Cape Town - It’s a crisp early morning in Camps Bay and the streets are eerily quiet. But at the luxury Bay Hotel things are already buzzing.
Guests are sitting down for breakfast at the top-floor restaurant overlooking the Atlantic ocean.
I’m here to meet Bennie Fourie, star of the dark new comedy Ander Mens which opens in SA cinemas on Friday, 23 August. In it Bennie takes on the role of Daniel Niemand – a punch bag type of oke whose wife left him for their marriage counsellor and that’s only the start of his troubles.
Ander Mens first premiered at the Silwerskerm Film Festival in 2018 and was one of the six full-length films competing in the festival’s annual awards.
Directed by Quentin Krog, the film put Bennie to the test and had him packing on the pounds to play a character that has completely lost his zest for life.
“We catch Daniel when he’s at his worst and his life is kind of imploding. Quentin and I both agreed that someone in that position would definitely not be motivated to keep fit. Which meant I would have to undergo a body transformation,” Bennie explains.
The 31-year-old actor went all in and gained a hefty 16kg in about five months to physically transform for his role.
(BEFORE AND AFTER: Left: Bennie as Daniel Niemand on set of Ander Mens. Right: Bennie at the Silwerskerm Film Festival 2018. Photos: Supplied/kykNET/Channel24)
“I went from 82kg to 98kg. I just chowed and stopped doing any exercise. I mean I know there are healthier ways to put on weight. Apparently. But we didn’t have the budget for that,” he adds jokingly.
“Instead of a whiskey, I’d have a beer. I had pizza and takeout and completely avoided the gym. Which means I’m currently having to work a lot harder to shed the weight.”
It’s been nearly two years since filming of Ander Mens wrapped in Cape Town and Bennie is almost completely back to his fit self. “It’s a lot harder to lose the weight. Getting back in shape is a bitch. It’s the worst.”
But this wasn’t the only challenge that Bennie had to face on the set of this project. A little birdie let it slip that the local actor had a rather awkward moment on set during filming in the Mother City.
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“We were filming a skinny-dip scene at this secluded spot at a waterfall and had to do a 2-hour hike to get to the location with a small crew. When we arrived the water was absolutely freezing. It was so cold that one of the actors actually got hypothermia.
“So what they do is they give you one of those cloth pouches. Like the ones you get with a pair of sunglasses. Then you kind of have to put the full package in there and tie it up. And Marlee (van der Merwe – his co-star) has to wear those nipple patches.
“In this scene we undress and jump into the icy water. As soon as Marlee gets out of the water the other girls on set run over to cover her up and keep her warm. One of the guys on set was supposed to bring my robe but wasn’t there when I had to get out. So I just got out of the water and kind of stood around with my arms wrapped across my chest to keep warm. Finally after a while a guy runs over and brings me a robe and whispers to me; ‘You know your…uhm…pouch fell off.’
“I didn’t realise that when I jumped into the water the pouch slipped off. That means the whole time after I got out of the water I was walking around naked, flashing the whole crew without even knowing it.
“But I don’t think there was much to see. Die skilpad het in sy dop geklim,” he jokes.
Ander Mens opens in South African cinemas on Friday, 23 September.