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Top Ten Movies with... Scot Cooper

Scot Cooper is a South African actor, whose combination of discipline, passion and talent are getting him into the right spaces, having already worked alongside actors such as Olga Kurylenko, James Purefoy and Rupert Friend. Cooper has a BA in live performance from AFDA and was trained by world renowned Meisner teacher, William Esper, at the Esper Studio in New York and critically acclaimed South African actress Aletta Bezuidenhout at the Screen Act Studio in Cape Town.

Blessed with looks and natural talent, he landed his first film role straight out of college in the American war film, 1968 Tunnel Rats and went on to work with Uwe Boll again in Far Cry. His credits also include supporting roles in the award-winning The World Unseen and Bordering on Bad Behaviour. More recently, Cooper had a supporting role in Momentum and took on a lead in the local film, Reconnect, with another lead in the Girl from Nowhere, which releases in 2016.

The versatile actor has starred in a number of stage productions including Pride & Prejudice and Tape, has co-starred in several television productions including the finale of Homeland Season 4 and featured in more than 30 international adverts. After having won Best Actor at Cape Town's 48 Hour Film Festival in 2013 and 2015, it's clear the man has talent and seems like only a matter of time before Scot gets the big break he deserves. We got a chance to find out, which movies have made an impact on him...

"Well Howard Stern played himself in his biopic..."

I can't watch movies without...

- A cup of tea and chocolate when at home. And when at the cinema: popcorn and a bottle of water. And being fully awake of course!

Which famous people share your birthday?

- I’m proud to say my favourite actress Meryl Streep! (22 June)

What is the first film you remember watching?

- I’m not sure… but I do remember watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit? with my parents at my first and only time at a drive in when I was about 6 years old.

What's the worst movie you've ever seen?

- Besides one that I was in a few years ago, which I won’t mention, I’ve seen quite a few… and with Jaws as an exception, they often seem to include a shark, or have the word ‘shark’ in the title.

Which movies have made you tearful?

- Message in a Bottle, E.T., Phenomenon and the wonderful Oscar-nominated South African film Yesterday. Those movies sure did their job at the right moment.

Who is the most famous movie star you've ever met?

- Well, I spoke to Colin Farrell on the phone. A buddy of mine called me at 3am, and woke me out of a dead sleep and said "Scot someone wants to say hello". They were at an after party.

I met Kevin Spacey after a play he did in London. I mentioned to him that I was pursuing acting as a career, and I’ll never forget his words as I walked away… "Scot, good luck to you."

What's your favourite movie line?

- “Pardon me for being rude, it was not me it was my food, it just popped up to say hello, and now it’s gone back down below.” ~ Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Who would you choose to play you in your biopic?

- Well Howard Stern played himself in his biopic, so… just kidding! There are so many talented actors, and not just the famous ones. So it's a difficult one to pick. Idris Elba?

If you could produce a movie, what would it be about?

- I guess maybe an epic South African western set in the Karoo. But at the heart of the story showing that the hardest heart can soften. Really emphasising that anything is possible, there is always hope.

Finally, your top ten movies of all-time...

- Braveheart ...I've seen it over 20 times. This movie has everything!

- Hook ...memories of watching this magical film in 1991 have never left me.

- The Shawshank Redemption ...this film is perfect.

- Pulp Fiction ...it’s just so damn good, from the dialogue to the soundtrack!

- Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery ...it’s one groovy movie baby.

- How the West Was Won ...all those classic westerns rolled into one. Love westerns!

- National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation ...I don’t go a year without watching this Christmas gem.

- American Beauty ...what a beauty. This wouldn’t be the movie it is without Alan Ball’s brilliant screenplay. And everything else in this film is absolutely brilliant as well.

- Raising Arizona ...I’m a Coen brothers fan. This is the first one of theirs I saw and I still really dig it. A lot!

- Closer ...this movie is adult, engaging, and relatable. It is superb. The opening to the sound of The Blower’s Daughter hooks me every time…

And the list goes on… There Will Be Blood, On the Waterfront, Spaceballs, Walk The Line, Noises Off, Edward Scissorhands, Clue, The Life Aquatic, Gladiator, The Cable Guy, The Beach, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Dances With Wolves and many more.

Top Ten Movies with... is a people series on SPL!NG, featuring a host of celebrities ranging from up-and-coming to established personalities from all industries including, but not limited to: Internet, Radio, TV, Film, Music, Art and Entrepreneurs. It's a chance to discover who they are, find out where they're at and to get a fun inside look at their taste in movies.

Albert Maritz on 'n Man Soos My Pa

Albert Maritz is an experienced and recognisable South African actor who has had key roles in international films Invictus, Goodbye Bafana and In My Country, and local productions such as Skoonheid, Die Pro and Strikdas. His latest part sees him playing Attie, a father, whose alcoholism has estranged him from his son in 'n Man Soos My Pa. Maritz forms part of a terrific South African ensemble and contributes a sullen yet soulful performance as a man desperately trying to reconnect with his family.

n Man Soos My Pa - Albert Maritz

How did you get involved in this project?

