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