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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.

 
Greg Kriek on 'n Man Soos My Pa


Greg Kriek has about nine films slated for release in 2015/2016, which just goes to show how busy this up-and-coming South African actor and producer has become. Internationally, his role in Momentum as Mr. Monroe, opposite the likes of Olga Kurylenko and Morgan Freeman, is going to draw some attention and back home his career's also gaining momentum playing the lead role of Juan, among an ensemble of South Africa's finest, in 'n Man Soos My Pa, which opens 20 November.

Greg Kriek - 'n Man Soos My Pa

How did you get involved in this project?

It was the traditional way - got asked to audition and worked my way through the callbacks and ended up booking the job. However the moment I heard about what the movie was about, I knew I wanted to be part of this. The content was something that resonated so deeply with me and I knew I wanted to do a film about family reconciliation.

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

I have definitely witnessed the consequences of addiction and what happens when issues do not get resolved and emotions are suppressed for a long period of time. This is where the power of 'n Man Soos My Pa lies - in that it spares no punches in addressing addiction.

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

I looked at all the areas in my life where I got hurt and humiliated as a child. I also went through the process of looking at all the areas where I may have blamed my parents for things I did not completely understand growing up. Everyone tries to do their best given the circumstances, in most cases. I also had to learn how to play piano for this role and to inhabit a character that finds himself in an opposite natural emotional state to mine. It was a great challenge but so rewarding.

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

I took many things from this film, but the saying that blood is thicker than water definitely hits home.

How do you think audiences will respond to this film?

I think this is the kind of film that is going to strike a very deep chord in many families - all families have their skeletons - and this is the kind of film that can kick-start the healing process or at least get the conversation going.

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 tremendous honor getting to work with South African veterans - I worked most closely with Albert Maritz, Sandra Prinsloo, Elma Postma and Shimmy Isaacs and not only was it an enriching experience, but I learned so much from all of them in terms of work ethic and commitment.

What was it like working with Sean Else?

He is a master storyteller - so specific in what he wants and how he goes about getting it. I learnt so much from him in terms of serving the story first and foremost as an actor. I have just come off working with him again on Blood and Glory and I have no doubt that Sean is about to send shock waves globally.

You've played English and Afrikaans characters, are you bilingual?

Yes I am fully bilingual- even though I dream in English. I had English and Afrikaans as a 1st language throughout my schooling and university career.

Can you play the piano and sing like Juan? Any consideration around releasing an album?

Haha, I actually had to learn how to play piano for the role, which was quite daunting, but I am very glad people were impressed in the end. When it comes to the singing, I used to sing in a band, but seeing that people have given positive feedback I may have to consider getting into studio and picking up the mic again!

 
Antoinette Louw on 'n Man Soos My Pa


SAFTA award-winning actress, Antoinette Louw, came from a family, where both her parents were professors in psychology, which probably gave her a natural predisposition to being interested in people and their behaviour. Acting requires a deep understanding of what makes people tick and Louw has used this knowledge to augment her performances in films such as Die Laaste Tango, Discreet, Winnie Mandela and now 'n Man Soos My Pa, in which she plays young Nakkie, a mother trying to deal with her husband's alcoholism and sheltering her son from the consequences. 'n Man Soos My Pa opens nationwide in South Africa on 20 November.

Antoinette Louw as Nakkie in 'n Man Soos My Pa

How did you get involved in this project?

I was very fortunate that Sean approached me for this project and asked if I would be interested. After I read the script, I said yes immediately.

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

Yes. And I think most families/friends have. It's more common than we think, but unfortunately it's not really talked about for fear of rejection and shame.

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

Absolutely. And it was wonderful. Things like the plastic containers in Nakkie's kitchen were exactly the same as the ones my mother used... I remember the cookies that were in there. A beautiful memory. And of course the music tapes! Batoni Robensin, the art director, did a magnificent job of bringing this world back to life.

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

The key is not to focus on the heartache, but on the positive qualities of the story and within the characters themselves. Otherwise they become victims, and they aren't.

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

All of us has a story, and we should be careful to judge... communication is so important. It brings healing. And of course, hope.

How do you think audiences will respond to this film?

The humanity of the story is universal.  We all can relate, because we all have mothers, fathers whom we have relationships with (whether good or bad). Even those who don't know their parents - that's a relationship too.

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

It would be unfair to single one person out, because I was excited to be part of this cast as a whole. I feel very privileged to be mentioned with them.

What was it like working with Sean Else?

Sean is an actor's director, and you don't get many of those.  He gave me the freedom to explore, yet always within his vision. And very importantly - he treats everybody on set with the same respect.

Did you think of your part as playing a younger Nakkie, Sandra Prinsloo or both?

It's always about the character. Sandra and I worked intensely on Nakkie's background, goals, intentions and mannerisms. It's important to honour the character and the story. It's our job as actors.

Was it strange returning to the old South Africa?

No. Because the film is not political, I embraced the beautiful memories of being a little girl with my family back then.

 
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