Netflix’s newest South African series Unseen is finally here. This thriller is led by Gail Mabalane known in the series as Zenzi Mwale a cleaner who could be best described as a chameleon. In the suspenseful six-part series we get to see her as a harmless and innocent cleaner whose husband’s disappearance triggers her capabilities of moving like a chameleon shifting to different emotions, spaces and degrees of violence with ease.
“On a mission to uncover her missing husband’s whereabouts, Zenzi goes down a dangerous and destructive path littered with sinister characters who want to exploit her for their nefarious schemes. Mabalane delivers an urgent performance as the increasingly desperate, yet determined Zenzi.” We got an opportunity to talk to six cast members and this is what they had to say:
Did you find it difficult or easy to bring new characters to life?
Abdul (Enrico) – I have played a few villains in my career so I think there’s always a certain rhythm I always get into. It may seem easy to play a villain but it’s not.
Mothusi (Lufuno) – For me, it was quite liberating to play such a decent man.
Shimmy (Alice) – For me, it wasn’t difficult, but I may have encountered some challenges because the character Alice is silent in her abuse be it verbal or psychological. As Shimmy, I am quite the opposite cause I love to talk so that is the only challenge I could say I had.
At which point did you grow fond of your character?
Abdul (Enrico) – I wanted to play that character, but at the same time hesitant because he is a sexual predator. It was difficult to process, but the years experienced helped in many ways to play this dark character.
Mothusi (Lufuno) – I liked him from the beginning.
Shimmy (Alice) – I also liked her from the beginning, because as an actor I could see what I could bring to the character. I wanted to bring some interesting choices as the actor to the character.
If you could play any other character in this show, who would it be?
Abdul (Enrico) – The detective, maybe I would have loved to play the detective even though I have played a detective before. I was first interested in playing the detective actually but ended up auditioning for the role of Enrico and I think it was the better role for me cause I had just come from Gambit Films as a detective in Blood and Water.
Mothusi (Lufuno) – For me, it would be Raymond.
Shimmy (Alice) – Obviously Zenzi [laughs], I would have loved to play Zenzi.
Are there any similarities between you and the characters you play?
Abdul (Enrico) – Even though my character is so dark and dodgy, I think he is a good provider and as Abdul, I am also a good provider in all aspects; financially and emotionally you name it.
Mothusi (Lufuno) – Yes, we are both nice guys.
Shimmy (Alice) – There aren’t any similarities between Alice and Shimmy, I mean I am gay and she’s not [laughs]… I am liberal in my thinking and she’s conservative.
What’s the last thing you do before you get into character and the camera starts rolling?
Abdul (Enrico) – I had to keep my body in shape, even though I didn’t have the time to do it daily I had to prepare for the physical stuff on set.
Mothusi (Lufuno) – I mainly focused on the script.
Shimmy (Alice) – I think it starts when the job is confirmed, you have to start conditioning your body because it’s long hours on set, evenings and late night shoots and your sleeping patterns get mixed up, so condition my body.
Are there any lessons you learnt from the characters you played?
Abdul (Enrico) – Don’t become like Enrico ever in your life, it did leave a pit in my stomach after some scenes.
Mothusi (Lufuno) – I didn’t learn so many lessons because we are similar but I could relate with him in terms of loss.
Shimmy (Alice) – With Alice, I had so much empathy with her but what I learnt from her is that silent suffering is detrimental to spiritual and mental well-being.