Dayo Okeniyi stars in ‘Terminator Genisys’

Dayo Okeniyi
Dayo Okeniyi (Photo by Michael Melendy for Steed Media Service)

Rolling out’s Saba Gee caught up with Nigerian actor Dayo Okeniyi to hear about his thoughts on his new role in the newly released Terminator Genisys, how he got cast for the part and what the Nigerian community has to say about him working in Hollywood.

Check out a recap from the interview below.

What can you tell us about your role in the film?

I play Danny Dyson in the movie, who is the son of Miles Dyson, of course. Miles is a famous inventor of Cyberdyne industries. Danny is on the cusp of taking over his father’s reins. He is a very ambitious and brilliant young man. He is a very small of a big machine, and doesn’t realize how important he is with what he is doing. He is a very small [part] of a big machine, and doesn’t realize how important he is with what he is doing.

What was your experience like with Terminator growing up as a teen?

Terminator has always been a part of my life from the first down to the second one. I am a huge fan of both films, but I actually like the first one more. The second one was when Cameron came back and had the bigger budget making it such a big spectacle of a movie. I loved the first one more because of the slow burning style of storytelling used in the film. There was a lot of intensity in setting up what was going to happen. The pace of the film was great for me. I have loved Terminator forever. I thought the movie came out as a kid when I was in Nigeria, but we were just being and got stuff late. To be in this movie is just amazing to me.

If you could go back to 1984 what would you be doing?

I am a hip-hop head. There were a lot of things going on in 1984 in terms of the Hip-hop scene. It was still being molded and shaped, so it was more authentic then. I probably would have gone to a De La Soul concert. The feeling of being there must have been crazy, because it wasn’t that many out like him.

Being that we are in a digital age and people are glued to technology, what are some of the things you do in your every day life to step away from it?

I wouldn’t say every day, put it’s good to purge yourself off sites like Instagram and Twitter every now and then. I wait until the end of the year. I go back home to Nigeria for Christmas and spend time in my village with family. There are nothing but mud huts and food can-tines with no internet. That is kind of a way for me to step away an recognize what is actually real in this world. When I go home I feel re-energized, because I am constantly reminded of who I am and why I do what I do. I believe that technology is going to do a lot more good for us then it is going to do bad.

How does the Nigerian community feel about your success in Hollywood as opposed to you working in Nollywood back home?

There are definitely a lot more people wanting me to do more work in Nollywood, but my situation was very unusual and I feel blessed. I was in college in America and had just moved to the States and was on the cusp of graduating. At that time, I decided I was going to give acting a legitimate shot, which is why I did not go home. I was here and Hollywood was right there in front of me. I wanted to try Hollywood for a year and see how I would do. If I had [gone] to school in Nigeria, I probably would have done the same thing there. It just so happened that I was pretty successful right away in the states. For me, I really don’t care about the size of the [role]. As long as the character I play is good and the people making the movie are truly invested in the story, then that’s all I care about. As a Black actor in Hollywood we are forced to chase quality over quantity, because there aren’t that many roles for us.

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