Sean Else called me some months ahead of filming and asked me to grow a beard.

The film deals with the devastating consequences of addiction. Have you witnessed something similar with close friends or family in your life?

I think we are all aware of people like this. Also, I think the film deals with much more than one theme. There is the father, daughter and domestic violence theme, cancer, and completing what you started – to vintage cars.

It's a nostalgic film. Did any of the props bring back a memory or two from your past?

Awwww, yes! Earphones. The reverse play of LPs!

The story is full of heartache... how did you prepare for your role?

The emotional journey is one, which comes to us via the script, and the inner landscape. With the director one must still plan the structure and levels of emotion at various places in the film, according to the story; but the preparation is already in our own suitcase luggage.

What would you say is the underlying message in this drama?

Love conquers all; and know what is ahead by communicating.

How do you think audiences will respond to this film?

I sincerely hope they will see a bit of themselves somewhere in the story, experience the journey as a coming to terms, and a celebration of freedom from what it is that weighs us down.

The ensemble is made up of some of South Africa's finest acting talent... who were you most excited to work with?

Sandra Prinsloo plays my wife. Greg Kriek is my son. Shimmy Isaacs is our housekeeper. Over a spectrum of age and opportunity this is an A-team, seriously exciting to work with.

What was it like working with Sean Else?

I have directed Sean in theatre before, and found him an engaging man, eager to take in a director's input, fearless, and hard-working. As a film director I find he is well-prepared, with a clear picture of what he wants to see with tons of patience and innovation.

Attie's an alcoholic... has playing him changed your attitude towards alcohol?


What was the most challenging part of your performance?

Attie plays opposites. He comes from a background of guilt. He tries not to withdraw, but rather to make a positive contribution. He gets stopped in his tracks more than once. What goes on behind the eyes?!

Lara de Bruijn on 'n Man Soos My Pa

Lara de Bruijn is a young South African actress with a bright future. She's represented South Africa for hip-hop dance, attaining Protea colours, and in 2012 played the shrew in Sean Else's Kyknet TV series, Liefste Kayla. Lara sees herself as quiet, down-to-earth and a bit of a perfectionist. She plays Ellie as a teen opposite Deon Lotz as the Kolonel in 'n Man Soos My Pa, which opens nationwide on 20 November.

How did you get involved in this project?

I was fortunate to work with Sean in 2012. I was part of a KykNet sitcom, Liefste Kayla. During December 2014 Sean contacted me and suggested that I audition for the role of Ellie.

The film deals with the devastating consequences of addiction. Have you witnessed something similar with close friends or family in your life?

I am extremely privileged to have been spared the heartache of having a family member or close friend dealing with addiction.

It's a nostalgic film. Did any of the props bring back a memory or two from your past?

Yes. The sound of Jean’s xylophone made me travel back to when I was a lively 4-year-old, sitting on the carpet, conducting my own little percussion orchestra with my Barbies. I didn’t have a real xylophone, but the enchanting sound of this prop brought back many treasured childhood memories.

The story is full of heartache... how did you prepare for your role?

I haven’t experienced extreme heartache in my personal life, so at first I thought that it was going to be rather challenging for me to try and place myself in a situation like that. I think preparation for an emotional, demanding scene is something very personal and varies with each member of the cast.

Wearing Ellie’s clothes and being exposed to her circumstances, made the process of “becoming” her easy, but it was challenging being the daughter of an abusive father. Elma Postma and I also had a session where we discussed and analysed our character.

What would you say is the underlying message in this drama?

I think the universal message is one of healing. Healing of broken relationships, bad habits and inner turmoil.

How do you think audiences will respond to this film?

It is impossible NOT to get emotionally involved in this nostalgic film. With universal themes such as unconditional love, addiction and trust, audiences will easily relate and see a part of themselves somewhere along the way – whether it's in a specific relationship, a character or even the lyrics of a song featured in the film. We experience these things daily and if this does not trigger an emotional response from movie-goers, I don’t know what will!

The ensemble is made up of some of South Africa's finest acting talent... who were you most excited to work with?

It was a privilege to work with everyone involved in this production, but playing his daughter in this film, I must say that I was most excited to work with Deon Lotz. It was incredible to see how he transforms to become one with his fearsome, militaristic character.

What was it like working with Sean Else?

It was fantastic to work with Sean. His infectious enthusiasm and energy for this project inspired me and I learned so much. Not only about acting in front of the camera, but behind-the- scenes work as well.

Is this your first feature film role? Did you feel any pressure playing opposite veteran actors?

Yes, this was my first feature film role. Looking at the cast for the first time, of course I felt pressure, because I have never done anything this major before, but these seasoned actors never made me feel inferior to them. I immediately felt part of the team.

