Stan Nze has always loved movies, but the passion to act wasn’t something he thought he had until his early university years.
He was just a secondary school graduate, trying to figure out what to do next, when he considered writing scripts and showing them to his then-neighbor, Oge Okoye.
His career started in 2009 with a television series titled “Private Sector“. Soon, he became known for his role as Ohakanu on the television series “Tinsel” (2011). He has since done other films including “Bad Drop” which he produced, “Hoodrush“, “The Encounter” and “Just Not Married” which got him his first award nomination.
In our exclusive chat with the lead star of “Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story,” Stan Nze shares his journey into acting and what playing Ahanna in “Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story” was like.
The actor, film producer, screen writer and singer holds a BSc in computer science from Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Anambra state.
Back in school, Stan was a member of a professional theater group which also performed in the church. He put his spirit soul and body into every performance and they always got him great commendations. He later went on to get training at the Stella Damascus Arts Foundation.”It went on and on from there, and today we’re here.”
Tell us your all-time favorite Nollywood movies:
My favorite movie changes over time, but to name some: “The Meeting“, “Banana Island Ghost“, and the latest being Play Network Studio’s “Living In Bondage: Breaking Free“. A spot “Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story” might take very soon.
How have you gotten through challenges as an actor?
There were a lot of times when I felt like: is this thing really going to work? What am I doing here? But for some reason, I just knew it would. It might take a while, but you see this industry, we die here. I’m ready to be here 100 years from now acting. I will do whatever it takes, I will use the time required, I will climb the ladder.
You have to be busy, it’s in your busyness that you find your real job.
For my career, I do not despise any days, even the days of little beginnings. Every small opportunity, I grab it by the horn and I give it my life because that small opportunity is what will give birth to your mega platform.
How did your role as Ahanna in “Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story” come to be?
One of the references I had when I was being cast for the role of Ahanna was a film I did in 2015 – “The Encounter”. That job was like an audition for this breakthrough.
I had previously attended several auditions organized by Ramsey Noah, including auditions for “Man In A Mirror” and “Living In Bondage: Breaking Free” which I lost, after making it to the third stage. I finally got a call from the line producer of “Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story” during the Lockdown. I was sent scripts for the roles of Ahanna, Nze and Egbe, and then finally got cast as Ahanna.
At the time, I didn’t even care which of the roles I was going to get, all that mattered was that I was a part of the film.
I was on another movie set when I got the news. It was one of the biggest secrets I had ever had to keep, I wanted to scream but I just couldn’t.
What was working on the set of “Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story” like?
I read this script and I start to freak out. I’m wondering okay… so I’m the one who’s going to carry this film? I suddenly started to wonder if I needed to get some training done when I first read the script.
I felt pressured to ‘over-act’ but I immediately reminded myself of my journey. It’s like the same thing I’ve been doing, it’s just on a bigger scale now. When I made mistakes, I reminded myself that normal people also make these mistakes. These things make the film more natural and seamless. When you stutter, it’s normal, so why do people complain when it happens in films?
I decided I was no longer trying to be perfect. I went with my fears and met one of the most amazing directors – Ramsey Noah. It helped so much that we were made to bond on our first few days of rehearsals. I had the most amazing experiences ever with my co-stars. It wasn’t about the acting, we were living the roles. It wasn’t about any character shinning more than the other, we bonded so much, we couldn’t deliver without each other. We all wanted each other’s roles to shine individually.
What was the most challenging thing about being Ahanna?
The late night shoots. We had lots of into-night shoots because of the nature of the film and some of them lasted for as long as 12 hours. It was especially challenging on one cold night when we had to film by the water at Freedom Way, It was freezing.
Hurrying shoots or cutting them short as a result of the curfew may have also made shooting at night a bit challenging.
What should we expect from “Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story”:
Bond like never before. Bonding was a core part of the production set and it was one of the most amazing production I have ever worked on. I felt so safe, like I was a with my buddies.
As expected good picture, sound, action and great performances. The film is more performance driven than action. Ramsey Noah made us look so good!
From his character Ahanna, we are to expect a “sweet bad boy”.
What are your highlights from working on the the film?
I loved everything about shooting this film and I didn’t want it to end. I had the time of my life, but somethings stood out.
I loved the parfait and shrimp salad moments organized by the producers, it complemented all our hard work. I also loved shooting in the centenary city Abuja and all the times I spent with my “Play family”.
One of his favorite scenes to look out for is a Bakery Scene. We’re as anxious as you are for this one.
How do you get inspired to interpret your roles?
For me, I decide the kind of roles I want to play at any time.
I started of with comedy, but I knew I had more. When I felt it was time to change the narrative I started yearning for drama. “The Encounter”, where I had to play a deadly soldier, was what changed the narrative from “that funny boy” to “that wicked boy”.
Sometime last year, I decided I didn’t want to be stereotyped as a “bad boy” anymore, and so I started to take on more “sweet boy” roles. So you should expect a “sweet bad boy” from Ahanna.
Being a producer also makes changing the narrative easier. When I want to be seen in a certain way, I produce films in the same light and take the opportunity to explore that character.
Covid-19 altered a thing or two in our lives, how has it affected you?
It made me and other actors take the backseat and re-evaluate our lives. It enabled me to take some me-time to study and do more training. The pandemic made it clear to me that if I took one day to rest, the world would not stop moving.
What other forms of arts are you interested in?
I am also a singer and a voice over artist. I love abstract painting and find it fascinating how everyone translates abstract art differently. I started singing in the church as a member of the choir. My singing might have always suffered from my acting because I am more passionate about acting.
Who are the actors that inspire you?
Mike Ezuruonye, Ramsey Noah, Mercy Johnson, Genevieve Nnaji, Onyeka Onwenu and Richard Mofe-Damijo. I still look forward to working with Richard Mofe-Damijo so that he can fashion my career a bit more.
How do you spend your free time?
I’m not the type to hang out. I prefer to watch a movie, go on a vacation where no one can reach me or just sleep.
As a matter of fact, you should be careful if you’re going to the club with Stan, he might just sleep off *true story*.
Meet Stan Nze as Ahanna:
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I couldn't even keep calm guys. Excuse my manners 🙈 Now you know who Ahanna is, watch his reaction when he found out 😆 You did it, and you did it well!!! We can’t wait to see you in action AHANNA. This is getting too much 🤧 how many days till November?? 🔥🔥🔥 Don’t forget to catch @StanNze on @PlayNetworkStudios Instagram live at 8:30pm tonight! He can’t wait to share his journey with you; tell you all the feels ❤️ Follow @PlayNetworkStudios for more 💥💥💥 #RattlesnakeTheAhannaStory #PlayNetworkStudios #RS2billi