I gained 40 pounds, damaged my voice box filming ‘King of Boys’ – Toni Tones [Pulse Interview]

Tones stars as the young version of Eniola Salami in the 2018 film and the newly released series.

Method acting can have lasting rewards for actors brave enough to take on the challenge which comes with lasting psychological effects and more often than not, physical injuries.

In ‘King of Boys’ actress Toni Tones took on method acting, challenges et al. While she admits it was a rewarding choice, in this exclusive interview with Pulse, the actress details some of the physical and mental injuries she suffered embodying the young Eniola Salami.

From adding 40 pounds, losing it in time for the release of the original film in 2018 to going over the process for the limited series, the actress also revealed why she opted to take on the challenge.

How did you prepare to get in character for the second time?

When you are playing a version of someone, you have a blueprint to follow, so I tried to stay true to that as much as possible. It was really key for people to watch and not see Toni Tones which is why I decided to put on the weight. I figured that putting on the weight would make me look a lot like Aunty Sola.

The voice. The voice was a big one for me. I actually injured my voice box to be honest. I did a little bit of damage to it. It definitely wasn’t the safest decision. But making those decisions, putting on the weight, cracking the voice trying to imitate Aunty Sola’s husky voice and studying her mannerisms turned out to be rewarding.

I was glued especially as I had never met her in person before so YouTube was my resource. Every film she has on YouTube, I have seen it and I started doing that two months before we started filming. So I had two months of doing nothing but studying her.

Why was putting in so much into this character so important?

As an actor, I tend to do whatever is required for the character. It is not something I think people are going to notice or anything, I just do my character breakdown and decide on what are the best choices to make. Cause you know acting is really about choices. So I just did all the work and made all the choices and it paid off.

After putting in so much tough work in the first film, what was it like doing it all over again for the second time and for a longer period?

I put on 40 pounds for the role and honestly, it was hard. I had never been that big before. So, it did affect me psychologically and losing the weight was not easy at all.

When I made the decision to put on the weight for the character, I also make the decision to lose it before the film comes out otherwise people don’t recognize that work. I also try to do it in a really healthy way as well- proper dieting and exercising.

KOB 2 was a lot more difficult than KOB 1. Like it had more Yoruba. Young Eniola had 96-7 percent of her lines in Yoruba and I don’t really understand or speak Yoruba that well. It was a lot of Yoruba adages I had never heard.

What was the process of learning your Yoruba lines?

When I saw the script, I went to my mom and asked if she would help me with my Yoruba and she said alright. When I was ready and went to her, she couldn’t understand them. But we had Dele Adetiba, that’s Kemi Adetiba’s father. He was our Yoruba coach. Half the time, I didn’t understand what I was saying in KOB 2 so it was really challenging. We also shot during EndSARS, in the raining season and other challenges. I remember crying on set because it was all so overwhelming.

The limited series directed by Kemi Adetiba premiered on Netflix as Nigeria’s first original series on August 27, 2021. The series was welcomed to impressive reviews from fans.

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