Hollywood's Gil Bellows on South Africa: 'What's not to love about this place?'

Canadian-born Hollywood actor Gil Bellows made a pit stop at the John Robbie Show to promote his latest project, the South African film Leading Lady. Bellows - known to South African audiences for his role in the Hollywood epic The Shawshank Redemption and the legal comedic cult series Ally McBeal - has nothing but praise for South Africa and his experience of making the film:

Spectacular - first of all, we were creative collaborators and now I've got a pack of friends. It was a great time, the spirit on set was...it was memorable. I would rank it high or higher than pretty much any experience I've had. I came 30+ hours to come and tell you how great this film is and I don't just do that for things down the street.

Asked what might make this country be well-positioned for the global film industry, Bellows responds:

You have an incredible base of talent both in front and behind the camera, you have an infrastructure, you have incredible scenery and diverse topography and spectacular weather - I even love this weather! (It had been raining in Gauteng for a number of days at the time) What's not to love about this place?

The Frank Darabont-directed epic The Shawshank Redemption will this year be commemorating it's twentieth year since it's release. Hailed as a critical success and one of the greatest films ever made, Bellows reflects on his experience making the film:

I can remember every single moment of being a part of that movie. It was for me a dream come true. It was what I hope everyone in life who seeks out the thing they want to do, has an experience like the one I had on that film.

When John asked him on the harshness of the business, Bellows just had to pull out the JR rugby files :)

Let's put it this way - you are a former rugby player, right? So imagine playing until your 70's! The beauty of what I do is that I can do it until the day I die. The difficulty is that the business wants to kill you, marginalise you or make you redundant. In order to stay relevant, you've got to be both talented and have some kind of direct personal connection with an audience. Both of those things in this complex, multi-layered, social media, 24/7, 365 kind of world is a very hard thing to do.

Some 702 staff had the opportunity to take snaps with Bellows, including John Robbie Show news reader, the lovely Lebogang Moeketsi:

Gil Bellows' notes on maintaining passion:

I think many people loved what they did and then somewhere along the way, they lost the plot. Keeping connected to what keeps you passionate is one of the challenges I think everyone faces in life.

Watch the full trailer for Leading Lady below:

Listen to the full conversation with John Robbie below:


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