From the 23rd of August 2019, Bennie Fourie, Marlee van der Merwe, Frank Opperman, James Borthwick, André Weideman, Laudo Liebenberg, Tim Theron, Jana Cilliers, Lika Berning, Clyde Berning, Neels van Jaarsveld and more can be seen in the brand new action-packed film by acclaimed director Quentin Krog – ANDER MENS – which promises to keep moviegoers on the edge of their seats until the very end.
Krog, known for his work on various box-office hits, such as Ballade vir ’n Enkeling, Vir die Voëls and Thys & Trix, as well as television series like Die Boekklub 1, Sterlopers 1, High Rollers and Die Byl 2 has been working in the film industry for a number of years, and was one of the founding members of Firestorm Productions in Cape Town, which earmarked the start of a very successful career. After leaving this company to return to Gauteng, he rapidly built his reputation and is currently viewed as one of the most sought-after local film directors.
ANDER MENS tells the suspenseful tale of Daniël Niemand (Bennie Fourie), one of life’s punching bags, whose life is changed irrevocably when his wife (Roeline Daneel) leaves him for their marriage counsellor (Tim Theron) and his criminal employer completely disrupts his mediocre existence. Before long, not only is he used as bait by the policeman, Johannes Ackermann (James Borthwick), to capture this crime kingpin, but he also becomes the victim of a series of very unfortunate misunderstandings. Although this chaos leads to great tragedy, it also helps him to achieve an important personal victory.
The film is presented from the perspective of Lieutenant Erica Kruger (Marlee van der Merwe), from the police witness protection programme, and is based on the bestselling novel by popular New Zealand author, Zirk van den Berg, Nobody Dies (later translated to Afrikaans as Ander Mens), which received the kykNET-Rapport Award in the film category in 2014.
“While the basic storyline is the same, the film differs drastically from the book,” reveals Krog about the screenplay adaptation, which he undertook with the help of Sean Robert Daniels, Herman Binge and Frannie van der Walt. “The events and background stories of the characters have been adapted to better suit the format and duration of the film.”
Most of the action-packed events take place in the picturesque, mountainous Du Toitskloof area in the Cape. The film shifts local boundaries in terms of style and genre, and the same type of camera lens used for the 1970s hit The Godfather was used to great effect in this modern action-thriller.
Marche Media, an experienced Cape Town-based film and television production company, is the proud producer of this film. They are especially known for very successful projects such as kykNET series Waterfront, Die Spreeus, Die Byl 2, Dwaalster, Boer soek ’n Vrou and Mooimaak, as well as internationally acclaimed local feature films, such as Nobody’s Died Laughing (2015), Johnny Is Nie Dood Nie (2016), Kanarie (2018) en Die Seemeeu (2018).
“This film is a story about uncomfortable common characters who experience uncommon, surprising twists in their lives. It is told with tongue-in-cheek violence, humour and action, but also with a serious undertone, which presents the audience with a life lesson. It is mainly good unpretentious entertainment, but the message is clear that, if you are unsatisfied with your life and unhappy, do something about it! Do not wait for fate to push you into a dead-end,” says Herman Binge, director at Marche Media.
Bennie plays the role of the nerd, Daniël, who spends his entire life being bullied by the people around him. This respected actor and comedian, who is known for his roles in Vir die Voëls, Vuil Wasgoed, Mooirivier and Hotel, gained sixteen kilogram for his first lead and reckons that it helped a lot to place him in the shoes of his character.
“Many of the bad things that happen to Daniël, are things he allows to happen, and one of his biggest challenges is to reach the point where he takes control of his life,” reveals Bennie. “It was a difficult character to play, especially since he accepts things so complacently. I had to interpret him in such a way that the audience wouldn’t get annoyed with the fact that, for the majority of the film, he does not stand up for himself.”
Getroud met Rugby and the stage production of Aspoestertjie’s Marlee van der Merwe, who achieved fame for her roles in Pretville and Sterlopers, was eight months pregnant when she was approached to play the role of Erica Kruger, a serial killer with her own agenda. Not only did she have to work very hard to get rid of her extra baby weight, but she also had to spend time with a choreographer to train properly in order to make her fight scenes as convincing as possible.
“The physical aspect of this film was a wonderful experience and a great challenge. I discovered something about myself in the process, which is that I am stronger than I thought,” says Marlee. “Quentin is a director I would trust with any visual material. I feel very safe with him on set and he always handles actors with so much dignity.”
Although Frank Opperman (Orkney Snork Nie, Gautêng-alêng-alêng, Dis Koue Kos, Skat, Ouboet & Wors and Dominee Tienie) usually plays the role of the innocent joker, he is this time round the gang-leader, Frank.
“Because I usually play the idiot, I enjoyed being the villain for once. Frank is crazy and violent. He is a classical movie character,” Opperman says about the opportunity to step out of his comfort zone.
Mixed in with the blood and consternation, the viewer will definitely be confronted with many stereotypes, but will quickly realise that ANDER MENS, uncovers deeper themes such as bullying, self-image, respect, relationships, family ties, violence and crime. It shows that even the most hardened personality can also sometimes become vulnerable and that, in the end, a Nobody can develop into a Somebody who can stand up for himself. This film promises to occasionally have audiences in stitches, due to the witty dialogue and dark humour, as well as delivering nail-biting suspense as the events unfold and they realise that it is every person’s responsibility to determine his own identity in life.
“The seriousness of the dramatic events on the screen is counter-balanced with sincere, effortless comedy, which makes it pleasing to watch,” says director Quentin Krog, when asked what sets ANDER MENS apart from a regular action film. “It is the type of film in which audiences can lose themselves, but will also leave them laughing and biting their nails at the same time.”