surely, it happens.
So, how do you handle such especially when on location where you have to spend up to two weeks without seeing your wife?
Well, it’s easier now like I said earlier because I’m much older in the business. When I got here initially like two or three years ago and the fame started coming, the issue of girls wanting to hang out with you and all that came in. But right now it’s no longer the same. It’s easier for me to know that at the end of the day, there is nothing like your wife who is always there for you so you have no excuse to mess up and that’s always ringing in my head.
Who is the real Yul Edochie?
Yul is a simple guy. He’s prayerful and nice and I think I’m down to earth as well but a lot of people have this notion that I’m pompous from afar. I believe we have the right to be happy, the right to live and that we were all created by the same God and we should all respect each other regardless of tribe, race or creed. There is this notion that always guides me in life and its ‘whatever you don’t want someone else to do to you, don’t do to others.’ That’s basically who I am; I think I’m a fun loving guy.
How have you been able to stay scandal free and overcome temptation?
I just run away. I have being in the industry for like nine years and so far there has never been any scandal. I have never been caught with any girl and I love it that way. I run away because the girls would always be there. Immediately I am done shooting I run away before I have to give my number out to people and that strategy works quite well for me. And that`s why most of them see me as being a mean fellow. I don’t want them to get too close to me and on my part; I don’t think I want to marry a second wife.
There was this film you acted with Anne Idibia where you guys were all over each other smooching and kissing. Did you guys take it beyond the set?
We didn’t go beyond anything; I remember the film.
So when your wife watches such, how does she feel?
She feels bad but I would always say that when you are still new, you do a lot of things to get recognition. As at that time you can`t really say no. But one thing I can`t do is to go nude on set even if it’s for a million dollars. White men can do all of that and get away with it but it’s not the same here. There were other movies I did like that back in the day but I wouldn’t do now. You can`t see me in a 2014 film kissing a girl that way.
So your wife does not like it when you kiss in movies?
Of course, she does not. How could she like it? Would you like it? She doesn’t like it in anyway but she understands that it’s my job and then she tells me that if I have to do it, it should just be lightly and not like previous ones.
Have you actually kissed a girl and then felt like doing it again?
I won`t lie to you. Sometimes it does happen but most times, when we are acting such parts we are not alone; there are like 10 other people behind the camera and so because of that, you can`t really be carried away because there are people watching. The Sun