Mrs and mur­der

Bedford Wives is giv­ing the dra­matic and seedy un­der­world a comedic makeover, one gang­ster at a time

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Bedford Wives Sea­son 1 Thurs­days (from 24 Au­gust) SABC3 (*193) 19:30

“Gigi is to­tally not a crim­i­nal but she is liv­ing in the mid­dle of this world where crime hap­pens.” That’s how Gabriella Cir­illo de­scribes her char­ac­ter in new dram­edy Bedford Wives (2017- cur­rent). Gigi is one of the housewives of Bed­ford­view [the Joburg sub­urb where al­leged gan­glord Radovan Kre­j­cir and mur­dered strip club boss Lolly Jack­son lived] and “you can think of it like The So­pra­nos (1999-2007) but told through the eyes of the wives,” says the ac­tress when we phoned her be­tween takes. “It’s a per­sonal look at their lives and what th­ese women deal with.” Gigi’s ex-hus­band Marco (Jonathan Tay­lor) is found mur­dered – un­der a piece of meat – and that has im­pli­ca­tions for not just her, but also her cur­rent squeeze Costa De Maia (Rus­sel Savadier – who we also phoned) and every­one else in the crim­i­nal un­der­world…

GIGI (GABRIELLA)

Your ex is found dead and you’re dat­ing a

shifty guy too… [Laughs] I know, right? Marco used his restau­rant as a cover for his crime. He cheated on Gigi when they had their son and she left him… but not his busi­ness. As for Costa, he was Marco’s busi­ness part­ner and he’s taken over that now.

Gigi isn’t your first shady char­ac­ter, is she? You’re talk­ing about Flavia on Rhythm City (2007-cur­rent; see more on p18) right? Flavia is bad news com­pared to Gigi. Gigi is aware of the world she lives in and she en­gages with th­ese peo­ple, but she cer­tainly isn’t on of them. She’s do­ing this to take care of her son.

What re­search did you do to get into

Gigi’s mind? [Laughs] I live in Bed­ford­view, dar­ling – that was my re­search.

Your char­ac­ters tend to be quite vampy… I ac­tu­ally au­di­tioned for the lead role of Dee [Sharon Wag­ner was cast]. I wanted some­one who wasn’t quite vampy but it turns out I’m Gigi to a T. We’ve had so much fun on the set and I think we’ve been per­fectly cast. And I love Gigi!

COSTA DE MAIA (RUS­SEL)

Costa looks like the stereo­typ­i­cal Greek crimelord – chains, hairy chest, sun­nies… That’s ex­actly who he is. He’s like Tony So­prano (James Gan­dolfini) – he has his fin­gers in loads of pies. He has taken over now that his busi­ness part­ner is dead – and he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty to get things done. He’s also dat­ing Gigi… He’s very pos­ses­sive over her. She’s a lovely at­tach­ment [Laughs]. Costa is a misog­y­nist and he smacks her around if she steps out of line with him. You sound like you’re hav­ing fun… Play­ing a bad guy is great! [Laughs] You get to do th­ese evil, nasty, frowned-upon things, things you wouldn’t get to do in real life. He’s from the old coun­try too – so Costa has this ma­cho swag­ger, an ac­cent and he’s cov­ered in jew­ellery. Which other TV char­ac­ter would you liken him too? I took ref­er­ences from shows like The So­pra­nos, you know… ones that have th­ese deep, de­vel­oped bad char­ac­ters who’ve got more to them than just be­ing bad. Costa is like Tony – he’s a very bad guy. Noth­ing is be­neath him. He wouldn’t blink at mur­der…

Rus­sel Savadier is lov­ing his new role as crimelord Costa. Vampy Gigi is caught in the kill-or-be-killed crime un­der­world.

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