Actor Deyemi Okanlawon Opens Up About Not Getting the Role in ‘Woman King’

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The Woman King was without a doubt one of 2022’s biggest box office hits. One of Nigeria’s own, Jimmy Odukoya, played the role of Oba Ade in the Hollywood-produced film about a truly African tale, and he killed it.

Many people are unaware that Jimmy Odukoya wasn’t the only Nollywood actor to apply for the part. Deyemi Okanlawon, a fellow actor and the highest-earning Nollywood actor, also went through the casting process for the role of Oba Ade in The Woman King, but as we all know, Jimmy Odukoya ultimately won the part.

Now, during a new interview with The Cover, Deyemi Okanlawon talks about how he felt about losing out that role to Jimmy Odukoya and the changes that it has made in his own life. Here is what Deyemi said.

During the interview, Deyemi was asked “Jimmy Odukoya landed a major role in American blockbuster, Woman King starring Viola Davis, Lashana Lynch and Angelique Kidjo. How did you feel for him?” He responded:

DEYEMI: Super proud.

“You know, it’s not a lot of people whose egos or energy can take that kind of joy for someone else. Did you also audition for the role?”

DEYEMI: Yes, I did audition for it but the moment we found out that he had gotten the part? It made sense. I’m like WHO ELSE? Bro, you deserve it! He was ready for that role.

“What do you mean, ready?”

DEYEMI: Acting skill wise, his physique, his look, you know, he just he was ready for that role and I sincerely believe that what’s yours comes to you, especially when you put in the effort, when you’ve laid the groundwork and it just made sense. When I saw it, I was like, Dude, it’s yours and I was with him throughout the period on video calls just to see what a Hollywood set looks like and live curiously through his experience.

“Did that inspire you?”

DEYEMI: Of course it did! For me, it was like, “Okay so there’s a possibility. Now, there’s an opportunity here you know. The door has been opened, let’s kick that door down”. So my targets have sort of changed and mv career goals have sort of been adjusted because of what I’ve seen happen with him.

“Is that part of the inspiration behind this body because you’ve been getting ripped, going to the gym, working out and currently on some kind of meal plan situation.”

DEYEMI: Jimmy has always inspired me to hit the gym and he’s brutal at the gym so I don’t like going to the gym with him but he’s definitely been a source of inspiration for that. Then, it occurred to me that instead of waiting until there’s a role that requires some kind of physical fitness, why not just be prepared all through the year until my mind changed from working out because of work and making this into a lifestyle. I’ve been at it for a few months and I mean, I’ve seen results. I’m really excited.

What do you think about what Deyemi said? Do you think he would have also done a good job as Oba Ade or do you think it went to the right person?

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