‘The tough­est role of my life’

CityPress - - News - CHARL BLIG­NAUT charl.blig­naut@city­press.co.za

“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.

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