Actor Anthony Oseyemi has covered the gamut of dramas and has enough big- screen credits to register on the radar of notable industry heavyweights. That certainly explains him exploring the soap genre as Hamilton Radebe in SABC3’s Isidingo. Debashine Thangevelo chatted to the talented thespian to find out more about his latest exploit on the small screen…
I HAVE interviewed Anthony Oseyemi quite a few times. And it’s largely because of his busy schedule which is peppered with roles in some of our most popular dramas, but at the same time he has also kept a firm foothold in the movie industry.
And despite ascending the acting ranks, he remains unassuming and keeps himself very grounded.
He starred in the South African Film and Television Award-winning (Safta) sci-fi/paranormal series, Room 9. Presently he is shooting his scenes as the suave Hamilton Radebe in Isidingo.
He stole some time from his soap shoot to chat about bagging the role.
“This is my first soapie,” he notes, confirming he was headhunted for the role.
Oseyemi explains: “I did the casting with Russel Savadier and Athos Kyriakides, whom I worked with on Room 9. Moonyeenn Lee (my agent) called me and said they (Isidingo) wanted to see me for the character.”
He was clearly the perfect fit and has been shooting his scenes for just more than two weeks.
His character is in his mid-40s and a prominent business adviser, who worked his way out of poverty into a lavish lifestyle. Younger woman view him as the ideal sugar daddy, but he is very focused and headstrong.
Shedding light on his character, he says: “Hamilton is a professional drifter. He is a slick dresser – he is very into his suits and ties. He knows Bra G from back in the day. He was called in to look over the books.
“But other things start to happen. He meets Sechaba Moloi and Lerato Tsotetsi and they become friends. And he talks about where he comes from, his goals and so on.”
Anyone who has spoken to Oseyemi knows he has a distinct London brogue thanks to his many years spent there.
As for whether that has been built in to his character’s make up, he notes: “No. He is very South African in the way he speaks. Funnily, in real life, my accent only flips to that heavy British when I’m talking to people from back home.”
When probed about whether he is filling the void of Slu’s absence, he says it isn’t the case. His character is more an extension of Bra G’s story arc.
“I haven’t got all the scripts. My character is there at Bra G’s request. There is definitely something going on with him – he is too chilled.”
On his new playground, Oseyemi laughs: “It’s different, but a very nice setup. It’s a good, humble working environment.”
Of his role in Room 9, he says: “Apparently, they are trying to get a second season running. Maybe that is after it picked up a Safta (Best Writing Team in a TV Drama) this year. That was a nice highlight.
“And the fact that it was something different and just a little left-field. I enjoyed the level at which I could play. We went through a good couple of emotions with the loss of his partner and coming into a new environment. Also, there was a lot in his past that he ran way from.”
Aside from TV, Oseyemi’s time has been monopolised by his big-screen roles.
“I just finished shooting a film called The Assignment. It is a South African a political thriller.
“And I have The Salvation, a South African-Danish co-production, coming out next. It’s a Western. The other movie I have, I play a Navy Seal. I get to run around, shoot and blow up things,” he laughs.
Aside from playing the big- screen action hero, he is happy to spend the next few months getting under the skin of his soap character.
He shares: “Career-wise, it’s great if you are invited to do some work on the show. It says a lot. You can feel the energy on set with new benchmarks being set and how things are being shot.
“Also, Hlomla Dandala is there directing as well. It is very nice to see interesting and familiar faces.”
• Isidingo airs on SABC3 at 7.30pm on weekdays. Oseyemi will be making his screen debut on July 10.