The early beginning of Nollywood is arguably traced to the release of the 1992 “Living in Bondage”. Shot straight-to-video in only one month on a budget of just $12,000 (N118,920 at the 1992 exchange rate), this ‘home video’ ended up selling over a million copies, making it the first official Nollywood ‘blockbuster‘.’
Tapping into the local urban legend of human sacrifice for riches, the film told the story of a man who joined a secret cult, gained enormous wealth after killing his wife in a ritual sacrifice and was later haunted by his dead wife’s ghost.
Filmed in Igbo, one of Nigeria’s major languages, with English subtitles, it featured Kanayo O Kanayo, Francis Agu, Kenneth Okonkwo and so many other talented actors. The blockbuster was directed by Chris Obi Rapu, written by Okechukwu Ogunjiofor and Kenneth Nnebue, who also produced the film.
Years later, it remains a fan favorite which explains why people have been waiting for a sequel to this Nollywood classic. The good news is that the wait is almost over. Here is what we know so far about the highly anticipated sequel:
News of sequel was first revealed a few years ago
The first real confirmation of a Living Bondage follow up came in 2015 after actor Ramsey Nouah and his entrepreneur friend, Charles Okpaleke, acquired the license from Nnebue.
Explaining the need to acquire the rights to this iconic movie, Okpaleke, the executive producer said, “Living In Bondage is the single most compelling; most consequential movie franchise in the history of the Nigerian film industry. It is the movie which in 1992 birthed the Nigerian movie industry that is today universally known as Nollywood; an industry that is now the world’s second-largest, most prolific film industry. Need I say more.”
The sequel — “Living in Bondage: Breaking Free” — tells the story of Nnamdi, Andy Okeke’s mysterious son. His quest for the lavish life takes him down the same questionable path his father took.
It is written by Nicole Asinugo and C.J. Obasi. Principal photography and shooting, reportedly done in Lagos, Owerri, Durban and South Africa, started in July 2018.
Marks the official directorial debut of Ramsey Nouah
The sequel is being directed by Nollywood veteran actor Nouah. Commenting on his debut, he said, “I could not have asked for a bigger platform on which to make my directorial debut. From the power of this story, the intensity of the script, the cache of the cast and the quality of my technical support, there is no story as fascinating as Living In Bondage: Breaking Free."
“It is truly the movie maker’s dream project — and I should know working on both sides of the camera. I cannot wait to pack cinema seats with this true movie magical work.”
He joins a growing list of Nollywood star actors that have made their directorial debut. This includes Genevieve Nnaji, Desmond Elliot, Kunle Afolayan and Uche Jombo.
Don't worry, you will see the original cast
Who wants to see a Living Bondage sequel without Kenneth Okonkwo as Andy? Nobody. Thankfully, the recently released teaser features some of the original cast members like Kenneth Okonkwo, Kanayo O. Kanayo and Bob Manuel Udokwu.
Additions to the cast of the sequel include Ramsey Nouah, who is reportedly taking up a villainous role. There’s also Enyinna Nwigwe, Alexx Ekubo, Nancy Isime and Munachi Abii.
“We’re trying to catch the demography of today who go to the cinema [and those who] have not seen the original movie. So we were trying to kind of blend it,” Nuaoh stated.
We won't have to wait long to see this sequel as it is set to be released on November 8, 2019.
Will it do well in cinemas?
There are two ways this could go, it could either surpass the original (which rarely happens because those are always placed on a pedestal) or it could turn out to be a poorly disguised remake with a bunch of new faces.
We still have high hopes regardless of these odds. Here is why: for one, the movie has a cult following, a lot of fans who can still recite lines from memory. These will be the ones standing first in line at the counter to get their tickets. The second reason is the naysayers who see no need for a sequel. This group will go to the theatres if only to point out all the mistakes they can find.
With all these people ready to go see the movie and the fact that the plot for the sequel seems to be a continuation of the original story, we predict a huge win. One that can probably be likened to The Wedding Party sequel which grossed N512 million while the original made only N453 million. Don't you agree?