|Pete Edochie and son, Yul|
When I came in and asked about you, I was told you were in the smoking bar, do you smoke?
Good question. Well I smoke but sometimes not always. Whenever, I want to be alone to think about some things, I chill with cigarettes but I don’t dope or smoke weeds-just cigarettes.
Why not weeds also?
No, it will never get to that extent. My father warned me that I can smoke but not weeds or drugs. You do a lot of crazy things under the influence of dope. It makes you act irrational and it kills the brain cells.
But you also do more of alcohols?
Not much too. I just drink but I don’t drink to get drunk. May be a little bit tipsy, but never drunk.
Let’s formally get to meet you as a person, aside the actor we see on TV, who is the real you?
I am a very simple guy I think, and from my own assessment of myself I love life, I love enjoying myself and I would say I am not really a bad person because I don’t engage in bad stuffs. I love peace. I love it when everywhere is peaceful and people are happy. I try as much as possible to preach peace in everything I do. I would rather walk away from anything that is going to cause problems. I am very down to earth. A lot of people have this wrong impression about me but I am not like that. We build these walls around us for protection, but by the time you come close to me, you will see that I’m very down to earth. I try to be very friendly. No matter what I have achieved it doesn’t get to my head. I still hang out with folks and old friends. I am just the very easy going person who is always happy and hardly gets angry. I am Pete Edochie’s last son. My full names are Yul Chukwubuike Daniel Edochie. My father named me after an American actor. In fact, we were all named after foreign actors.
How was growing up like with your famous father?
It feels good. Growing up was really good with him as a father.
He appeared very strict in movies, is that how he is to his children?
He is extremely very strict, but I thank God that He gave me a father like that. I couldn’t have wished for a better father. He is a strict Catholic, so a lot of things I know today I learnt because of my background. Like I told you, I would rather die than dope. Kill me but I won’t dope and that’s how my father is. My father made us to understand that it is better to have a good name. Good name will get you riches and everything you need. That’s the kind of family I was raised in and my mum too is very strict. There wasn’t much money then to throw around but we grew up loving God and one another.
Tell us about your growing up?
I was born in Lagos. I think my mother was in law school then and after that I was brought down to Enugu that was where we grew up. But we were always going to Lagos my uncle’s place in Lagos and Port-Harcourt.
Where are you from?
I am from Anambra State. Nteje to be precise, in Oyi Local Government Area.
You are from a family of how many?
We are six, five boys and a girl and I am the last.
Why did your brother Linc leave the industry?
Yeah, Linc started before me. He started like a year before I got in. So, I would say we all have our own destinies.
So do you think you are going to leave the industry anytime soon?
No, I am not even thinking about that. Never. I studied Theatre Art and I took my time to read this so I didn’t just get in.
Maybe you will take it to another step like directing and producing?
Definitely, but not producing. I don’t like doing things that I can’t do. I have a passion for acting and I have a passion for directing but I don’t have a passion for producing. Right now, I am planning on doing my own films. I am going to get a producer who is very good with that. Pay the producer to run everything for it to be professional. So, I won’t say because is my film let me do everything, then I will mess it up.
When are you planning to do that?
Not so far from now.
I read that you are a very shy person, are you still very shy?
Yeah, I think so.
But actors are not supposed to be shy how come you are able to face the cameras?
Well, you know when you are acting it is a different ball game. It is quite different when it is work. You put yourself in and do what you have to do. Like when I need to act there is this spirit that just comes and once I’m done it goes away but I think I could be a little shy sometimes.
Has your shyness caused you any form of embarrassment with the ladies?
No; not that far.
Have you experienced any form of embarrassment from your female fans?
I don’t see them as embarrassment. Actually a lot of people do a lot of things. One happened recently some girl saw me and she wanted to take pictures and then she kissed me so deeply and passionately right in front of my wife. I am so lucky; I have a wife who understands, she is very understanding.
You’ve been married now for a very long time?
I have been married for ten years now.
That means you were very young when you got married?
I was 22 when I got married and right now I am 32 years old.
And your father approved of you getting married at a very young age?
Yes of course. My father too got married when he was 22 years old.
So you are saying you really got wedded at that age?
Yeah sure and that was in 2004 and this is 2014 and I am 32 years old now.
How did you summon the courage to take that step at that age?
I think my parents helped me because I have known my wife for a long time. Just about when we got into school that was when I met her. Even before I finished school my mother knew I was going to get married to my wife. My mother really liked her and by the time I finished I wanted to get married to her but I had nothing and she had nothing. We just finished school were still doing our youth service then. I was talking with my mother and she asked me if I wanted to get married and I said yes and my mother told me I shouldn’t worry that she was going to talk to my father. Because my mother told me that if I hope to marry her when I have enough money, someone else might take her away. She told me my father wasn’t rich when they got married but today he is the person he is. So you see you can really plan this things, the most important thing is finding that person who understands you and who wants to be with you when you are nothing. And if I hadn’t done that then, it would be such a problem for me now to find the right person to marry. Everybody wants to come in then you won’t know who is real. So I would say I was lucky to have someone who said I am going to be with you, even when I had nothing.
You have older ones who were not married then, and going by the Igbo tradition you hardly get married before those older than you. So, how did you do it?
It wasn’t really a problem at that time I had two brothers who were not married and they told me I should go ahead if that’s what I wanted. At that time, I went through a lot. I won’t tell you it was all rosy. At some point in my life I thought it was the biggest mistake I made because none of my friends was married at that time. Pulling through was not easy. I handle a lot of things then like a kid, but my father will always tell me don’t worry about now later on in life you will find out you did the best thing for yourself, and I am starting to realize it was the best thing to me.
When you got married where were you guys living?
I was living in Enugu in my father’s house that was where I started. You know I love the fact that we are talking about this. The young ones now see me living well and doing well and they want to be like me in a day, but it takes time. You need to be focused and not just focused, have passion in what you do. Believe in that thing whether or not you are going to die, keep doing it. You can’t make it in a day it takes time. I am happy we are talking about this it was crazy but I thank God I am fine.
If you hadn’t gotten married then would you have gotten married to someone in the industry?
Yeah of course there are a lot of good people in the industry.
Who would you have opted for?
I can’t say (general laughter), if I say that it means I am actually looking for another wife. I don’t have any crush on anybody in the industry. I just wanted to learn how to act from the actors.
You are a star, yet, no endorsement, why?
Yeah, one almost clicked a while ago but still hoping it will come. My manager keeps telling me that few companies have been calling him.
Do you feel bad about not having one yet?
No! I don’t. I am always happy seeing people happy. So, I don’t get jealous seeing my colleagues bag endorsement deals.
What is the biggest thing the surname ‘Edochie’ has done for you?
Lot of things. But I think my own name paved a way for me too. That was why at a point; I don’t tell people I am Pete Edochie’s son. I had my reasons then. I am blessed and I also get recognition being Pete Edochie’s son. And I try as much as possible not to mess up the name.
As an actor, you always travel around, how then do you cope with managing your Lagos State based family?
It is not easy. Trust me, it is not. I try my best. Whenever, I am in Lagos, I make sure I stay with my family. I do two or three movies outside Lagos, then I hurry back home to meet my family.
How many days do you often stay away from home?
I try not to stay much. At most, one month. Earlier in my carrier I was doing three months, just to meet up but now I think I have gotten what I wanted. So I have slowed down, within one month. I should be home.
So how long can you stay without sex?
(Laughs). I don’t know oh. I can’t answer that question. Next question please. You guys won’t koba me oh.
ENTERTAINMENT EXPRESS-RITA OKOYE