During the national shutdown, when your favourite celebrities weren’t behind the camera filming a series or movie, they were at home baking banana bread or binge-watching their favourite shows on DStv.
How do we know? Well, 7 actors and actresses, who either star on a DStv telenovela, thrilling drama, or a heart-warming Christmas movie, recently came together for a fun, in-depth discussion with host and comedian Donovan Goliath on the latest episode of DStv’s YouTube insider show, the #DStvRoundtable. During their chat, the panel members first discuss the impact of the global pandemic on their acting careers. They then touch on ways in which they’ve had to adapt to the “new normal” on set, and also give viewers an overview of the latest projects they’ve been working on.
“It’s what I call DStv round carpets,” jokes Donovan. “We’ve managed to gather some of the most loved and biggest talent for a pow-wow, a chat, an imbizo [traditional isiZulu gathering] – it might even get to that at some point, just to spend some quality time and talk about the quality content that DStv has to offer,” adds the comedian.
In adherence to South Africa’s COVID-19 regulations, the panel members are social distancing. They’re seated on comfy couches without an actual table. In the line-up is legendary local actor Robert Whitehead, SAFTA-winning actress Lorcia Cooper, rising performer Zola Msizi, singer and actress Stephanie Baartman, performer Kate Liquorish, and Didintle Khunou and Kgosi Mongake who are leads on BET’s (DStv 129) first-ever drama telenovela, Isono (Mondays to Thursdays).
These stars are dishing out all the dirt and giving you an inside scoop into their characters’ world. Don’t forget to join the conversation on social media, #DStvRoundtable.
Portraying intimacy post-lockdown
Donovan opens the floor with a simple question that gets the panel going: How’s everybody doing, what has it been like for you in the last few months, and what’s happening [in your life now]?
For Didintle and Kgosi, life couldn’t be any better since they’re acting in their dream roles on first-of-its-kind drama, Isono. Didintle plays aspiring musician Esther, who is insecure and has a strained relationship with her controlling and ruthless mother, Mary (played by Nthati Moshesh). While 28-year-old Kgosi reveals that playing troubled and orphaned 16-year-old Zakwe has changed his life.
The big scoop from TV Land? Didintle and Kgosi reveal that Isono hired an intimacy coach to assist the show’s cast in adjusting to filming intimate scenes authentically while obeying lockdown rules.
One panel member was impressed, not just because of how careful the show was about COVID compliance, but about how this could change the game for filming intimacy in a more healthy way in every sense. “That’s so responsible,” says Lorcia. “Often, we hear stories about women, more especially – and I’m sure that men, too – but obviously at the forefront of the conversation it’s women being violated [during intimate scenes] and it’s done unhandily. [The actor] will maximise and capitalise on that intimate scene to go all in, leaving the actress confused, conflicted [and uncomfortable],” adds Lorcia.
Facing his fears
The conversation heightens when Zola introduces his conflicted gay character, Lefa, on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) soccer drama Vula Vala. Initially, the actor was wary of playing a gay character as he feared judgement from his community in the Eastern Cape. “I had major anxiety before filming a kissing scene [with another man] because I’m a Xhosa man from Port Elizabeth,” says Zola. “You saw what they did with Inxeba! They completely destroyed it, and you can only imagine the backlash that came to me… The role really made me respect the LGBTQ community so much more,” adds the actor.
Relatability drives content
For Stephanie, representation on television matters. She believes that it’s the reason that viewers gravitate towards her happy-go-lucky salon owner character Bibi on kykNET’s (DStv 144) Afrikaans soapie, Getroud Met Rugby. While most of the female characters are obsessed with catching a rugby player’s attention, Bibi is everyone’s biggest cheerleader and is concerned with growing her business. “People like looking at someone normal [in a strictly soapie sense of normal],” says Stephanie.
The leading lady
Throughout the chat, Lorcia adds pearls of wisdom, and compares her 2 dissimilar characters, in tear-jerking M-Net (DStv 101) drama, Still Breathing, and Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) prison drama Lockdown, to beverages. “Still Breathing is what you watch with hot chocolate in hand, and you’d watch Lockdown with tequila because it’s so hard to swallow,” she quips.
Lekker local Christmas 2020
Speaking of raising a glass, in the lead-up to Christmas 2020, DStv will be delivering some holiday cheer and features a range of local movies that are family-friendly and uniquely South African. Kate and Robert have all the information since they star in two of them.
Following her portrayal as Abi in tear-jerking drama series Still Breathing, Kate plays Lauren Watson, a wealthy suburban housewife whose annual over-the-top Christmas party is ruined when her family are kicked out of their mansion following fraud allegations in the movie, A Twisted Christmas, on Saturday, 26 December, on M-Net (DStv 101) at 21:00. The stuck-up Watsons are forced to move in with their humble Muslim landscaper who teaches them the true value of Christmas. “It’s a simple story that will make you laugh and cry with the warm gushy feels,” says Kate.
Robert, on the other hand, plays a good-guy character for once in the movie Herb & Moon on Saturday, 12 December on M-Net (DStv 101) at 21:00. His new character is nothing like his role as Archibald on M-Net (DStv 101) telenovela Legacy, or his brief appearance as Judge Christopher on 1Magic’s (DStv 103) The River. This time around, Robert plays a grandad who escapes an old age home and rushes against the clock to spend Christmas with his beloved granddaughter. “He is sweet, and he is very possessive. There’s a degree of discomfort in the family, but overall, Herb & Moon is a lovely Christmas story,” explains the actor.
Stay tuned for more
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