Jacob is no longer a stranger in the industry. His charisma and manner of delivery of lines are legendary drawing his admiration from fans.
His infectious baritone and interpretation of roles are a director’s delight.He then starred in various British television shows and series in the 1970s,In the 1980s Jacobs starred in several international films some of which include John Irvin's war film The Dogs of War, Roman Polanski's adventure-comedy Pirates and the family-adventure film Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend. Jacobs has starred in over 120 Nollywood films he is now a bridge between the old and the new,And a motivator to the youths.
Q=Can you tell us a little about your earlier life?
A-I attended a drama school in England called The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. “After I finished, I worked with various repertoire theaters in Britain and I’m a member of National Theater of Great Britain. I worked with some of the television stations in London and at a stage, I decided to come back home because I felt I have reached a zenith level and that my country had the potential of being so great too. So, I came back to Nigeria in early 80s and we started Third Eye”.
My father didn't abide with me Likewise many of his colleagues, And also my family was not happy with me I chosen to study Dramatic Arts.at the age when actors were seen as never do wells in the society,But I knew what I wanted and stuck to it. “ I left Nigeria in 1964. Then, there was nobody in Nigeria to look up to, all the people I looked at were people outside the country The entertainment profession was not professional as such in Nigeria then and the only professional company we had was Ogunde and he inspired me a lot. Before then, my brothers used to take me to cinemas and I used to enjoy myself a lot. I was also taking part in school plays and drama. But when I said I was going to study drama, my parents did not like it and my dad said, ‘no’. When I got to England I wrote him a lengthy letter and said, sorry, sir am going to study Drama.
And because I had already started, he gave in. when I came back, there was no home movies in the country, it was stressful and the fees of artist was very low. NTA was only beginning to increase the fees of artists and people were only getting interested in acting. Meanwhile, my own company was doing stage plays and documentaries. Gradually, series on television started properly before we entered the home movies. It was stressful then.”
The first movie I did was produced by (AA) production and it was called Vigilante. We were paid very little for it and starred RMD and Mama D.
We had problems then looking for locations because people were not used to giving out their homes to people. They were very suspicious and we had to write letters to the Association of Landlords telling them what we were doing, where and when we would do it, for them to be aware of it.
Q=How does your friends feel about that?
A-my friends tried to discourage me from acting because they believed acting was not a profession and should only be taken as a hobby. “People enjoyed it then but they did not respect it. They enjoyed it?, yes, but you have to get another job, they would tell you it’s not a job. But all my life, I’ve done nothing else except acting and productions. It is a profession, that is what I want people to understand. I had a friend who actually wanted me to help run a company, then. I asked him if he wanted me to be happy and he said, yes.
I told him to invest in a company for us to do productions. But, unfortunately, the company did not see the light of the day. I also had few friends that believed in me and gradually the society started catching up with the fact that it is an honorable profession and not for dropouts. But when I want to do something, nobody stops me and that was why I went to England to learn how to do it properly and help my country out.
Q=What does your relationship with wife look like?
A-My wife and I are able to stick together in such a demanding profession and you will be surprised at the transformation on his face. His eyes shone as he went down memory lane with a smile. “ I met my wife in 1981, I was having a meeting about a production in National Theater when the door opened and this beautiful lady walked in. Immediately, I said ladies and gentlemen, this is the lady I am going to marry.
She just looked at me and left, after that we became friends and five years later got married. Our marriage is built on trust, friendship, love, respect and understanding. When you trust somebody, you won’t have reasons to doubt her when she tells you she is doing this or that. If you respect her, you would not be wondering what she is doing. Presently, my wife is in London and I am in Nigeria, I trust her in whatever she is doing and where she goes.
If we are on set together, I see her as a character and the relationship between us is that of the characters we are playing at that particular moment. But when we finish, I would call her and say, my dear come and we go back to being husband and wife. If my wife sees me kissing a younger girl in movies, she understands and when she kisses, don’t I understand? It’s a job and does not go beyond the job”, he said, laughing.
Q=Does your kids understand this?
I have two sons, they understand what we are doing and that we have to travel from time to time. We have relations that take care of them if we have to travel together and we call them always from where we are. Things have a way of working out once there is interest, love and you bring your children up explaining to them.
They are quite happy, they know what we do and that because of our job we have to travel from time to time. If my five year-old son saw me kissing a lady on movie, he would say, ‘mmh, Dad you are kissing’. I would tell him she is my friend in the play. Now, what I want to do is give them sound education to be able to choose what they want. Then if they want to fellow my footsteps, fine.”
Q-What is your Ambition
A-My ambition is to get a good studio and to continue to develop and expand the market. And to see every good film that is made go into the market and at least attract over five million customers. I look forward to when I would do a film and it would sell six million copies because we have the market for it already!