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Nigerian stunt crew aims to kick-start Nollywood action boom

GlobalJan 22, 2021 10:00
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By Seun Sanni and Angela Ukomadu
PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria, Jan 22 (Reuters) - With fists, flips
and kicks, a Nigerian stunt crew is bringing blow-by-blow
recreations of famous fight scenes to Nollywood, aiming to put
some muscle into a film industry better known for drama, comedy
and romance.
The 15-member Xcel Theater, based in the southern oil city
of Port Harcourt, started out posting dance and comedy routines
on social media.
Last year, the group began clashing swords, ducking kicks
and flipping over scenery to recreate some of film and
television's most intense fights, including "Into The Badlands",
"The Witcher" and "The Raid" as well as scenes featuring actors
like Jason Statham and Jet Li.
Now, producers who spotted their talents have flown them to
Lagos to choreograph action sequences for upcoming films in a
bid to bolster the genre within Nollywood, a multibillion dollar
industry churning out movies and TV shows at a rate second only
to India's Bollywood.
"This started as a result of a passion I have for creative
stunt works that I see in most big films," said Samuel Iyare,
the 35-year-old founder of Xcel, at a shoot in Port Harcourt.
Iyare, a fan of Hollywood action films, bankrolls shoots on
as little as 30,000 naira ($80) by making furniture - a skill
also useful when creating props.
"We dull the edges," he said while holding a wooden knife.
"We paint it to give us the feel of the weapon, then stain it
with a little blood so once you are making the motions, it looks
as if the person has actually been cut."
Attention to detail brought the crew to the attention of
Nollywood filmmakers.
Olukiran Babatunde Olawale, a director and producer, drafted
the group last October to choreograph stunts for Mamba Diamond,
an action-comedy about two amateur thieves who mistakenly steal
one of the world's most valuable jewels, set for release in May.
"We were very, very impressed," said Olawale, who sees a
bright future for Nollywood action films featuring the
athleticism of fresh talent like Xcel. "They are going to be in
a lot of film projects."

($1 = 381 naira)

Nigerian stunt crew aims to kick-start Nollywood action boom
 

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