We've all seen the trailer for Check Coast. We've laughed and sneered at the comedic snippets on Vuzu and we can’t help but wonder what this new satirical comedy has in store for us. ZAlebs caught up with cast member Muzi Mthembu to learn more about the ins and outs of Check Coast and his experience with working with the likes of Khanyi Mbau and Kabomo.
Credit: (Leads Artist Agency)
Are you surprised by the positive response the public has given to the promo of Check Coast- even though the show hasn’t even aired yet?
Absolutely! I’m really puzzled and thrilled at the fact that such a short promo has garnered so much attention. And, In my opinion, the most interesting thing about that promo is that the funniest or the most remarkable things that occur on the show aren’t even revealed on the promo, yet people still continue to shower us with a lot of positive feedback. It really is intense and overwhelming for me because this is my television debut and obviously I’m nervous, obviously I’ve got a bunch of anxieties about my first time and as someone who’s entering this particular field of the industry for the first time you really want to make a great first impression.
You speak about your debut on television and, as you know, people on social media can be quite harsh. Are you ready for whatever response may come your way from the first episode of Check Coast?
I’m glad you ask that because the Vuzu audience are a very critical audience. They’re very vocal about what they like and what they don’t like which is why I think the channel is known for bringing forth such quality productions because they actually listen to their audience. So there’s a lot of pressure on Check Coast because it’s the first local narrative drama on Vuzu whereas most of the other shows are reality and internationally content driven.
With regards to me personally I find it strange as to how the public will respond to my character because I’m a theatre actor, I’ve had nine years of theatre training so as a stage actor I’m used to having an immediate response from the audience. On stage I have a pretty good idea of where the audience is headed at and therefore I can adjust that performance to the audience’s content. But you have to understand that when the promo came out we were still shooting some episodes so I really don’t know how I’m going to respond to the delayed feedback from the public. I’ll probably try to not search my name on Twitter although that’s going to be one difficult thing to try and avoid. The people I’m really trying to make happy are the director, the fellow cast members and the producers. Don’t get me wrong; how audiences receive my performance is also as important but at the end of the day for me this is yet another learning experience.
Without giving away too much of the story, how shrewd will Check Coast be towards Home Affairs?
Well it’s important to note that Check Coast is more of a mockumentary than anything else. It’s actually poking fun not only at Home Affairs, but the celebrity culture that we’ve got going on especially on social networks. The show itself is very tongue-in-cheek and it works a lot with irony, so it takes an ironic look at issues such as xenophobia and homophobia. When we first took a look at the script we knew that some of the content was going to start some sort of fire and I really just applaud the script writers and producers of the show because their philosophy was that if this was our first and last season let’s go out with a bang! There’s something quite brave about the show that I’m very excited about.
We like how you mention the word “bang”. Two of your fellow cast members caused a bit of a bang last year- The two being Kabomo and Khanyi Mbau. How was it working with such big personalities?
Hmm… who should I start with Kabomo or Khanyi? I’ll just start with Kabomo!
I’ve always been a fan of Kabomo’s voice and his music. He’s someone who already has so much acclaim but he was just such an amazing cast member, he was so warm and actually in many ways he was almost like a father figure to me on set. As we’ve mentioned earlier on about the public response towards my character, Kabomo constantly gave me tips on how to handle such things and how to not take it personally. In many ways he actually reminds me of Kelsey Grammer in how he approaches the text. I loved working with Kabomo.
With regards to Ms Khanyi Mbau, we first met up at the reading of the script; she walked into that room wearing sweat pants, no make-up. There was none of that ‘super-star’ Khanyi Mbau look, she walked in there like a true actress ready to embody this new character. And she was just so sweet and during the screen readings she was amazingly quick and precise in her choices as an actress, I was very blown away by that.
Then there was the first day of set. She had the full weave, make-up, contact lenses, in other words shead transformed into the “Khanyi Mbau” that I had perceived her to be. We actually did our first scene together and when the director said “action” something happened with her eyes, she literally became this character. I think Khanyi Mbau is such a complex media icon and one of her greatest talents is that she knows how to shape up certain things about her. When I worked with Khanyi she was so sweet and professional, there were no diva tantrums and no coming on set late, none of that drama. If anything she was so open to discuss how she’s been perceived. She actually said one thing about her that struck me the most she said:
“If you sat for two minutes with me, you’ll probably find that I too myself don’t like Khanyi Mbau.”
That just showed me that she’s absolutely in control of the beast that is her reputation but ultimately she’s an actress who knows her place in the industry. I definitely learned a lot from her and I’m absolutely grateful that we crossed paths in this industry. I can’t wait for people to see what she and the rest of the cast members have to offer.
Don’t forget to watch Check Coast tomorrow 23 January at 7pm on Vuzu.Tv and every Thursday from then on.
Follow Muzi @Muzi_Mthembu