It was an anti-climax for Nollywood superstar Genevieve Nnaji a.k.a Genny after she flew to London for last weekend’s premier of the movie of the moment, Half of a Yellow Sun, only to fall sick and miss the big event.
The cruel fate that befell Genevieve, who plays Ms. Adebayo in the world acclaimed movie, was disclosed by the director, Biyi Bandele, who said they missed Genny at the premiere. According to Bandele in a post on his Facebook wall on Sunday, “Just got back from the BFI London Film Festival European premiere of Half of a Yellow Sun at the Odeon West End. Humbled and moved by the rapturous reception the audience gave it. It was also great to see the hardest working actor on our hemisphere, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and the great John Boyega, and the amazing Babou Ceesay, and the one and only Onyeka Onwenu. And Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, of course. Without whom… We missed Thandie, who is on location in Vancouver. We missed Genevieve, who flew in for the premiere and promptly went down with a flu (mind yourself o, London weather). What a night though. What a night.”
One of the most eagerly awaited films to come out of Africa in recent years, Half of a Yellow Sun is a British-Nigerian production based on the 2006 award-winning novel of the same title by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It is about the Nigeria-Biafra war of 1967 to 1970 but “is essentially a love story set in the war,” according to Bandele.
It focuses on two wealthy sisters, Olanna (Thandie Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni Rose), who, upon returning from their UK education, choose two completely different lives.
“Newton’s Olanna gives up her social status to live with the radical academic Odenigbo (Ejiofor), whilst Rose’s Kainene becomes a successful businesswoman who falls in love with an English writer. Betrayals threaten to tear the sisters apart but soon they are both in the middle of the civil war turbulence,” says CNN in its review of the film.
Shot in Calabar and Creek Town in South-South Nigeria, Half of a Yellow Sun reportedly cost $8 million (about N1.2 billion).