Ifeanyi Dike Jr Is Set To Become A Big Deal With An ABC Show In Sight
Nollywood act Ifeanyi Dike Jr, who got his feature Green White Green on Netflix has signed a talent holding contract with ABC studios after filming a comedy feature opposite Rachel Leigh Cook set for a 2020 summer release.
Ifeanyi Dike Jr is one of Nigeria’s successful Nollywood exports to the American film industry. And he is living up to his top billing as a seriously talented actor given how his abilities have become a commercially viable currency in the most sought after movie industry in the world. His shooting slate for 2020 is already one of the most impressive of any Nigerian actor working at the moment.
With an unprecedented rich talent holding contract with ‘My Management Company’ in Africa, Europe, Asia and South America, his sights are set firmly on Hollywood and the feeling is mutual. No other Nigerian actor has signed a talent holding contract with an American studio but Dike who has been eyed by ABC’s Vice President of Casting since his outing at TIFF has been impressing casting directors and creators in the United States. Ifeanyi is being considered for big-screen projects that are uncommon for a Nigerian aiming to break into Hollywood’s high watts circle. Apparently, he is in high demand in Hollywood these days going by the kind of entertainment companies courting him. There is talk about ‘Coming to America 2’ for one which will be a great win for Africa.
The Nollywood superstar who is now based in Los Angeles admits that these sorts of meetings and contracts mean he would not only be a top ABC studio actor, his affiliation offers him more breadth of scintillating leading or character roles in ongoing or upcoming shows. ABC is known for producing some of the most critically-acclaimed and most-watched shows worldwide—shows like Scandal, Modern Family and Grey’s Anatomy)—so he will be in good company. That is a tremendous feat for an actor transitioning from Nigeria to America.
Expressing his excitement, Ifeanyi says, “when my rep mentioned to me that the team from The Office, Parks and Recs wanted to meet with me, it was beyond surreal. So when I went in and I saw Allison Jones, Michael Schur and three other producers who said they had been waiting to meet me, I had a real pinch-me moment. Like, these guys just don’t see anybody.”
As amazing as that sounds that a talented actor is getting his due, this a big deal for Nigeria and the continent at large with a population of over a billion people with minimal Hollywood representation. Because it reinforces the idea that homegrown Africans do have the artistic chops to excel in Hollywood. Just like a Lupita N’yongo before him, one would trust Ifeanyi to bring award-winning performances to the screen.
When Ifeanyi Dike Jr made the move in 2016 to Hollywood, he was just merely stepping off the humongous success of his leading role as Uzoma in Green White Green [the critically-acclaimed Nollywood flick about a group of friends hoping to produce a social commentary style movie about life in the country], premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF. “I had no idea what the future held but I knew, but I knew I wanted to be an actor more than I wanted life itself.” And it seems Hollywood agrees with his sentiment and does want him too. Given that it was at TIFF that Ifeanyi was discovered by then VP of casting at ABC, now Head of Casting at CBS, who after seeing his performance in Green White Green would recommend him to ABC.
Which makes sense because Ifeanyi won a Special Jury selection for Best Actor at the Africa International Film Festival, AFRIFF for that same role in Green White Green. A national and perhaps international honour when you consider that AFRIFF is the most prestigious film festival on the continent with aims to bridge the gap between the African and American film industry.
It looks quite obvious that the upcoming series will live up to Ifeanyi’s brilliance as an actor.
When asked how he feels about his whirlwind journey into Hollywood, he says “Hollywood is starting to pay attention to Africa and are now willing to cast Africans for genuinely African roles. It’s a great time to be African.”