By BRUCE DENNILL
Tali (Julia Anastasopoulos) is back and – surprise! – she’s pregnant! While she works on her new look as a momfluencer, Darren and Rael negotiate the choppy waters of the Cape Town property game. And of course, none of it will be smooth sailing. Tali’s Baby Diary is now on Showmax.
Can you distil what it is that you love about film or television acting particularly – over other types of performance such as theatre? Are there aspects of the craft of acting that are different in front of a camera than when performing for a live audience?
My years at the University of Cape Town were very much about theatre training and I think for that reason theatre will always be my first love. I love the immediacy of theatre – the time you can invest in the journey and growing of a character and the way performances can shift energetically from night to night. Film and television is a completely different process for me and it took me a while to figure out how to make that shift. A film performance is so much more subtle – and I actually find it so much harder as a performer. I love the flow of acting, and being able to find a rhythm for a scene and character is much more difficult in a film as you are more than likely filming scenes out of sequence, and doing many takes over and over again. It requires an enormous amount of focus. I do still love it, though! Luckily in most of the projects I have worked on, we have been able to improvise a lot on set, which brings that immediacy and fun back into a performance – and the crew becomes a mini live audience, which really helps.
Film and television can involve an enormously lengthy creative process, with months or even years passing between coming on board via auditions and the premiere of the piece. What’s that like emotionally as a performer – investing heavily in something and then having to wait?
It can really take its toll on you. This is one of the reasons I almost left the industry years ago. It’s so difficult to keep your momentum going when work isn’t flowing from one thing into the next. But I am in the lucky position now where I am able to create my own work within the framework of our production company, Sketchbook Studios. When we’re not filming, I’m still writing or performing or using gaps to work on our next projects. My advice to actors or any creatives for that matter, is to find a way to keep your own creative projects going alongside and in between commercial work if you can.
How important is a message for you in terms of the types of stories you prefer to get involved with? Are you part activist (and if so, for what causes), do you want something that primarily presses artistic buttons, or is it a matter of simply working first and foremost? (Perhaps it’s a mixture of all three?).
I think it is a bit of a mixture of all three. I am passionate about being a comedic performer because that’s what I feel most drawn to as an artist. It took me a long time to find my niche and my form of comedic expression feels true to who I am. I guess being a woman in comedy has made me somewhat of an activist – and an advocate for women and girls wanting to pursue this industry. It’s a male-dominated space and if I can inspire other women and girls to get out there and do their thing, that is a huge step in the right direction.
What do you need from a director? Conversely, what won’t you put up with from a director?
This is a bit of a tricky question because the director I work with most of the time is my husband [Ari Kruger], which certainly has its pros and cons. But what I absolutely love about working with him, and what I appreciate in other directors too, is the space and freedom he gives actors to play. He always allows time for discussion, improvisation and fun – which is where I think the best comedic moments are found. We have a wonderful working relationship. On the other hand, I’ve worked on so many projects in the past when the director doesn’t even address the actors directly, which I really can’t understand. The communication and synergy between the two are so important, in my opinion.
Does the way a film or show is distributed make a difference to you – the impact of the big screen and epic sound in a cinema versus a film or series being watched on a laptop or phone? Please answer as both a performer and a fan.
Yes I do think that it makes a difference, as I have always loved a big screen experience – which is really what going to the cinema has become: an experience. On the other hand, I appreciate and love the comfort and accessibility of being able to watch media at home or in bed after a long day of work. It’s such an escape for me. As a performer though, I must say that being able to watch something that I’ve worked on in a big screen environment is really wonderful. You’re able to experience the piece with an audience and feel their live response to the work, which you can’t really get anywhere else.
Tell us about Tali’s Baby Diary and about Tali herself – how much do you relate to her and why is she satisfying to play?
Tali’s Baby Diary just felt like the natural progression for the character and we had such a wonderful time sending Tali on a pregnancy journey this season. We follow her self-obsessed “momfluencer” misadventures and let’s just say things don’t always go her way… It was such a wonderful opportunity for me to delve into this character again. Although we are so different in real life, I love the challenge of pushing the comedy of this character and bringing the craziness of Tali to life again. My own experience of becoming a new mom was so full of wonderful comedic material that it was such a pleasure to be able to relive it through Tali’s eyes.