Ernest Kanjo / Tuesday, 05 August 2014 14:22

858706 232410800287632 930267356732318031 o A boisterous performing artist whose passionate approach to doing her job largely explains her success! It would be exact to describe the indefatigable Merlisa Determined this way. That she has been awake since the start of this year practicing the art she is divinely meant for is no exaggeration. As we write, the international actress is gearing towards the end of her sixth movie filming job in 2014. The latest two were even filmed simultaneously and at press time when TIPTOPSTARS spoke to the actress, Merlisa was still filled with energy and sounding (as usual) as though she was ready to return to set. That’s the Merlisa we know. Prior to the last two movies she just filmed, the star in Don Okolo’s Page 36 and Kelechi Eke’s award-winning False Engagement did what will surely turn out to be 2014’s most daring Nollywood movie produced in the USA – Pound of Flesh. Produced by Nkem DenChukwu and directed by Don Okolo, Pound of Flesh is one of the professional assignments that set its lead actress on an inexplicable emotional journey that lasted for as long as the filming went. “I had an adrenaline rush getting to the end of the story,” Merlisa told us. Ahead of the movie’s premiere, coming up on Saturday August 23, 2014 in Texas, we cornered the talented movie actress to recall her moments on this much-awaited production. She spoke to editor Ernest Kanjo from Houston. Excerpts!

Ernest Kanjo (EK): You are currently awaiting the release of Pound of Flesh in which you are starring. Are you anxious as August the 23rd, the day of the premiere approaches?

Merlisa Determined (MD): I’m more excited than anxious to see the hard work of the entire cast and crew come alive on the big screen. We spent long hours working on set, day in, day out, encouraging each other just because we wanted this movie to be a great success.

EK: We saw you quite joyous in gorgeous wedding robes - we saw in mourning outfit, sobbing - we saw some fire blast scenes and this tells us Pound of Flesh was a huge assignment for you….

MD: Well you know Ernest Pound of Flesh is a film that was inspired by a true life tragedy. The writer witnessed this incident and built the story around it. When I received this script, I was hooked, to be honest and couldn't put it down. I had an adrenaline rush getting to the end of the story. The lead character I portrayed in this story really pushed and forced me to go places that I hadn't yet explored as an actor. There were so many different emotions wrapped up in this one character. This film literally took me on an emotional roller coaster ride in every sense of the word.

EK: You have other movies with the producers of this one, but I’d imagine Pound of Flesh was a whole different experience – what made it unique?

MD: Yes, I have completed two other projects with Street Corner Films, that is Page 36 and Gem of the Rainforest. Each of them is unique in their own respect, just like each of the characters I portrayed. But what made Pound of Flesh so unique is, like I stated earlier, the true life nature of the story. Also, some of the filming locations of the movie were captivating.

EK: What character are you playing in this movie and did you enjoy playing it?

MD: With the highly anticipated release of the Pound of Flesh, fans will get to see Merlisa in a new light this year. I’m portraying a grieving mother who struggles to forgive the man who took the life of her daughter.

EK: Would you say you did well and even better this time as a lead in Pound of Flesh?

MD: Good performance becomes contagious when you have a strong team of wonderfully talented people working with. So you keep pushing and pushing yourself to the limit to achieve that like great performance. You can then walk away at the end of a project knowing hands-on-chest for having done a good job.

EK: What did producer and director tell you this time?

MD: They simply expressed the confidence they have always had in me to breathe life into this character. Honestly, Ernest I believe they were well pleased and satisfied with the job of the entire cast and crew working on this project. Don did a marvelous job writing and directing this movie while Nkem whom I describe as the glue of the project was simply awesome. They remain a dynamic duo.

EK: What was
10296081 238737289654983 4549722351418734517 o your experience with members of the cast and crew you were working with for the first time?

MD: Pleasant, I must say Ernest! There were like three actors I've had the pleasure to work with in other projects. I love being around actors who share the same passion as I do. It’s always good working with new talents. I believe you can always learn and bounce ideas off each other.

EK: What are you telling potential viewers of Pound of Flesh – any promises?

MD: Hahahahaha! Promises? Let me not make any at least for now. Howver , I’d say Pound of Flesh is a story you can't afford to miss - very emotional and heartfelt storyline! Imagine the agony of a mother witnessing her daughter in a burning car reaching out, crying, screaming out to her parents for help but they can't save her. Ernest, this is a film that will pull at your heart. It will keep you at the edge of your seat.

EK: What are the projects you have in the pipeline?

MD:Right now I have a few more movie projects that I’m currently working on. I have Temp to Fire and Unusual Twist. I have also completed projects such as Brides War 3X, Silent Retreat, All Things Unholy and so on. These movies will soon be released.

EK: Thanks for talking to us Merlisa!

MD: Ernest, it’s always a pleasure!




Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 August 2014 02:48


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