Cape Town – Marno van der Merwe is without-a-doubt one of the standout stars from the new South African film, Modder en Bloed.
Set in 1901, this period epic follows Willem Morkel – a Boer and family man whose wife and son are murdered during the Anglo-Boer War.
Captured as a prisoner of war, Willem must survive incarceration in the notorious St. Helena concentration camp and defeat the ruthless Colonel Swannell, at his own game… rugby.
Marno takes on the role of J.J. “Ratel” Wessels in the film directed by Sean Else.
The hunky 31-year-old is no stranger to both the big and small screen. The South African actor is perhaps best known for his starring role as Brad Jooste in the musical youth drama series, Sterlopers. His film credits include Longshot, Pretville, and Die Ballade van Robbie de Wee.
I got invited to audition for the character of Albert at first. Albert only features in the first scene. But then I heard I got cast for J.J. which was a pleasant surprise. From the first time I read the script I really liked J.J.
I read up on the history of the camps on St Helena, especially on Deadwood Camp. That’s the camp that J.J. is in originally. That gave me good insight as to how he would be different from the guys in Stonewood Camp. His spirit had not been broken and he truly hated the English. That kind of summed him up for me.
I do think we would be friends. If I could tolerate his stubborn manner, I think he's the kind of friend you would want. He'll always be there to back you up and probably fight your fights for you.
The most challenging scene involves me in the ocean. It was 06:00 in the morning in the middle of winter in the cold Cape water. The wind kept blowing us off our feet. I must admit it did help that the director and camera man were with me in the water. It's a team sport and I definitely do like those kinds of hardships on a shoot.
I used to play club rugby until I was 23 years old. I still play the odd touch rugby game whenever I can and if I had to choose another career it would be rugby.
I’m currently focusing almost all my energy on finishing my album. I've been working on it for three years. Stage and singing is actually where it all started for me.
I am not single. I’m dating the beautiful Loriska Bubb from the singing group MWAH.
Modder en Bloed opens in local cinemas on Friday, 1 April 2016.
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