Roots producers had identified John Amos for a simple role in the movie, but proved distinguished>/b>
It was like a scene from UTVâ€™s popular 1980s Roots mini-series. Only that this time round, it was too real to be true. â€œIs he the real guy here?â€ many wondered loudly
It was like a scene from UTVâ€™s popular 1980s Roots mini-series. Only that this time round, it was too real to be true. â€œIs he the real guy here?â€ many wondered loudly in astonishment.
John Amos â€˜Kunte Kinteâ€™, a star in a landmark TV mini-series that traced the black experience in America through the struggles of one family from slavery to freedom, is in Uganda.
Amos, a New Jersey-based producer and actor, touched down at Entebbe Airport on Sunday night to explore and open Ugandaâ€™s potential in the film industry.
The 50-year-old, who crowds mobbed at Hotel Africana in Kampala, envisages opening Africaâ€™s best ultra-modern producing firm in Uganda.
â€œIâ€™m targeting all Ugandans â€“ those already in the film industry or drama groups. University students trained in MDD can easily be tapped for film acting, writing and producing. There are also some rural groups with untapped talent. Iâ€™m to study them and establish how to improve their ideas,â€ he says.
Amos learnt about Uganda through United African Federation for all Africans living in America president Abbey Walusimbi, a California-based Ugandan who has gone international about creating awareness that the countryâ€™s potential in the film industry is worth investing in.
â€œIâ€™m very grateful to Abbey Walusimbi for bringing me to Africa, especially the Pearl of Africa. I feel I have found my roots at last. I promise, Ugandans willing to work with me are to benefit,â€ Amos assures.
Amos made his theatrical debut in the Los Angeles production of Norman, Is That You? and was promptly nominated by the Los Angeles Drama Critics for Best Actor. He was key actor of TV comedies Good Times and In the House. He appeared in the Tough To Get Help and Split Second that won him the NAACP Award as Best Actor.
He has received accolades and ovations at Englandâ€™s prestigious Bristol Old Vic in the outstanding The Life and Death of a Buffalo Soldier.
He starred in My Babyâ€™s Daddy (2004), Die Hard 2 (1990), Coming to America (1988) and in For Better or Worse (1996), among others.
Amos, who grew up in a single parent family, attributes his success to determination, persistence and Godâ€™s love.
â€œThe Almighty gave me the courage and confidence to exploit my potential in acting.â€
His mother was a housemaid, who at 45 years old pursued a diploma in catering and got a better deal with a government hospital as a caterer.
â€œMy childhood was challenging. I didnâ€™t see my dad till I was four years old. I met him again when I was 18. He left my mummy pregnant,â€ Amos, a second-born in a family of three, recounts.
â€œMadam Anne Belle, my mother, could struggle to get us a living. She could do all sorts of income-generating work you may think of.
â€œWhen I completed high school I pursued a diploma in TV presentation and worked before joining film production and acting. I can act anything. The moment I see you, I develop a story I can act. I was also a writer,â€ says Amos.
His skills in TV presentation opened his way into the world.
â€œWhen I entered real acting, everybody was so eager for my film,â€ he says.
Roots producers had identified Amos to act a minor role but his distinguished talent during auditioning secured him a major role in the series.
He was so real and touching.
Amosâ€™ abortive venture to trace his roots in Liberia before the acting role was another blessing in disguise, as it closely liked him to the task in the series.
â€œI tried to trace my roots in northern Liberia but I failed because my slave parents didnâ€™t leave any documents. So, if these people of Uganda are ready to accept me, Iâ€™m very ready and I have to show them that there is real money behind the camera,â€ he says.
Amos is divorced with two children, Shannon Amos who is a producer and K.C. Amos, a director in his film company.
â€œIf I come back to Uganda, I expect to come with them to develop the countryâ€™s film industry,â€ Amos says.
Kunte Kinte eyes Uganda