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Rob van Vuuren leads the pack in Van Der Merwe movie

2017-04-07 14:46

Johannesburg - How many Van der Merwes does it take to stop a wedding? Maybe just the one. That is, if he can get it right just this one time. 

Strap in and hold on tight to your stereotypes, because the butt of South Africa’s favourite jokes is coming to the big screen.  

Van Der Merwe is a quirky new comedy about the underdog and will be released in cinemas nationwide on 28 July.

In every country there is a person who is the butt of all jokes. In Ireland, it is Paddy.  In Israel, it is Hymie and in South Africa, that person is Van der Merwe… this story is about him. 

“I wanted to make a film about a single character, like Ace Ventura or Zoolander, but with a South African flavour. Van is part of our culture, a character we can all relate to. He has a history and a place in our hearts. Bringing him to life on the big screen is something a lot of people want to see,” says director and screenwriter, Bruce Lawley about his debut feature film.

What it's about

Set on a farm in South Africa, Van Der Merwe centres on Van’s daughter, Marike, who returns home from a gap year in England with her new fiancé, George, a British medical student. This sets the scene for all sorts of problems and challenges. 

Not only does Van have to come to terms with the fact that his daughter is marrying an Englishman, but he is also pressured by his bossy, staunchly traditional father to put an end to the relationship. 

This puts him in a precarious situation with a difficult choice: risk the wrath of his father by condoning the wedding, or obey his father, whose approval he so desperately wants, and risk losing his daughter forever. 

When the family of the English fiancé arrives on the farm, the fireworks really begin as the clash of cultures results in a number of side-splitting incidents and hilarious situations, as we witness some classic Van der Merwe jokes played out in front of our eyes.

Meet the cast

Although he had the late Bill Flynn in mind when Van’s character was created, Bruce believes that Rob van Vuuren (Shucks! Your Country Needs You) turned out to be the perfect candidate to play this joke icon. 

“We needed an actor with great comedic timing, in terms of both the physical comedy aspects and the dialogue. Rob is a great actor and really professional. He is incredibly funny and he brought the right mix of heart and humour to the role. He was passionate about creating a memorable and iconic character and was prepared to do whatever it took to do so. He has really funny and interesting facial expressions, very expressive eyes and a playful nature – all perfect for the character of Van.”

Well-known actress, Chanelle de Jager, plays Van’s wife, Suzette, who is determined to save the day, while Ian Roberts can be seen as the overbearing Oupa Van, who is bound to strike a chord with any audience. 

Other actors that can be seen in the movie, include Adrienne Pearce, André Jacobs, Rika Sennett, Erica Wessels, Louw Venter, Benedikt Sebastian, Matthew Baldwin, Neels van Jaarsveld and Melt Sieberhagen to name but a few. 

Kurt Darren also makes a cameo appearance as a wedding singer and Barry Hilton plays Freddie, the barman and Van’s best friend.

Watch a video here:

Read more on:    rob van vuuren  |  movies

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