The Content Showcase Extravaganza reached fever pitch when the stars of From Dusk Till Dawn: the series arrived in Mauritius.
The stars of the Robert Rodriguez-directed series coming soon to M-Net EDGE on DStv, D.J. Cotrona and Zane Holtz, shared the thrills of working on the show as the Gecko brothers, roles played by George Clooney and Quinton Tarantino on a popular cult film of the same name.
Cotrona also had high praise for actors and directors from the continent who have gained global exposure. “South Africa is one of the countries that has amazing actors and directors. I’m a huge Sci-Fi fan and I love the way Neil Blomkamp takes high concepts and grounds them in reality,” he said.
“Trevor Noah is hilarious taking over the Daily Show is like taking over America and I love watching him. There’s amazing African talent crossing over in a big way in the international industry, both in front of and behind the camera,” he added.
“If you’re talented and good at what you do, you can make it anywhere – it’s about being there and being right for the part,” Holtz was encouraging African actors. “I’m 15 years into my career. I started when I was 13 or 14. It took me a long time of living in Los Angeles and auditioning to get a part and now I’m in a series that is traveling around the world,” he stated.
“There’s no definitive timeframe for success, just believe it, do it, and stick with it until you get it” Quizzed about whether he would take on a role, telling African stories, he said he would work with anyone, from any country, if the story he was presented with was good and the director and his fellow cast were talented. “Whether from Africa, Europe, anywhere – I’d love to work with any team I thought had an important story to tell, and would tell it well.”
The duo discussed their love for the original From Dusk Till Dawn film, and paid tribute to director Robert Rodriguez for his vision and ability to bring a fresh perspective to a 20 year-old film, on the small screen.
“The series is really giving us the chance to re-establish the characters on TV,” said Holtz. “The first season sees a retelling of the origin story, but it also opens up more avenues for other stories to be told, showing the characters in a new light.” Cotrona said he was a big fan of the film and held it close to his heart as a fan. “Anytime you’re a fan of something you feel protective of it, and you don’t want anyone to mess with it. Luckily we’re working with the talented, original director and playing characters written by Quinton Tarantino, which is a dream come true for me,” he said.
Asked about the process of bringing the series to life, Cotrona revealed that a large part of the production value is down to director Robert Rodriguez’ ability to work on a shoestring budget. “Robert made his first film, El Mariachi, for US$7000, which he helped raise by volunteering to take experimental medicines in University studies!” he said.
“We don’t have a massive budget for the series, but what we get on the screen belies that. Robert shows that you don’t need a lot of money to make something look compelling and interesting – it’s about the vision and the story.”
It takes 4-5 months of shooting 12-15 hours a day to produce a season of From Dusk Till Dawn, a challenge which the pair relish. “We also do a lot of our effects without computers – Robert enjoys using real-world action – explosions, fights, car chases and fights,” said Cotrona.
Cotrona also discussed the revival television has experienced over the last few years. “A couple of years ago, when everything started going digital, people thought TV would be dead,” he said.“Now it seems like the opposite has happened. I’m not an expert, but my opinion is that in order for a film to be financially successful,it needs to be a hit everywhere – not just in the US.
Both Zane and D.J. invited From Dusk Till Dawn fans from the continent to reach out to them on social media.
The MultiChoice Africa Content Showcase is a dynamic 5-day content extravaganza, which sees a host of DStv’s biggest channels, including Sony, SuperSport, Zee World, A+E, Disney, MTV Base, BET, Comedy Central, BBC and M-Net previewing their latest and greatest content, soon to be seen across the video entertainment services provider’s platforms.