Daniel Dercksen shares a few thoughts with Superhelde writers and actors Andrew Thompson and Ivan Botha.
* In my interview with Andrew Thompson, who sadly passed away on March 9, 2012, Andrew was as charming as ever, a gentle giant with an incredible passion for his art and writing.
Well done on a really great film that I believe is on par with Ang Lee's Hulk… would you agree that the film an ideal way of showing how easy it is to face your worst if you are just true to yourself?
Andrew Thompson: Firstly, thank for the massive compliment… You are touching what the core of our theme is, we wanted to write a story of two average guys who achieve something spectacular by realising their inner value and powers. Their obstacles are overcome after they start acting truthfully and sincerely.
Ivan Botha: Yeah, one could say that. We wrote a film that says, its cool just to be yourself.
Why did you write Superhelde?
Andrew Thompson: Initialy,after Ivan approached me with the initial premise of Superhelde, I was amped to work proactively toward my acting career. It wasn't long before the writing bug bit. Tons of books, research and draft after draft later, and the bug is still clinging. Ivan and I have already started working on a handful of new projects.
Ivan Botha: I always dreamt of being a superhero, and so did most kids. We wrote it for everyone out there to have a great time and at the same time hopefully learn that we all have a hero in ourselves and can make a differance, without needing super powers.
What inspired your writing?
Andrew Thompson: To me it's about finding purpose in whatever you do. Our objectives and intentions are clear. So, in other words, I am inspired by positive intention.
Ivan Botha: Well, the idea was inspired by my personal feeling that South Africa as a country needs a hero, or at least a new one. Then I realised that the answer is actually that we all need to make a change in our country.
Did you write the script with yourself in mind?
Andrew Thompson: Ivan and I planned from the start to create characters, if we fall appropriately into them, then that's how we would like
Ivan Botha: Hell yeah
Tell me about your character?
Andrew Thompson: JJ is the antagonist in Superhelde, but the comic relief at the same time. All that JJ wants is his dad's approval, but his dad is not the easiest of men to please. He is a cut throat, money hungry, evil ass dude. His approval is fought for by JJ in forceful ways. We had a lot of fun with writing the character.
Ivan Botha: Albert is a young man struggling to find and acept himself for who he is.
How do you relate to your character?
Andrew Thompson: Haha! JJ is hard to relate with, seeing that he is so out there. I think anyone can relate to the hunt for approval, the lengths he take are a bit more extreme though.
Ivan Botha: Well at school one always asked the questions am I cool, good enough, so hopefully everyone can find a bit of themselves in Albert
The father-son Luthers is inspired…cannot remember when last I has such a good laugh
Andrew Thompson: Hehe, shot! What a blast we had!
How do you feeling seeing your words turned into big screen action? Is it how you imagined it would be?
Andrew Thompson: It's difficult to put in words what I felt. We are very critical and hard on ourselves, but when I sit back and observe and look at it more objectively, I go mad with excitement.
Ivan Botha: It is, some scenes are much more then i could ever imagined it.
Is it as funny as you wrote it?
Andrew Thompson: Funnier. The actors are all so good, and bring their own natural flare to the characters and dialogue.
Ivan Botha: I like to think so, we also gave the actors space for adlib, which added to the comedy.
Do you find it helps to write as a team when dealing with comedy?
Andrew Thompson: Definately, but we started, a few drafts down the line to focus on more, dare I say, dramatic elements. To have the comedy rooted from cognitive issues rather than just plain gags. It was a blast to test scenes and dialogue with Ivan. Ivan and I met at Pretoria Technikon, now TUT, whilst studying drama. We really only started talking shop after shooting Bakgat 1. We've been buddies and colleagues for four or five years now.
Ivan Botha: In my and Andrews case yes, we can bounce lines and jokes off each other, our humour is also similar, but i can imagine with the wrong co-writer it could be a nightmare.
Well we fill each other, in the sence of I cover his week elements and he covers mine as writers. We really just believe in the same stories and try our best to tell them honestly. As actors its just an extention of our friendship, so I am glad if it translates onto our work.
Are you a superhero fan?
Andrew Thompson: Not in the convential sense. I really like the psychology behind it and the aspirational values.
Ivan Botha: Yes.
If you could be a superhero, who would it be and why?
Andrew Thompson: Batman, coolest gadgets.
Ivan Botha: Superman, the ultimate original... enough said.
Writers also have superpowers, don't you agree? Without words there would not be a film?
Andrew Thompson: In Superhelde it's a case of a super alliance between a few strong forces. The ensemble of people involved made it possible to accomplish. Without Danie and Stefan (producer and director), and the exceptional post production team at Fixpost, the Superhelde team would've sat on the bench.
Ivan Botha: Thanks, sometimes words can be our down fall, when in doubt, write actions.
Have you always wanted to an actor or writer?
Andrew Thompson: I've always dreamt of being an actor, the writing came as an extra effort to further that dream. Now it's a full blown addiction which I don't see myself shaking soon.
Ivan Botha: Both, and hopefully very soon Director.
Where did it start for you, knowing that you want to writer/ perform?
Ivan Botha: It started late in high school after I hurt my back with rugby, I then only got involved with school plays. (As a joke) who's laughing now?
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