To be honest, I had already given up hope of Class Act bringing the feature film that had been promised to us. The TV show was akin to an Idols for actors and apart from the prize money and a few weeks of film study in the US, the winner was entitled to a a lead role in a locally- made movie.
But two years later and we haven’t heard anything about a film.
Actually, since Class Act hasn’t returned for a third season and the year is almost up, it was, seemingly, safe to conclude that that ship had gone under with all the hopes and dreams. But we were wrong.
The winner of the first season of Class Act, Sdumo Mtshali, now gets the final part of his grand prize as he will star as Chilli Ncobo in the upcoming movie, INumber Number.
Directed by the man who conceived Class Act, Donovan Marsh, INumber Number is an action thriller that is set to raise the bar in that particular genre.
“It is going very well, but it is a tough shoot because we have only four weeks to shoot the whole thing,” said the man behind the lens, Marsh.
“It is very ambitious as we are shooting guns and have stunts of crashing cars and I have eight lead actors. Every day is very challenging and it’s like going to war because you never know what you’ll encounter and which battles you are going to fight and what compromises you are going to make,” said the director who is also the scriptwriter.
The story follows a group of armed robbers who rob an armoured truck and get away with some money. In their midst is an undercover cop (played by Sdumo Mtshali) who, at some point, gets hold of the cash and is conflicted over whether to keep it or turn it in to the police as evidence.
Throughout the film the gang members turn on each other, leaving you in suspense as you cannot guess who will end up with the loot.
“The story was inspired by Reservoir Dogs, where all the scenes happen in one location. I wanted to do something that I could do on a budget so we spend most of the time in a warehouse, and I wanted to do something in the Class Act vein so it’s an action movie with a conscience. It’s about a good cop gone bad, played by Sdumo Mtshali who won Class Act,” he said
Mtshali is over the moon about being part of the production, so much so that he has been preparing for his role for months.
“I have tried to be in great shape for this one,” he said.
“I have been preparing since January and am talking serious gym time. I want to do my utmost best on this one. I have have dreamt about this since I was a kid,” said the budding actor.
He described his character as close to him in real life, in that he has a “sense of ambition”. However, he distanced himself from the fact that his character is so consumed by that ambition that he can’t tell what is right from what is wrong.
His co-star, Presley Chweneyagae, plays Oscar, Chilli’s partner in enforcing the law. He is what is left of Chilli’s conscience and together they navigate through the heist case.
“Every time I hear of an audition I give my best to get the job,” said Chweneyagae.
Born to law enforcement parents, Chweneyagae found this role accessible and refreshing since he is always playing roles that put him on the other side of the law.
“I have been lucky to work on this production with stories like Protea Coin heists making the news. It helps me shape my character,” he explained.
Veteran actor Hlubi Mboya also forms part of the cast, as Gugu Zulu, a member of the robbers who also has a love interest in the posse.
“I’m battered and bruised and in pain, aching from shooting my stunt scenes, but you forget about it as you are in that moment,” she said.
Hers are physical stunts and Mboya looks in great shape.
“I always wanted a role like this because I am a very active person and have the emotional maturity to be the only girl in the crew,” she said.
• iNumber Number is to release in the middle of next year.