‘The toughest role of my life’
“It was the most difficult role of my life,” says veteran actor Morne Visser (44) about having to play a sexual predator in a new film, Dis ek, Anna.
In the film, he rapes his teenage stepdaughter two or three times a week for several years. Eventually, she kills him.
If it was hard for Visser, it was more daunting for young Izel Bezuidenhout (17) who played his stepdaughter. But she says: “I was made to feel safe the whole way through. The director was amazing. After every scene, she came to check if I was okay. We went through each scene in rehearsals and knew exactly what we had to do.”
In the course of the production, she and Visser formed a bond and they are close friends today. Izel’s mother, Lucia, was on set every day. Although there have been one or two comments from conservative members of their community, both mother and daughter plan to weather criticism because they believe Dis ek, Anna can make a real difference in young people’s lives – especially for victims of abuse. Both are saddened by the 18 LSV ruling on the film, saying young people need its message the most.
“I can’t understand why my school friends can’t see it when we go to watch American movies that show way more,” said Izel.
Visser also had to treat the film’s premiere with caution.
“I have a daughter of 10 and a son of 13. I ... showed them the trailer in case they get flack from kids at school. My daughter’s response was: ‘Dad, why do you always have to do films that piss Afrikaners off?’”
Izel says the research she did for her role had changed her life. She’s become passionate about speaking out about abuse.
“Someone has to have the guts to stand up and say this is happening so that we can start doing something about it,” she says.