BY FREEMAN MAKOPA
SOUTH AFRICA-BASED Zimbabwean actor Lerroy Gopal has disclosed that he had two breakthroughs in his career and learning from his mistakes made him a better actor.
The renowned actor, who is now a household name in South Africa, said the church stood as the greatest influence for his venturing into acting.
In 2000, Lerroy Gopal rose to fame in Zimbabwe after acting in the film entitled Yellow Card. He found greener pastures in South Africa in 2006 and 2007 for playing Thabang Ngema on the SABC3 soapie named One Way. He has also featured on Homecoming which is South Africa’s first Christmas movie, Roadblock, Seal team, Night Drive, Inconceivable, Ice, Revolt and Kite. He speaks to NewsDay Life & Style…
I have been acting in South Africa now for 19 years and it will be 20 years in January, I came out to study film and directing and ended up studying successful acting career here in Johannesburg after spending four years in film school and got married here and have kids and I run a small training business here where we do corporate training, communication and schools development training.
In my life I have experienced two breakthroughs with regard to acting and I think the first one is when I did Yellow Card and it was something really special and I was young and there were a lot of things I didn’t know and I made a lot of mistakes as a young person which made me to move to South Africa to start off again because also of lack of knowledge and spent four years in film school and flourished and did well. My other breakthrough came right after graduation, I got a slot in Backstage and there I started my acting career in South Africa.
My influence is church as we used to do skits and I learnt how to do puppetry and all kinds of things and people don’t know that I am a puppeteer. I loved the stage and at one time we did the show Singer directed by Roger Hawkins with my friend Takudzwa Chidavaenzi at 7 Arts theatre and it was packed with 1 500 people and that’s when I decided to do acting.
I have featured in a lot of films, I have enjoyed doing a lot of Justin head films, I have done a lot of movies with him and the latest we have now is one called Roadblock. We also did a great thriller that went worldwide which is called Night Drive and did greatly around the world. I did with US actor Samuel L Jackson on the movie Kite. I also starred in a Canadian drama series called Ice and it was fantastic and the experiences were good and we also finished shooting a film called Homecoming which is due for release here in December. I also did Shaina which I am proud of because I enjoyed spending much time with upcoming and veteran actors.
I feel the film industry has grown and it’s a business, If you do it right and invest in it you can live with it and take care of your family. It’s a dog-eat-dog industry and requires thick skin, but it’s a nice industry. I think what excites me is being able to shift from one character to another. Two weeks ago I was farmer James in a kids show and couple of weeks later I am a Pimp on Inconceivable on Mnet. It plays on Thursdays at 8pm and that’s what excites me. I don’t have regrets but I only have experiences because I know there is nothing you can change from the past it’s either you learn from your past experiences or you rot in the reputation of your experiences.
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