What impacted you most about being transported to the old South Africa?

What impacted me the most is the simplicity of it all. Nowadays we are glued to the technology-robot and hardly spend time without it. Family-time is TV-time and play-time is playstation-time. In this film I experienced a world without intense technology – a time where pianos, paper swords, xylophones and cardboard boxes were your only entertainment. Futhermore, I loved the colours used to portray the old South Africa – much more natural than the brightly lit, crisp, white, techno world we live in today.

Elma Postma on 'n Man Soos My Pa

Elma Postma is probably best known in South Africa for her role as Dezzi Terreblanche on popular South African soap, Sewende Laan. She's gained a wealth of TV experience, acting in series like Binneland, The Mating Game and Kruispad, presenting shows like Boer Soek 'n Vrou and Ontbytsake and has also played a number of lead roles in theatre productions over the years. Postma plays Ellie in 'n Man Soos My Pa in a role that signals she's ready to spread her wings on the big screen too.

Elma Postmas as Ellie in 'n Man Soos My Pa

How did you get involved in this project?

I sent an audition recording to Sean via email and then after a conversation with him and some notes, I sent another one.  Luckily that was enough to land me the role as Ellie le Roux. I was so excited to be a part of this project because I liked the story and the character instantly. I knew this was something that I would be able to do whole-heartedly.

The film deals with the devastating consequences of addiction. Have you witnessed something similar with close friends or family in your life?

I have been lucky not to have to deal with a close person with a similar problem.

It's a nostalgic film. Did any of the props bring back a memory or two from your past?

Absolutely. There were a few things that rang a bell from my past.  The old carpets, the coffee containers in Attie and Nakkie’s kitchen…  Little things that were in most of our houses at a certain point in time. The braai scene – also something that we still do all the time.

The story is full of heartache... how did you prepare for your role?

I read and analysed the script many times to make sure that I understood my character’s past... because I only play the older Ellie, I had to know exactly what the younger one went through in order to understand her emotional frame of mind.  I had a long discussion with the director as well, which helped a lot.  Lara de Bruijn and I had a session with Sean to discuss what mannerisms we could give the character and what thought processes were necessary to make the character solid and believable.

I also had to delve deep into my own emotions to get the moments on screen.  I am generally quite connected to my emotional side, so with focus and knowledge of the character, it made things easier on set.  Of course when you’re in the scene, the other actors and their portrayal make it even easier to reach your emotional state, your honesty.  Everyone was so supportive of each other.

What would you say is the underlying message in this drama?

I think there are so many underlying messages in this drama, but for me the most important one is that the truth will set you free.  How many families live with secrets and difficult pasts which drive them apart?  If they could only open their eyes and communicate, things would resolve themselves.  You waste time if you don’t forgive each other until it's too late. Also, look at your own issues before judging someone else and realise that family is so very important in our lives – you have to cherish it.

How do you think audiences will respond to this film?

I think they will enjoy it and be touched by it.  I’m sure most people will see a little of themselves and their own lives in it and will be able to identify.

The ensemble is made up of some of South Africa's finest acting talent... who were you most excited to work with?

The people that I mainly worked with were Greg Kriek, Albert Maritz, Sandra Prinsloo and Shimmy Isaacs, and our little boy Jean Huisamen.  I was excited to work with all of them, but of course a highlight was to sit opposite Sandra and get the chance to see how this iconic actress works.  I admire her focus, integrity and generosity when she plays in a scene with you.  She gives you so much from her side that it makes it easy to completely be in the moment.

What was it like working with Sean Else?

Sean was completely in charge of the whole process.  He knew exactly what he wanted – that made me feel very safe during the shooting process.  He made sure that we hit the right emotional notes, that we understood the characters and the story line… it was just really amazing to work with him.

The casting of Ellie and her younger self is spot-on... was this just good casting?

I think Sean must have seen some similarities, maybe in our personalities as well as the look of the character.  When I met Lara, I could see that we share  a "sameness".  But we also had a discussion about what we think of our character and where we would like to place her, so we worked out subtle mannerisms and made sure we understood her in the same way.  I am so lucky that she played the younger Ellie, she did such beautiful work in the movie.  Zonika de Vries was also a wonderful choice as the little Ellie – she also set the scene for both of us to work from in the rest of the movie as the character grew older.

Did you know Greg before being cast, did you have any time to develop a shared history?

I didn’t know Greg before being cast, no, so I didn’t even have a reference.  But from the moment we met, we clicked and we worked as a team to integrate the characters. We had a day with Sean to talk about the journey of the characters and throughout shooting we discussed everything about the history of Ellie and Juan – even things that weren’t mentioned in the movie, to give it an extra layer for us to work from.  I am very grateful to have worked with such a committed actor.  I think we gave each other all the support we could to tell the story.

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