Directed by Michael ‘Ama Psalmist’ Akinrogunde (Ghost and the Tout Too) and narrated by Teniola Aladese (Superstar), the King of Boys documentary is another exclusive Netflix title co-produced by Kemi Adetiba.
Making of a King features a number of interviews with players involved in the project from idea conception to screening of the original KOB, and its eventual successor, The Return of the King on Netflix. They include industry colleagues like BB Sasore (God Calling), Mimi Bartels (head of production FilmOne); cast members like Sola Sobowale, Deyemi Okanlawon, Illbliss, Toni Tones, Richard Mofe-Damijo, and crew members like Remi Adetiba, Colette Olutesho; super fans of the franchise, amongst many others, who all had an experience with the Kemi Adetiba-led project.
The original KOB was groundbreaking, as the narrator says early in the documentary, “KOB redefined Nollywood”; the story, its commercial success, eventually leading to Netflix’s first Nollywood series. However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing all through the development of what would eventually birth a devoted fandom, KOBArmy—there were doubts, the movie didn’t almost premiere, illnesses, technical challenges but, eventually, the conception of a whole new world that could still be explored beyond the main character in the future.
So, how did KOB happen after Kemi Adetiba’s record-breaking The Wedding Party? Here are some of the biggest revelations from the recently released documentary:
Meeting her lead, Sola Sobowale
Kemi Adetiba Met Sola Sobowale during the Audition of The Wedding Party
Both stars met during the audition of Kemi Adetiba’s debut film. According to Sola Sobowale, it almost didn’t happen as she was close to missing the audition. Dressed for the part due to an earlier commitment, Sola Sobowale did away with the script and improvised through the audition, but all to success as she would eventually play Adesua’s mother in the original Wedding Party movie. However, at this time, KOB did not exist, not even as an idea. Eventually, the lightbulb moment for KOB occurred after the premiere of The Wedding Party. A friend imagined Sola Sobowale, who plays the bride’s mother in The Wedding Party, playing a “badass” character. This moment sparked an idea in Kemi Adetiba.
The Writing Process for the Original KOB Was a Long one
Kemi Adetiba took her time writing this script because of how complex the characters are; and the potential spinoff for the rounded characters is a testament to the work that went into it. First to read the 17-page script, which she was able to come up with, were Banky W, whom she previously worked with on The Wedding Party and Tola Odunsi, web series maestro. They were very supportive. Another person who saw the script around this time was Remi Adetiba, her brother and a producer on the original movie. The first doubt raised about the project was because of the things the story could potentially touch as a political drama.
Meeting Young Eniola Salami
Toni Tones Slid Into the DM for an Audition
After reading about the project online, Toni Tones approached Kemi Adetiba in her DM and requested an audition, which Adetiba granted. Tones would eventually audition for Kemi, and in what was a “painful call” for the team, the role ended up going to Adesua Etomi-Wellington because she has the more innocent face. This wasn’t the end. As they still sought for a younger Eniola Salami quite close to the start of shooting, Kemi Adetiba remembered Tones, and suggested this new role to her. The difference in complexion between Sola Sobowale and Toni Tones led to the addition of new lines at the opening scenes of the movie, when a party guest insults Eniola for bleaching her skin: “Kini? tani skin e n glow? Eleyi radarada to ti bo gbogbo ibesi aye e tan yi, to ri bi turkey Gambia yi”. Toni Tones gained weight, cracked her voice, and shadowed Sola Sobowale. In the end, it worked. It is also worthy to mention that Toni Tones said she originally learnt yoruba for this role; also with the help of Kemi Adetiba’s dad.
Challenges During Production
According to Remi Adetiba, a producer on the project, the project wasn’t executed on time or on budget. Giving an example, delivery of props for an all-important robbery scene in the original was delayed despite other resources—location, actors, extras—being on ground. Right before the premiere, they also experienced computer issues as they wanted to export the final product to show the invited guests. Cancel or not cancel? No. The film would only be ready a few hours before the premiere. Due to the technical difficulties and Kemi Adetiba not being a fan of her own movie premieres, this would be a very nerve-racking evening for her as the team salvaged the situation. At the end of the emotional night, the three-and-a-half-hour film received a positive response from the audience.
The Power of Word of Mouth
From the challenging but successful premiere, moved to the equally challenging opening day, viewers enjoyed the lengthy film, and their reaction on social media would only encourage more people to see the movie. The film was so successful that queues were formed at the cinema as viewers wanted to avoid missing seeing the film. From there on, it only got higher and higher for KOB. Demand was so high, cinemas had to take out other movies in order to provide more slots for the potential KOB numbers. What they had hoped they would make at the end of the film’s run was made in 10 days.
Kemi Adetiba Initially Wanted to do Without a Sequel
After the success of the first movie, everyone around her thought the next logical step would be a sequel, but that wasn’t the case for Kemi Adetiba. She wasn’t much about the money, but about whether she had the inspiration to make another one. Eventually, the moment would arrive during a personal “champagne” time with her brother, who didn’t want to make another movie although he hoped Kemi Adetiba would make one. However, he would eventually come on board as a consulting producer, and then as a remote full producer after the intended producer dropped out due to scheduling reasons.
Kemi Adetiba was ill for close to six months as they were getting into production for the sequel. This got her family and friends worried. Bedridden during this period, as she gradually came out of it, she rewrote the Return of the King script within two weeks.
The Malta Guiness Stay at Home Challenge
This challenge called people to post videos of themselves auditioning. This challenge produced supporting actors like Tope Olowonoyan who plays Aisha Banjo and Jide ‘JBlaze’ who plays Bolaji in the sequel.
Complications during the Production of KOB 2
They kicked off the first day of shooting with an accident on set. Efa Iwara’s lip got busted and it all had to be fixed in post production. Another problem was COVID and its complications; the costs of daily tests and a COVID scare made them lose an entire day. Lastly, the EndSARS protest also affected the shooting due to the blockage of certain areas which meant they couldn’t reach locations. At some point during a lockdown due to the tollgate violence, the entire team had to camp at the hotel without knowing what would happen at the end of it all.
With Sola Sobowale ready to keep roaring until part ten, this might just be the beginning for KOBArmy.
What was the biggest reveal as you watched? Share your thoughts in the comments section or on our social media accounts.
The Making of a King is currently streaming on Netflix.