Arno Greeff as Chris Ackerman in a scene from the Netflix drama, "Blood & Water".
Picture: Neo Baepi/Netflix
Arno Greeff as Chris Ackerman in a scene from the Netflix drama, "Blood & Water". Picture: Neo Baepi/Netflix

Arno Greeff expands on his pansexual character in 'Blood And Water'

By Debashine Thangevelo Time of article published Jun 27, 2020

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Arno Greeff has been around the acting block a few times, having performed in a slew of Afrikaans offerings: "Vaselinetjie", "7de Laan", "Desember", "Tydelik Terminaal" and "Vergeet My Nie". 

Bagging "Blood & Water" is a big deal for him, too. 

He explained: “For me, it was like a two-year process. Chris Joubert, who worked on the production design on 'Blood & Water', called me up one day and said: ‘Listen, I’m doing this job for a Netflix show and they are looking for an actor for the character, Chris, have you heard about it, can I put your name forward?’

“I didn’t even know what it was about. I just know two days after the audition, they called me up and were like, ‘Cool, you got the part!’ That was like or four weeks before they started shooting. 

This series was shot in Cape Town and Greeff was no fan of the weather. 

“I grew up in Joburg. I’m used to the dry, cold winters,” he explained. “Now we are in Cape Town and its wet and its raining and it’s cold and miserable. And then, also, if you have seen the show, there is a lot of pool scenes, there’s a lot of swimwear happening. The show was shot in the middle of winter and the pool wasn’t heated.”

Like co-star Dillon Windvogel, he was also in awe of Sello Maake Ka-Ncube.

Greeff laughed: “For me, I remember the day Sello was on set and I felt like a little girl, man. I couldn’t go into the makeup trailer because they told me he was in there. When I heard his voice,  I was so intimidated and felt like I was not worthy of being in the same makeup trailer as him.”

He got over the nerves and got some great advice and guidance at the end. 

As for his character, Greeff plays a pansexual.

He offered: “I didn’t know what pansexual meant so it was a process of finding out what that means and then realising now I’m representing a community. An important community that needs representation as well in the media. That became quite stressful because, as I said, you are representing a big community and I think what's beautiful about 'Blood & Water' and the character is, they don’t really dwell on Chris’s sexuality. There is one scene where it is mentioned and you, as the audience, realise what is happening and then it moves on. It’s not in your face. And I think that aids in the mission of normalising this and showing people that whatever your sexuality is, it doesn’t matter anymore. We are open and accepting towards that and that is the mission.”

Given the fan feedback since the show premiered, he clearly played his role with sincerity and heart. 

He added: “It was  a great honour to play this character and the love I have received was so beautiful.”

With this one in the bag and a second season on the cards, he said: “Aside from learning the acting technicalities, I can’t stop thinking about what this means for South Africa as a country and the local industry because the globe has been our work, our show, but what else is there? There’s a lot of other stuff to be created. Hopefully, it means more projects for Dillon and myself.”

Last week, Netflix confirmed that "Blood & Water"will be back for a second season, where Puleng and Fikile will now deal with the aftermath of unveiling secrets thought to be long-buried. And the original cast will return, too. 

Showrunner and director, Nosipho Dumisa said: “'Blood & Water'’s success is a testament to the hard work put in by the entire team towards expanding the African narrative in a new and exciting direction. It’s a privilege and a blessing to return to our beloved characters, as we delve further into the greater mystery and scandals of their world. Parkhurst is about to get really messy,”

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