STELLAR CAREER: Stelio Savante, the South African-born actor who lives in the US and appears in the movie A Million Colours.

Botho Molosankwe

HE LEFT SA to take up a tennis scholarship in the US.

But today, Cape Town-born lad Stelio Savante is making serious waves in another arena – Hollywood.

The 41-year-old has a lead role in former Friends star Matthew Perry’s romantic comedy The Whole Banana, which he is also producing.

Some of Savante’s co-stars include Dominique Swain, Kevin Sorbo, Dean Cain and Kristy Swanson – who plays his wife in the movie.

The story is about a struggling artist, Fran (Swanson), who is unhappy with the men in her life.

She prays to the Greek god Hermes (Sorbo) to help straighten things out.

Enraptured by her appeal, Hermes enters Fran’s life and sweeps her off her feet.

However, Hermes can stay on Earth for only two weeks.

Shooting is expected to start in Los Angeles later this month.

Savante has come a long way since his days at Camps Bay High School in Cape Town. After matric in 1988, he left the Mother City to take up a tennis scholarship at the University of West Alabama.

He moved to New York in 1990 to pursue a career in acting, and his career has grown from strength to strength.

He has starred in a long list of TV shows such as Breakout Kings, Ugly Betty, The Sopranos, NCIS, Without A Trace, All My Children, My Own Worst Enemy, The Suite Life On Deck, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and more recently Undercovers, the JJ Abrams (Lost and Alias) espionage series.

He starred in Law & Order Special Victims Unit, an episode that was nominated for several Emmy and Golden Globe awards.

Savante has just finished a supporting role in the Danny Glover movie The Shift. Last September he produced 110 Stories in New York, in which he was the lead actor.

He will next be seen on South African screens in the SA feature A Million Colours, which will be released in local cinemas in April.

The movie was inspired by the lives of Muntu Ndebele and Norman Knox, the child lead actors of the 1970s film classic e’Lollipop – one of SA’s biggest box office hits, which was viewed in more than 40 countries.