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Christia Visser on 'The Recce'


Christia Visser is a natural, who has quietly ratcheted up an impressive collection of performances with lead roles in Hollywood in my Huis, Tess, Girl from Nowhere and supporting roles in Ballade vir 'n Enkeling, Alison, Last Ones Out and now The Recce. Having seen most of her feature films, one can be forgiven for thinking you know her, testament to her terrific ability to bring you alongside her characters.

Her latest film, a war drama called The Recce (opens nationwide 28 September), directed by Ferdinand Van Zyl, finds her playing Nicola Viljoen, a wife struggling with the idea that her combatant husband may not return home. Spling caught up with Visser to find out more...

How did you come to be involved in this project?

I auditioned.

Can you tell us a bit about your character - was there any resonance for you?

I play the role of Nicola Viljoen, the wife of the recce, Henk. There was a lot of resonance for me. Nicola is an incredibly strong woman, she has her own opinions about the war, she's not oblivious at all... she fights for her husband and unborn child, for love. She is so many women that I know.

The Recce - Nicola Viljoen

How did you prepare for the role?

That is always a difficult question as I don't have a recipe. For Nicola, I used the unknown to fuel her fear, everything she does not know about the war and exactly what happens there... like me, she's only heard stories.

What did you learn from your time shooting The Recce? Would you be interested in doing more war films of this nature, why?

I think every time you shoot on a different project, you work with new people, you push yourself a little further and you learn... I don't think it's something you can necessarily pinpoint or put into words. I have to say that The Recce was a beautiful experience for me, it's amazing to work with a group of people you admire and trust.

Yes, all stories deserve to be told and no one is ever exactly like the other.

It looks like a labour of love involving blood, sweat, mud and tears - what was the most challenging aspect of your performance?

Most challenging for me personally was playing a pregnant woman, I've never been pregnant, so I had to remind myself constantly that there's life inside me... I had to learn to move differently and feel different... the extra weight helped for the most part.

The Recce - Nicola Viljoen

What is your most cherished memory from ‘The Recce’?

Playing in a sprinkler with Greg Kriek... we had so much fun doing the flashback scenes, we got to drink lemonade and chase each other around the yard, like kids!

What do you think audiences will take away from the experience?

I think it'll bring a deeper sense of understanding. The film jumps into the deep emotional side of war, a side we try to overlook as humans. I may never know what my family members went through... I can only try my utmost to understand.

You've undertaken a number of challenging roles... do you feel that these performances help you grow as a person?

Definitely... I get to go to places Christia would never go... it gives me a better understanding of myself and others... I get to test my limits every time.

You seem to live and breathe through your characters, how do you shake off some of the more intense ones?

Sometimes it takes time to shake it off, but for me, the trick is to let it be what it is, don't force it out, live it out... I am also extremely fortunate to have incredibly supportive family and friends, they always remind me who I really am and they are patient with me.

What's next for Christia Visser?

There are some exciting new ventures happening later this year... I can't share details yet, but all in good time.