BET’s Top Actor SA sizzles with romance


SA-ACTORTop Actor SA winner to be revealed 28 May 2015

After 8 nail-biting episodes, BET’s fresh new reality format Top Actor SA is down to the final 3, with Altovise Lawrence, Francois Jacobs and Nicolas Nkuna making it through to next week’s televised grand final (BET, Thursday 28 May at 19:20 CAT).

Top Actor SA, airing every Thursday on BET (DStv Premium, channel 129) at 19:20 CAT, aims to fast track one contestant’s career into the cut-throat acting industry. The prize package includes R100 000 international management representation with African talent specialists Restless Talent Management and a professional role in an upcoming South African television/movie production.

The news follows this week’s elimination of Busi Thalwa, a 27-year-old actor, musician and singer from Ladysmith in KwaZulu Natal, who was pipped to the post after failing to convince the judges with her performance during her movie scene in the Romance challenge.

Last night’s episode introduced the four remaining contestants to a surprise warm up challenge as Generations’ actress Xoli Zondi gave them the ultimate ‘trust test’, which involved overcoming their fear of heights. Guest judge/mentor Shannon Kane, known for her involvement in productions such as Madea’s Big Happy Family, Brooklyn’s Finest and All My Children, gave the actors their second warm up challenge – a sunset horseback ride on a beach involving holding hands and a romantic kiss.

The ultimate challenge for the episode introduced the actors to the script of a romantic film centred on speed dating. The top four received a once-in-a-lifetime workshop experience with Shannon, as they got to grips with her no-nonsense attitude to the craft. This challenge, however, proved anything but a walk in the park, as it resulted in Busi having a nervous breakdown in the middle of her scene: the volume of the dialog and the combined pressure of the set/director, caused Busi to fail to capture the true essence of her character.

On leaving the series, Busi said, “Being a part of Top Actor SA has taught me so much, this experience has helped me grow in my craft and I’ve learnt so much about myself in the process. I am grateful to have been part of this life-changing experience.”

Hosted by South African film and television star Zikhona Sodlaka (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Generations), Top Actor SA has seen 12 of the best up and coming actors in the country battle it out on camera in front of big industry names from Hollywood and South Africa.

The top three young actors still battling it out for the Top Actor SA title are:

Contestant Age Comes from Background
“Altovise” Lawrence 23 Boksburg, Johannesburg (SA) Recently graduated with honours from the University of Witwatersrand with a Bachelor’s degree in Dramatic Arts.
“Francois” Jacobs   25 Nelspruit, Mpumalanga (SA) Full time actor. Completed his BA in Drama with a degree from the University of Stellenbosch. 
“Nicholas” Nkuna 26 Nelspruit, Mpumalanga (SA) Actor/singer/thespian.  Studied Musical Theatre at Tshwane University of Technology Pretoria, was subsequently specially selected to continue honing his craft at the USA’s prestigious Ballstate University, Indiana. 

To listen to Busi talk about her elimination, tune into Best T in the City with T-Bose on Kaya FM at 11:20 CAT on Friday 22 May.

Tune in to episode 9 of Top Actor SA on Thursday 28 May at 19:20 CAT for the grand finale, and see the contestants compete in the ultimate challenge: making an action film. The contestants will learn stunts, fighting techniques and how to use firearms in preparation for their movie challenge.