It is no accident that Michael Wawuyo Jr is an actor.
His father Michael Wawuyo was one. Yet, Wawuyo Sr, an acclaimed actor with a career spanning more than three decades, was against his son’s decision to join the business.
“Daddy wanted me to be a lawyer,” says the 25-year-old actor whose stint in popular miniseries The Hostel has since cast him into the limelight.
Against his father’s will, Wawuyo Jr played Jesus in a school drama at Lohana Academy while in P.4. That role would mark the beginning of what has turned out to be a very promising career in local acting. Wawuyo Jr repeated the same feat while at Makerere College School, starring as Njoroge, from acclaimed writers Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Ngugi wa Mirii’s epic play, I Will Marry When I Want.
The good-looking actor credits the role as his breakthrough.
“I received the loudest standing ovation and that was when everybody realized I could become a great actor,” he says, recalling that several filmmakers approached him for work soon afterwards.
With the point proven, Micheal Jr joined his father in the career that has seen them compete against and complement each other in equal measure. The duo has acted together in over five plays and films. And the son says it is no challenge.
“At home, he is my father and on set, he is a colleague. We can disagree and fight like any other actors at work,” Wawuyo Jr says.
And such fighting is prominent in most of the productions they have appeared together, most notably in The Hostel, where they play opposite characters. Jr plays Brother John, is a born-again student who is in love with a girl called Hope (played by Eleanor Nansibo). Wawuyo Sr is Hope’s father and a serious disciplinarian who will do anything to stop the affair.
“Just yesterday, we shot a scene where he (Sr) confronts me for impregnating Hope. That’s so far the best scene I have ever acted in,” Wawuyo Jr says of a scene from the forthcoming third season of the drama.
The duo has previously appeared together in movies such as The Right to Life, Stone Cold and The Bullion. And Wawuyo Jr is quick to admit his 56-year-old multiple-award winning father is better than him.
“I honestly envy [him]. But I hope to beat him in the next five years,” says the youthful actor, who wants to supplement his bachelor’s degree in Information Science with a Masters degree in Film Production.
As a handsome celebrity, the girls are drawn to Wawuyo Jr, but he keeps a low profile in that regard. But the girls are unfazed; they send him naked pictures of themselves.
For now, Wawuyo has his eyes set on Hollywood, where he yearns to act alongside Denzel Washington. But the youngster is not all about acting. He co-owns a food-supplying company, Osibo and in his free time, he relaxes with his mentally challenged younger sister while listening to music.