All "sharp sharp" for Claire Danes

2014-08-17 15:00

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Vuyo Mbuli must be smiling from the grave.

The veteran broadcaster, who died last year, will be proud to know that “sharp sharp”?–?a phrase he was known for?–?has caught on with Hollywood royalty. Claire Danes, star of the hit TV series, Homeland, which is shooting in Cape Town, says this is her favourite piece of South African slang.

She intends to keep using it when she goes back home to the US.

“‘Sharp sharp’ is my favourite,” she enthused when City Press visited her on the set of the series.

The actress plays Carrie Mathison, a CIA operations officer with bipolar disorder, in the Golden Globe and Emmy-award winning drama.

“Of course, I know about ‘just now’, ‘now now’ and ‘howzit’. One of my best friends lived in Cape Town for two years and our children are around the same age. She kept calling my son ‘boy’ and I thought that was kind of aggressive, but I actually now see why she was doing that. I also like ‘my lady’ and ‘boss’,” she said.

Not only has her stay been a lesson in linguistics, but Danes has indulged in the culinary delights offered by the fairest Cape.

“As for food, I’m now officially on a diet because the food has been effing incredible. When I first got here, I was a little overexcited, so I’m taking a pause for a second so I can head back to the culinary offers again.

“Cape Town has been good to me, I love being here. It’s one of the most beautiful places I have been to on the planet. I travel pretty extensively and it is breathtakingly beautiful.

“I’ve been doing these trail runs and I can’t believe this is just a casual run at the end of the day?–?they have these heavenly views.

“But I’ve been working hard too and spending the majority of my time at the office, so to speak.

“I’m also aware of the cultures recalibrating after apartheid. But I’m moved by the beauty of the place and the people have been warm.”

It’s not only Danes who is taken by Cape Town: her co-star Mandy Patinkin, veteran of such movies as Yentl and The Princess Bride, loves malva pudding.

He’s heading to Hermanus soon to see the whales and met Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu at the Artscape Theatre.

Laila Robins, who joins Homeland in this, its fourth season, as the US ambassador to Pakistan Martha Boyd, said she believed she had been sent to South Africa by her late friends.

“It has been a dream. To have this show shooting here is a gift. My neighbour in New York used to come to Cape Town with her friend from Chicago. They were elderly friends of mine and passed away last year. I actually think they sent me here,” said Robins.

“It has almost been like a little bit of heaven and I have actually felt like my days are unreal. I started with the hop-on hop-off bus and it was just one beautiful thing after the next. I also got attached to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden and try to help with fundraising to create some educational programmes for the children to learn about the environment,” she said.

Robins said she also found the winelands extraordinary, “but the wine here is much stronger”.

“I’m learning that the hard way, finding my level.”

In the coming season, Cape Town stands in for Pakistan and Moonlighting Films’ Angela Phillips, the unit production manager, said they had employed between 200 and 250 South Africans.

Scenes have been shot everywhere from Franschhoek and Stellenbosch to Salt River and Wynberg, all the areas standing in for different parts of Pakistan.

Homeland Season 4 starts airing in the US and South Africa in October.

It will be aired here on a new, as-yet-unnamed M-Net channel on DStv Premium.

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