Not all superheroes wear capes. This is evident in the first South African Original Series that has been acquired by Netflix. "Shadow," a eight-episode series that premieres worldwide on Friday, centres on a former cop turned vigilante and the cases that he takes on to solve crimes in Johannesburg and restore faith in humanity.
But on the periphery, is Ashley (Amanda du-Pont), a good friend of his sister, who's med-student by day and adult entertainer by night. At first, she seems no more than a girl just doing what she’s got to do but later reveals superpowers of her own.
Du-Pont really impresses as she reels the unsuspecting viewer as she owns the small screen.
IOL Entertainment chatted to du-Pont ahead of the show's premiere:
Q: Ashley is not what she initially seems to be. What drew you to this character?
A: Is she really not what she seems or is she exactly what she seems but she just had to do what she had to do to make sure she achieves her goals?
Q: At first, the viewer is immediately led to believe she is the love interest but she has so much of her own interesting story...
A: Yes! So what attracted me to her was that she had so much texture. She was unpredictable. She went through so many things and as much as she was a good person, studying to be a doctor, she still went through and did dirty things to get by. The different dynamics showed me that’s how human beings are. We go through things. We have goals we want to achieve but what did we have to do or sacrifice to get there? I could relate to that. Her story really had me.
Q: How did you ensure that Ashley wouldn’t just be seen as a stripper but someone who takes power into her own hands?
A: At the time that she was stripping because she had to, she had not tapped into her superpower of femininity. Sometimes women don’t realise they have so much power. It’s not necessarily boxing and guns. But towards the end, she has to tap into that in order to help Shadow save people. What’s nice about this series is that superpowers are a relatable trait. It's not like I shoot beams and there's lightning and people turn green. No. It’s so close to reality.
Q: How did you prepare to play this character?
A: I did have to do my own stunts - we all did. I definitely didn’t have to do any pole dancing lessons because it would have been doing an injustice to the story. The story is that Ashley didn’t want to be there. There was power in her being uncomfortable. It brings us back to young, beautiful, ambitious South African women who end up sleeping with men they don’t want to. What I did do to prepare, was to chat to strippers to get into their mindsets and why they do what they do. I was blown away by how smart they are, the business plans they had and saw that this was just a small pit stop to get to where they need to be. That helped my character so much.
Q: As an actor who has worked in both spaces, what is the difference between traditional TV and streaming?
A: It’s the way we’re evolving. If anything, I had more freedom and more of a voice to add texture to my character. I have so much to offer and sometimes, in TV, you’re told by a director to only do this. And that’s also your job. But with Shadow, they were interested in what I had to offer and I was allowed to add stuff.
Q: Is there something that you would like Shadow to fix?
A: That scar on his back! (laughs) He needs some laser! But other than that, that character is fiiiine.