Lo­cal script draws star to SA-flavoured film


WHILE Gil Bel­lows is known for flex­ing his cre­ative mus­cles in Tinseltown, the sea­soned ac­tor and di­rec­tor found his cu­rios­ity piqued by Henk Pre­to­rius’ script.

He says, in his all-Amer­i­can brogue: “Well, I loved the story. I just felt like he (Henk) didn’t have any fun writ­ing the character. So I gave him a whole bunch of ideas and here we are a year later.”

On work­ing with the home­grown film-maker, Bel­lows shares: “I loved work­ing with him. He was very sup­port­ive. I feel like we col­lab­o­rated re­ally well and em­braced the vi­sion of the character I was play­ing. He also gave me the free­dom to ex­plore that, which is one of the best traits of the di­rec­tor.”

The 47-year-old ac­tor, who is prob­a­bly best re­mem­bered as Billy Thomas in Ally McBeal, has also been in 24: Re­demp­tion, Smal­lville, Flash For­ward, Crim­i­nal Minds and, more re­cently, Fall­ing Skies. His movie cred­its are en­vi­ably busy to say the least. After a fan­tas­tic start with The Shaw­shank Re­demp­tion, he has done The Cleaner, Pass­chen­daele, Three Days in Ha­vana, Fury, House at the End of the Street, among a host of other of­fer­ings.

Daniel Tay­lor is a de­testable and pompous di­rec­tor, who takes his girl­friend Jodi (Katie McGrath) for granted.

After chuck­ling at the de­scrip­tion of his character, he shares: “I look at it like this. When somebody re­ally en­joys be­ing who they are, you can kind of, but not en­tirely, for­give them their nar­cis­sis­tic qual­i­ties. If they are not fun to be around or have a strong point of view, they should be thrown off the cliff.”

As for shar­ing the lime­light with the Ir­ish model and ac­tress, who was bril­liant as Mor­gana in the TV se­ries Mer­lin, Bel­lows of­fers: “Katie is a very tal­ented, very pro­fes­sional and very lovely per­son. And a very strong ac­tress. It was fun bounc­ing (things) off her and see­ing how she re­sponds with each take.”

Fol­low­ing his warm re­cep­tion here, es­pe­cially for the premiere more than a week ago, he smiles: “I have re­ally en­joyed my time here and the peo­ple all over have treated me in­cred­i­bly well.”

But, the Hol­ly­wood ac­tor is yearn­ing for some down time, es­pe­cially with sev­eral movies in the bag and mak­ing his di­rec­to­rial de­but, too.

He notes: “I, lit­er­ally, two days be­fore I came here, com­pleted Life on the Line with John Tra­volta, Sharon Stone and Kate Bos­worth.

“It’s a great film and I’m ex­cited about it. I have As­cen­sion, a sci-fi mini-se­ries air­ing in the US and Canada. I play a sci­en­tist. The show has an amaz­ing premise and is a com­plete de­par­ture from what you just saw. I just came out with The Call­ing op­po­site Susan Saran­don, Don­ald Suther­land and To­pher Grace. And I have my di­rec­to­rial de­but, Three Days in Ha­vana. I have three indies and I just sold a new show to Ama­zon.

“What’s been so cool about this year is that ev­ery­thing is so dif­fer­ent. I’m so proud to be a part of all the projects. Genre is ir­rel­e­vant. To me, it’s the en­ergy of the story and the tonal in­tegrity. And when I meet the film-maker or cre­ator if it’s a TV show, I have a sense of who they are, but like to feel that they have an ex­cite­ment for writ­ing for me and to work with me. Of course, the chance to do some­thing dif­fer­ent and sub­vert peo­ple’s ex­pec­ta­tions…”


IN ON THE ACT: Gil Bel­lows, left, with Lead­ing Lady co-star, Brümilda van Rens­burg.

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