If there is a saying Anorld Mubangizi should consider his favourite then, “Fall down seven times and stand up eight” is the ideal one. Mubangizi has always wanted to be an actor, thanks to his mother Keloy Kemigisha, an actress and makeup artist.
Mubangizi says it all began when his mother would take him along while she worked on different sets as an actress or makeup artist for the cast members. “Moving with my mother made me love acting although I never saw myself at any point becoming an actor,” Mubangizi says.
Twelve times, Mubangizi auditioned to be part of Ugandan movies but out of the 12, he only succeeded twice. “The first time, I auditioned for the Last King of Scotland. I passed the auditions although I did not get a big role,” Mubangizi recalls.
He goes on to say that during shooting, he was among the people they told to walk around as passersby for the whole day. However, this did not deter him from pursuing his passion. He kept his head high, looking out for other opportunities.
“Whenever I went to audition for a movie, I would come out at the bottom. I could not even get a role as a passerby,” Mubangizi recalls.
He adds that during this time of disappointment, the only other role he managed to get was to feature for at least one minute in the last episode of the hit TV show Deception.
Landing the 27 Guns role
Early last year, Mubangizi’s mother tipped him of an audition for a movie taking place in Mutungo, a Kampala suburb. “I did not want to go for the auditions since I have always been left out but I was encouraged to give it one last shot,” he recalls.
When he arrived at the venue, he found many renowned actors and actresses and once again, he thought that he did not stand a chance. “I found actors such as Micheal Wawuyo Jr, Sarah Kisawuzi of Deception and Cleopatra Koheirwe, among others,” he says.
Since he was already there, Mubangizi decided to stay and see what God would bring his way. ‘‘During the auditions, we were asked to act a skit of a tough soldier trying to get classified information from his subordinate,” Mubangizi reminisces, adding that after the audition, he was surprised to be confirmed among those who had passed to act in the movie.
Weight of the story
After being told that he was on the team of actors, he also came to learn that the movie will revolve around President Museveni, the liberation war to overthrow Milton Obote’s government and how he subsequently took over leadership of Uganda in 1986. For a moment he was just happy that he had landed a role in such an important movie until he it was revealed that he would be the lead actor and would portray President Museveni.
“When they said I would act as the President, I became nervous. I started doubting my abilities and thought that they had chosen me for the role perhaps because of my close resemblance to the President during the early 1980s,” Mubangizi says with a smile. He adds that during preparations, he was allowed to meet President Museveni and spend a day with him for purposes of getting to know him better and ease role play.
The movie, was shot over a period of 90 days (from August 8, 2017) by a company called Isaiah 60 Productions. Shooting took place in Mpigi/ Singo, Buikwe and Kampala. “We spent two months in Mpigi and Buikwe and the other remaining parts were shot in Kampala. During this time, we never got time to come back home apart from when we were shooting in Kampala,” he says.
“During the first weeks of shooting, I wanted to quit because I felt that President Museveni’s shoes were too big to fill. With my inexperience, I felt that I was not the right person for the role,” Mubangizi recounts, adding, “With the help of the producers, directors and the cast, I managed to adapt to the situation and became comfortable.”
He adds that as the days went by, he started enjoying his role and at times felt proud; he was doing the things he had always seen in action movies and this was a dream come true.
After being part of 27 Guns, Mubangizi says he is now knowledgeable about the liberation story and it is quite inspiring. “With ‘Mzee’s’ story, I got to know about the heroes of Uganda and how much they sacrificed for the freedom we enjoy today,” Mubangizi says.
On a lighter side, he says the action scenes helped him learn how to be a soldier, not in real life but in any movie that requires one to act as a soldier.
Who is Anorld Mubangizi?
He was born 24 years ago to Jackson Kyelikunga, a Real Estate Dealer and Keloy Kemigisha, an actress and make-up artist. He is the first born of two boys.
Mubangizi attended Buganda Road Primary School then went to St Peters’ Secondary School Nsambya where he completed his A-Level. Because his passion was in Arts and Crafts, he did not join university and instead joined Crane Shoes in Industrial Area where he studied crafts making.
During the launch of the movie a few weeks ago at 3D Cinema in Naalya, President Museveni (below), who attended the premiere, said the movie reminded him of his youthful days and made him very happy. “I thank my daughter, Natasha for reminding me of my story and also for bringing me back to the cinema. It has been 49 years since I came to the cinema and because of 27 Guns, I am here now,” he said at the launch.