Arno Greeff as Ben Hugo in a scene from ’Legacy’. Picture: Supplied
Arno Greeff as Ben Hugo in a scene from ’Legacy’. Picture: Supplied

'Blood & Water' bad boy Arno Greeff joins 'Legacy'

By Debashine Thangevelo Time of article published Oct 2, 2021

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At 25, Arno Greeff has become a firm favourite with South African viewers.

Of course, much of his success stems from him being cast as Chris Ackerman in Netflix’s critically acclaimed teen drama series, “Blood & Water”, last year.

And he hasn’t looked back since.

When I recently caught up with the rising star on the small screen, he was wrestling conflicting emotions of excitement and nervousness.

It was most understandable, though, as “Blood & Water” was returning to the streaming platform for a new season and he was making his debut in the second instalment of M-Net’s Safta-award-winning telenovela, “Legacy”, as part of the new Hugo family.

He explained: “It’s a big week.”

But he didn’t have to worry about much. “Blood & Water” topped the trending show list in South Africa and his “Legacy” character Ben added an interesting dimension to the storyline.

Before unpacking his role in the M-Net offering, he shed light on reprising his pansexual, spoilt-rotten rich boy role in “Blood & Water”.

Khosi Ngema (Fikile Bhele), Leroy Siyafa (Sam Nkosana) and Arno Greeff (Chris Ackerman) in a scene from “Blood & Water” season 2. Picture: Netflix

Greeff said: “He’s a little s***, you can say it.”

We both laughed and I pointed out that Chris has redemptive qualities.

He responded: “Yes, I’m glad you picked up on that.”

“In season two, we are all good friends. So it’s not that weird awkward start where you are meeting everyone for the first time.

“But, at the same time, there’s so much horrible stuff happening in the world (meaning Covid-19) and you are trying to create the show.

“It was difficult to escape from reality because of the external factors but it was definitely easier to get going and a lot more fun to tell the story now that we are in it and we know it.”

Before being cast in this series, he had a few projects under his belt. His more notable roles were in “Bloedbroers”, “7de Laan”, “Vaselinetjie”, “Tydelik Terminaal” and “Vergeet My Nie”.

He shared: “Prior to ‘Blood & Water’, I only did Afrikaans work, mostly for kykNet and, here and there, for SABC.

“But what ‘Blood & Water’ has done for me, career-wise, is that it has opened up a lot more opportunities doing English work.

“And it’s sort of made it a lot easier going when I go and audition now because people already know me.

“People recognise me and we can actually have a conversation and it gave me a lot more confidence to audition as well.

“And I believe it has led to a couple more jobs and more people knowing about me.”

Interestingly enough, it was while he was wrapping up the shoot for season 2 of “Blood & Water” that his agent confirmed the casting opportunity on “Legacy”.

He explained: “I went to audition for the role of Robbie. I thought it was a bit too old for me but went for it anyway.”

The creatives also felt the same way and the part went to André Lótter, who is a friend of Greeff’s.

That said, his audition didn’t go unnoticed and they felt he was better suited to play Ben, who is Robbie’s teenage brother.

On slipping into the skin of an adolescent character once again, he pointed out: “We find Ben basically at the funeral of his father, that’s where they sort of introduce the new family.

“Obviously, he goes through a massively traumatic experience losing his dad and, at the same time, he is also going through that angst phase most teenagers go through, where you are not exactly sure what you are doing in life, you are looking for answers everywhere and now you lost the one person you thought you might find a lot of your answers.

“And then he finds out his brother isn’t his real brother.

“Well, they don’t share a father.

“And there are all these secrets in the family and that makes it worse and he finds himself in a space where he is completely lost and he doesn’t know where he belongs but he is still trying to make sense of it and keep it together at the same time.”

André Lótter, Kate Normington and Arno Greeff as the new Hugo family, Robbie, Janet and Ben, in ’Legacy’. Picture: Supplied

Kate Normington plays Janet, the mother.

Now that viewers have familiarised themselves with the Hugos, they are aware that Robbie is in fact Sebastian Price’s son.

But the scandalous drama has only just begun.

“Legacy” wasn’t the only door that opened for Greeff in the past year or so.

He admitted: “It’s weird how since the start of the pandemic, I’ve been the busiest I’ve been. I’m so cautious to say it because I know a lot of people are struggling at this time.

“For some reason, I’ve been incredibly blessed. I’ve got another film that I shot last year called ‘Vlugtig’, which should be coming out within the next year. And I’m also working on an undisclosed series; shooting that for the next three months. That should be out on M-Net in probably mid-July.”

With laudable projects coming his way, Greef pointed out that while it validates his proficiency as an actor, it took him several years to break into the acting scene.

And this tenacity and talent makes him a formidable actor to look out for as he plants deeper footprints in the industry.

“Legacy” season 2 airs on M-Net (DStv channel 101) at 7pm every Monday to Thursday.

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