Thursday 11 February 2021

Interview with Mari Molefe van Heerden - Star of The Hex

When did you discover your love of acting, Mari?

I think I was born that way.  I can remember entertaining my family as a toddler and as I grew up.  Modelling around the house like a super star from a very young age.

Any family in the business?

My oldest brother Kobus used to be a freelance set builder and scenic painter on different films like: 10000bc, Raising Stripes, The Young Black Stallion, In my country, Lord of War, The Blast and many more.

Is it hard to break into the industry in South Africa?

I think it's hard to break into our industry in any country.  But it definitely taught me about rejection, hard work and commitment.  It is also important to not only focus on acting, but invest in different skill sets and interest in the industry like directing or writing or even producing like I started doing.  

What was your big break, you think?

I was very fortunate to get a big prominent and permanent role in a very well-known South African soap opera just after I finished my studies. That role opened many doors for me.

A film like "The Hex" would be a real "door opener" for you, I imagine. Have you any plans to tackle Hollywood?

I think making a movie or being part of a Hollywood film is one of the biggest achievements an actor can accomplish. There is a project that we are working on that might be filmed in Hollywood but I will only confirm that later the year.    

How has the industry changed, especially where your work is concerned, because of the pandemic?

Work was and still is very scarce, but fortunately The NFVF (National Film and Video Foundation) has initiated a relief fund aimed to support and assist South African freelance practitioners, technical and production crew that COVID significantly impacted during the pandemic.

When there were projects being made, there were a lot of red tape and regulations about social distancing, constantly wearing masks and sanitising every few minutes which made the art of acting sometimes mechanical.

Have you had to do a lot of auditions, maybe even some work, using zoom?

I was lucky during lock down to do a few auditions and landing a role in series: Die vlieende Springbokkie, where I play the captain of a spaceship.

Can you talk about some of your responsibilities as a producer on "The Hex"?

My role as producer was basically to oversee the entire film. From being part of the script development, casting and being on set handling any jobs that needed help and coordination, to helping with the sourcing and managing the financing. A producer's job never really ends, as the admin continues way after the film has been made and released.

Did you enjoy producing? Developing more stories?

The Hex was my first big project that I produced and I learned so much and fortunately I had a fantastic team that was part of it.  There are a few projects in the pipeline, but more of that a bit later.