Chuffed to see this South African documentary making an international splash.
‘I think what’s powerful about the film is the fact that there’s this big South African guy who is telling a deeply intimate story about an animal that is essentially a modified snail. He takes us into this fragile creature’s world and she transforms from an underwater alien into a protagonist that we can really relate to and care about. At a minimum, I think that viewers will make an emotional connection with her, but I really hope that the bigger message that comes through will be an exploration of our own identity and fragility as part of the living planet.’
Pippa Ehrlich, dir. “My Octopus Teacher”
Actors note: Craig Foster (chap in the water) has a native South African accent (of which there are many).
Here I’m playing a doctor in a corporate piece for South Africa – sporting a burly beard and doing my native South African English accent. The man on the phone at the beginning is doing an Afrikaans accent – the one stereotypically associated with the country.
I saw a few casting directors tweeting the above article about a shift in the casting of speaking roles. It highlights how actors are increasingly expected to be culturally aligned with the characters they play. It has a lot to do with ‘cultural appropriation‘ – a contentious topic.
“An actor’s automatic licence to fake an accent is now increasingly in doubt.” – Vanessa Thorpe
As a South African actor, I’m aware that mainstream South African roles are almost exclusively played by non-South Africans who for the most part fail to accurately deliver the accent. Even so, they’re working with recognised names, are handsomely rewarded and in a position to elevate their careers.
If they weren’t allowed to play those parts, would it also mean I could only ever play South Africans? Bit of a double-edged sword that one.