Tonight viewers will get to see Lifetime’s The Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner Killer movie. Of course, it was a long time coming.
US-based South African actor Andreas Damm has been cast in the eponymous role.
He cautions, “The movie is bound to elicit strong responses.”
The film explores the fatal shooting of Reeva Steenkamp by her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius - nicknamed the Blade Runner - in the early hours of Valentine's Day in 2013 as well as the hugely-publicised court case, which divided the nation while attracting the attention of media around the globe á la O.J. Simpson.
Damm, who is best known for his role as Romeo in Person of Interest, admits to this particular role being “incredibly challenging”.
He explains, “When the role came my way - the tale of a fallen hero - I knew it was going to be demanding. On one hand you have a really intelligent, smart specimen of an athletic, double amputee who defied all odds and made his way all the way to the olympics and really became a hero for a lot of people around the world.
"On the flip side, you have someone with a volatile temper and he is a gun enthusiast - so there's a dark side to him. For any actor playing a multidimensional character like that is very complex - it’s an incredible challenge.”
On preparing for the role, he says, “I mean this is a world class athlete that you have to get ready for. So when I got the role, I had two weeks to get into shape before we started filming. On a physical level it involved: a strict diet and immediately hitting the gym twice a day.”
He continues, “To get into the psyche of the character, I read a lot of books, watched interviews (about him and with him) and studied his body language.”
In doing his homework, Damm knew he could deliver a more authentic portrayal of this real-life figure.
Interestingly, this character is far removed from his previous roles. Damm explains, “I usually don’t play real life people and this was something brand new; so the research was slightly different.”
Like everyone else in the country and abroad, Damm learned of the shooting via social media and other news on the day of the tragedy.
He recalls, “I was pretty shocked when I heard other news, it definitely came out of the blue for me, I didn’t expect it. I was in the United States when it happened and everyone was as shocked by it as South Africans.”
That said, he didn’t follow the trial with the same tenacity/ curiosity as most people. He just played catch-up on the news when he could.
On how he thinks viewers in SA will react to the movie, he offers, “Well, we’re looking at a very charged topic, we’re diving into a very traumatic event, it was a tragic story that affected two families very deeply, so it’s bound to elicit strong responses, and that’s filmmaking.”
Criticism is bound to be par for the course with this movie.
He adds, “And the public is entitled to their opinion, I don’t think this will be the last time the story will be told and, as the movie unfolds, I think it will lead to more discussion.”
* The Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner Killer airs November 18 on Lifetime (DStv channel 131) at 8pm.