Gabriel Afolayan: Actor is happy playing role of a dog in "Sade," Nigeria's first animation movie

In this interview with Pulse, Gabriel Afolayan talks about landing his role as a dog character, his experience and impact of the project on his career.

In "Sade," Gabriel plays the role of a dog, known as Big Joe, who can be likened to an animal with street credibility.

"Sade" has historical importance because it is the first Nigerian animated movie to feature an all Nigerian cast with a musical inclusion.

From Jimi Solanke to Nobert Young, Bimbo Manuel, Ngozi Nwosu, Biodun Aleja, Jude Orhorha, Yemi Shodimu, Judith Audu, Kate Adepegba and Deji Adenuga, the animated movie is poised to make a statement on its release.

To few Nigerians and international movie buffs, who heard about the animated movie during the last Cannes Festival and Toronto Film Festival, "Sade" isn't just another animation movie, it tells the true story of a Nigerian girl and her dog.

Gabriel Afolayan feels honoured and blessed to be a part of the project which he considers a landmark, a game changer and a reference point in the history of Nigeria filmmaking.

In this interview with Pulse, the actor from the the Afolayan movie family, talks about landing the role, his experience on being a part of such a huge project, and its impact on his career.

Reaction after getting the role of Big Joe

I was excited when I was called to play the character and for the fact that actors are known for their faces and bodies but when it comes to animation, it has to do with the voice. I may not have the voice but I may have the face and my face can cover for my voice in a regular movie but in animation, face can’t even save you so it’s all about the voice.

Playing the role Big Joe

Big Joe is that kind of character you can liken to street credibility kinda person. When you see Joe, you see the street, when you see Joe, you see a dog though small but filled with experience, you know, he’s been the street for a while and has seen it all. He’s the type of dog that has journeyed from Mushin to Lekki, so it’s a big character in a small body. It’s more like a anchor man to the real dog that the story is weaved around.

Difference between animation and regular movie

So going through the vocal exercise was one of those things I cherish the most because it felt like I have done it before and it’s actually my very first time doing a full length major animated movie. I’m pretty excited about it and I thank God that I was able to position myself where I was found to play the character.

Excitement getting a role in an animation movie

It’s an animation and that alone is exciting. I have seen a lot of animations and I have heard voices and heard so much but now me being in that position to drop something that would probably be a game changer in terms of animation, I am looking forward to that.

New doors opening

Right now, I can sit down and make so much money without changing and going to locations back and forth, all I need is your studio, hook me up, let me get the character background and I will do it and that is it but we thank God all the same.

Financial rewards for the role

First thing you need to understand about showbiz and acting is that it is a job that passion comes first, even if the big money is coming from somewhere, it is based on something that you have done before that you weren’t paid for, so looking at that, we are okay. Of course it can be better but because of the structure of the industry, things are the way they are but at least, what everyone needs to do is up your game. Every actor needs to develop him or herself personally and any big thing meant to be yours will always find you when it arrives.

Reaction if you weren’t part of Sade’s cast

It will hurt me so much if I was omitted out of Sade because I would keep feeling I would have done this or done that but I am grateful to God that I was right where I was supposed to be when I was called for the job. It’s a landmark, it’s a game changer and it’s a reference point in the history of Nigeria filmmaking and this might be the first Nigerian animation that will open us to the world and if I’m able to get into hollywood anytime soon, this will definitely be part of my resume.

Next move

For me, it’s not about the jobs anymore, it’s about the platform that the jobs are going to play that matters now because you can be in the industry for so long and perform for so long but if those performances does not see the better light of day, which is something been seen doing more of the regular things you have done and I am thankful to God for that.


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