In an exclusive interview with Pulse, Kemi Adetiba talks filming Netflix’s first Nigerian original series.
Kemi Adetiba became Nollywood’s sweetheart with her 2018 ‘King of Boys’ in 2018. But on August 27, 2021, the filmmaker sealed that spot with the release of ‘KOB: The Return of the King’, Netflix’s first Nigerian original series.
The series premiered to astounding reviews confirming the impact of the first film. In this exclusive interview with Pulse, the film director opens up on dealing with the pressures of filming a follow-up story to the critically acclaimed 2018 film, partnering with Netflix and much more.
How were you able to manage the pressure of working on the series amid fan expectation?
I knew before going into doing ‘KOB: The Return of the King’, I knew what I was letting myself into. So I asked myself many questions. I think a lot of people assume that doing a follow-up to KOB 1 because of how successful it was, that this is so easy, a walk in the park. No, it was actually harder to do a follow-up because of how accepted the first one was.
It would have been much easier for me to create a whole different project where there are no expectations. So going in, I had to ask myself many questions and I was careful not to touch it till I was sure that I had a story for it.
I also did not want to hoodwink the followers and you know the funny thing? Many other people knew I was going to do a follow-up before I did because I was not touching it. But once an idea came to me, I couldn’t get it out of my spirit. Was it mentally tasking? Yes . Was it physically tasking? Of course! But if you know anything about me, it is that I am built in the fire.
Recall Adetiba revealed months before the series release that she resumed filming six weeks after leaving hospital after being bedridden for six months.
How did you manage scripting, directing and producing amid recovering from a long term illness?
Anyone would tell you that making a film is tasking then especially doubling as executive producer, producer and dealing with things in the backend. it is even more strenuous cause you don’t escape all the things that are going wrong. So yes, it was very tasking so much that if you ask me if I want to do ‘KOB: The Return of the King’ all over again, I would say No!
I am happy that we have done it but it is not a process I would like to do again. I have done it once and I don’t have to repeat the class. So I am going to the next project. I am also going to reiterate that I had the best talents and the best crew. We literally were family. Remember, we had every gun pointing at us when we were shooting.
We were shooting during a pandemic, through partial closure of the third mainland bridge, through rainy season and then through the End SARS protests but I am grateful for the experience.
There was a time I actually gave up right after the 24 hour lockdown following the End SARS protests. I told the cast and crew that they could all stay in the hotel and after they lockdown, they were free to go. I felt we were going to shut things down then see where we can pick up later on down the line. Then I had crew members telling me No! Sola Sobowale also insisted on staying till the film was completed.
Was a ‘KOB’ series the plan from the start?
I think the thing that was very important to me when I decided to go through this journey again was elbow room to be able to express myself, to tell a full story. I didn’t want any limitations, I didn’t want to be contained. It was one of those where we shoot and when we stop, we stop and the perfect housing to tell this story in its fullest was a series.
What was the partnership relationship with Netflix like especially with you maintaining your authentic voice
First we were working on a different level from when we released KOB 1 on their service. The thing about Netflix is that they give suggestions but they don’t overpower. So they are very big on collaborative effort and they are also very big on making sure that my voice, language and intention runs through from the beginning to the end.
Adetiba’s ‘King of Boys: The Return of the King’ is currently streaming on Netflix.