Independent Online

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

Thapelo Mokoena goes against the grain in new Showmax series, ‘Pulse’

Thapelo Mokoena. Picture: Supplied

Thapelo Mokoena. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 22, 2022


STREAMING platform, Showmax, is set to debut “Pulse” tomorrow – an horror series starring A-lister Thapelo Mokoena.

Mokoena plays the character Errol, a game producer who discovers that survival is no longer just a game after an electromagnetic pulse bomb fries all the electrical circuits and people’s heads, causing a dramatic change in their behaviour.

Story continues below Advertisement

“Pulse is a journey that introduces you to the different types of people – their strengths and weaknesses, the highs and lows, the securities and insecurities – through the world of gaming.

“Every member of society is revealed to us through the world of these games, and heightened after they’ve been changed by the electromagnetic pulse bomb,” said Mokoena about the series.

Mokoena who’s well known for his roles like Quinn in “Trackers”, Fatani in “Wild at Heart”, William in “Bulletproof” and Axe in “Nothing for Mahala” said he was drawn to the character because it was like nothing he ever played before.

“I was trying to step out of doing these safe roles that we normally see on our screens. I get a lot of offers to do romcoms, but it’s not what I’m about. I’m an actor and I’m always looking for a range of diverse extremes,” he said.

After reading the script and envisioning the role, Mokoena called up his agents and told them that he wasn’t interested in any “nice guy” roles for a while.

“I’d rather go without work if it’s not the right kind of bad guy or crazy guy. And this character was exactly what I prayed for. I was like, “Lord, this is what I’ve been asking you for, for so long.”

Story continues below Advertisement

“Errol is complex. He’s got so much range. He doesn’t mean any harm but all he does is harm when he opens his mouth. He doesn’t mean to be an a**h**e, but he just happens to be. He’s a straight shooter. He doesn’t think before he speaks,” said Mokoena.

Although Mokoena isn’t a gamer it didn’t take long before he thrust himself into learning everything about his character, to perfect the role.

“I’m a nature baby but part of my skill set as a performer is to step into different worlds and into the shoes of different people to make them come to life. So going into this world of gaming that I know absolutely nothing about, that challenge was already special for me.”

Story continues below Advertisement
Thapelo Mokoena. Picture: Instagram

He said as a black performer he felt there was so much he could offer the role, especially because of the world of gaming in the township, compared to the rest of the world.

“Being a kid, seeing kids who love to game and play ‘Street Fighter’ and ‘Mortal Kombat’ at the spaza shop was always fascinating. I used to enjoy ‘Street Fighter’ a bit, but it wasn’t for me. I’d always get out early and go play football or whatever outside. But I always found those kids interesting; they’d do anything to get a 50 cent coin to go to the arcade machines.”

Mokoena built his character around sound research and then married that to what the story was trying to say.

Story continues below Advertisement

"In this case, the director, Sallas de Jager shared as much as he could and I took to the internet from 2019. I was reading up on stuff. I started watching a lot of content based around gaming, the dark web, the dark internet ... those types of shows. I started watching a lot of gaming shows I’d usually not watch. Now, I can’t stop!“

“I was like: ‘Hold on, we’ve never seen this from an African point of view’. There is no show like this from an African point of view. There isn’t anything like this, period. Gaming is a global concept but we’re telling that African story. It’s a gaming world set in the thick of Joburg and these characters we can identify with, taking on such a big concept,” said Mokoena.

“Pulse” starts streaming on Showmax on June 23.