Pheello Kotelo And Sthandiwe Kgoroge Reflect On The Brave Ones And Working With Akin Omotoso
Award-winning Nigerian director Akin Omotoso might have another blockbuster as fans look forward his latest offering on Netflix, The Brave Ones.
As the new supernatural series, set to premiere on September 16, journeys through three parallel worlds — the living, the unborn and the dead — governed by the Tree of Life in six captivating episodes.
The series, set in modern-day SA, is inspired by the rich mythology of African gods and divine beings, starring Sthandile Nkosi, Keke Mphuthi, Nomalanga Nkosi, Bonko Khoza and Tony Kgoroge, among others.
The story revolves around a goddess reincarnated as a human being to avenge her sister’s death after harnessing her superpowers to defeat her enemies and save her family from destruction.
We caught up with Pheello Kotelo and Sthandiwe Kgoroge as they walk us through how it was like working on the new supernatural series
When you were preparing for role, where did you draw inspiration from?
Pheello: I always draw inspiration from my beliefs. I believe in my abilities. I believe in the talent that God has given me and I know that he will ‘gooi’ me with things that I will manage. That inspiration of knowing how good I am, and also knowing the inspiration that my father always tells me that, ‘you’re good’. That’s where I get my inspiration. From knowing, and being told that I’m very good.
Regarding your character, how close did you work with the director to make sure you bring the character to life?
Pheello: on the brave ones we are so blessed with directors who will sit down with actors, while plotting the scenes. They’ll ask what do we think about scenes, how to navigate certain things. You start to belong to the production. Rather than being an actor, you start to have his side of the vision. And with that, you do your best.
Did you experience any challenges while playing this role?
No, I will tell you one thing. I’ll go back to the blessings of having a stellar cast. We help one another. So the challenges weren’t there. It was a challenge for example I used to ask her [Sthandiw Kgoroge] the meaning of some Zulu words and how to pronounce them. And she would be, open. Not only while we are on set. I’d call her and on the phone, imagine. That’s her time, I’d call and ask her how to pronounce words. So I didn’t have any challenges. If I had challenges, I have my walking Zulu dictionary.
When you first read the brave ones script, what came to mind?
Pheello: I love it. I love it, I want to do this and telling you I’m going to do this [laughs].
What did you love about it?
Pheello: You know as actor, you are given a brief for auditions. You get a gist of it, and you say I want to know more about the whole script. Luckily, when I was casted, I was told before anything-you know Terry Pheto is the best. She said, ‘this is what I want from you and then I ‘gooied’ it. Then when they gave me the whole script, it was like pap and vleis.
How would you describe brave ones in one word?
Pheello: The best
Sthandiwe Kgoroge: authentic.
When you first get a role, how do you research and approach it?
Sthandiwe: My training is speech and drama training and I think with speech and drama, one it’s a lot of theory and second it’s more practical. We are taught so many things, that are now becoming handy in the industry. We are taught the importance of research, the importance of not necessarily method acting but in terms of you might know every character you’re going to play in terms of their world. But try your best with figuring out, who is this person, or even talking to someone you know. For instance, in my case talking to my friends or relatives who have raised a child that is not of their own. What of my own experience, in terms of having a child that’s gifted. And gifted could mean so many things in terms of I want me kids to scientists but suddenly there’s one that says no I want to act just like you. That’s a gift right. So it’s that, trying to put into your mental hard drive, as much information as possible that will coming in handy in that space or when you act that certain character. And it might not necessarily be for Thandaza’s role but later on be for something else. But as actors we must constantly be inquisitive and know what’s happening. Who’s this, look and watch people. How do they act, what could the dynamics be there. I’m an extremely curious person, I love to know.
Speaking of being inquisitive, do you and the director try to collaborate or do you take what you get from the script and act.
Sthandiwe: I think directors are different. Sometimes you get there and you can see they are pushing you to do what they interpret in terms of what they read. Let’s say here, it was a beautiful collaborative process. Atkin was very open because he’s an actors-director. Hes an actor himself first, then he became a director. So he comes from that space where he understands the process of first finding out what do the actors think when they read this, unless of course you are struggling then he will be like okay, maybe you should try this. We all that individual experience with him. There wasn’t a system of top down. We were all on the same level. You felt like wow, okay.
The Brave Ones is now streaming on Netflix.