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.