‘I expect Rattlesnake to surpass Living in Bondage’

by Araayo Akande

The Executive producer of ‘Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story’, Charles Okpaleke, expects the movie to surpass the success of ‘Living in Bondage: Breaking Free’.

Okpaleke, who is also the CEO of Play Network Studios, remade the Nollywood classic that grossed over ₦140 million within a few weeks of its release and planned to release ‘Rattlesnake’ in November stated this during a recent Zoom meeting.

He said that apart from surpassing the success of ‘Living in Bondage’, the movie would also honour the late Amaka Igwe who produced the original in 1994.

Also speaking, Director, Ramsey Nouah said Play Network decided to remake ‘Rattlesnake’ because Okpaleke strongly believes in it as a work of art.

He said, “His vision is to do remakes of classic Nollywood stories. So with the success of ‘Living in Bondage’, he felt like we should try the others. I want to say I’m delighted and pleased to be a part of this project.

Actor Stan Nze, who plays the titular Ahanna, said that from reading the script, he felt challenged to put in his best.

Osas Ighodaro, who also plays a lead role, disclosed that she put in her best during the shoot. “It was a team effort, so once we tapped into that bond, it was easy to get into character. It just became a beautiful moment that will resonate through the project,” she said.

The producer, Chris Odeh, explained that apart from bringing a cultural value to the film industry and drumming up nostalgia, the film will celebrate the late Igwe.

He added that “in making the film, ideas just kept coming up. Rattlesnake is very important, especially from my perspective. It is a strong coming of age story that resonates with a lot of us. One thing that resonated with us in the original ‘Living in Bondage’ was the fact that it reminded us of that nostalgia. The film also puts a deserving honour on Amaka Igwe, who is an icon, who is responsible for a lot of the people you call stars today.”
He revealed that they took all necessary health and safety measures to protect the cast and crew from COVID-19 during the shoot.

“We made sure to advise people on health consciousness and the need to sanitise their hands. We registered with a clinic and had a medic who was on set constantly. Even with an assistant at some point. Every hour we took temperature, every hour we sanitised our hands. If you step out of the perimeter and you are coming back in, you sanitise your hands. We just made sure we maintained a very health conscious habit,” Odeh said.

The Zoom meeting also featured a screening of scenes from ‘Rattlesnake, the Ahanna Story’.

Written by Nicola Asinugo, the movie features Stan Nze (Ahanna), Osas Ighodaro, Elma Mbadiwe, Sunny Mcdon, Brutus Richard, Tobi Bakre, Gloria Anozie Young, Norbert Young, Fred Amata, Ejike Asiegbu, and others.

Okpaleke’s Play Network Africa remade ‘Living in Bondage’ and has acquired rights to other Nollywood classics including ‘Nneka the Pretty Serpent’, ‘Glamour Girls’ and the ‘Osuofia’ franchise.

‘Rattlesnake’ was initially released in 1995 and directed by the late Amaka Igwe, with Austin Awulonu as the producer. It centres on the young Ahanna Okolo (Francis Duru) who becomes involved in crime following the death of his father and some other unfortunate events.

The original features Nkem Owoh, Anne Njemanze, Ebele Uzochukwu, Bob Manuel, Okey Igwe, Julius Agwu, Ernest Obi, Ejike Metusaleh, Uche Odoputa, Okey Okoronkwo, Tony One week, Stella Damasus, Genevieve Nnaji and Chris Okotie.

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