Sisanda Henna: Judge, jury and executioner in Devil's Peak

Written by Tashi from the blog Tashi's TV on 25 Oct 2023
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Hilton Pelser as Benny Griessel | Sisanda Henna as Thobela Mpayipheli

Justice and righteousness. 

Detective Benny Griessel versus Thobela Mpayipheli, the Assegai Killer.

Whose side will you be on in M-Net's new miniseries Devil's Peak?

It premieres this Sunday 29 October at 20h00 and the channel held a preview for it in downtown Cape Town recently, starring the lead cast and a screening of the first two episodes.

I hotfooted through for us and discovered that the show is a moral dilemma, particularly when it comes to Thobela, played by Sisanda Henna.

His son is murdered - shot by wealthy wretches who are protected by their family's money and power - and when he finds no justice in the legal system, he takes it upon himself to go Ezekiel on those he believes deserve it.

To quote Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction, who himself was quoting passage 27:15:

"And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers."
This speaks to the fact that there isn't enough decency in this world - bad, evil people win a lot. It's a scourge and feels like it happens most of the time!

Which is at the core of the show's themes: should Thobela escape the police? And what does it mean if he does?

In between the red carpet shenanigans of the evening, I got my clutches on Sisanda to ask:
Tashi: What is it like to play a serial killer?

Sisanda: I'd probably call him a vigilante more than a serial killer because serial killers, in my layman's understanding, just kills - whether they target women or specific people - but I feel like he's like an angel of - or at least, that's how he treats himself - of justice.

Maybe a dark angel. He's there to execute justice. 

Tashi: How do you portray that? - because he still kills people.

Sisanda: I have to admit something Tashi... I actually liked it. I think it's cathartic. I feel like with every blow - if you're in it as an audience member, you're going "Yes, yes, YES."

Tashi: Similar to Dexter - he also had what he believed to be another purpose. 

Sisanda: I'd do it again. As hard as it was - the shoot was so hard. I insisted on doing my own stunts but I underestimated the physicality it required.

I would work opposite trained stunt guys who are ready for World Cup Rugby and here I am at club rugby, having not played rugby in 10 years.

But it works in favour of the character because he comes out of almost retirement so Jozua (Malherbe, the director) kept saying: "That's exactly right - if he's limping, let him limp. If his back is a little sore, then do it, because he's unfit, he's been out of that thing for 10 years. 

Tashi: And that stunt when he's hovering on the outside of the building? Did you do that too?

Sisanda: No, insurance refused. They had a stunt double with wires, wired up to the top of the building so in the original shot you could actually see the wires running up but they deleted them out. He's actually standing on the ledge.

Tashi: I've been wondering what it's like to be an actor who plays a character that takes someone else's life.

Something happens in the psyche that breaks a switch for them and then it becomes mechanical.

Tashi: That's the thing - for anybody who does something that extreme, there's a switch hey?

There's a switch and did you see his switch on screen or the cause of the switch?

Tashi: Yes, his son being killed. Was there a definite moment that you would say?

Sisanda: I think it's... he loses the court case and then there's the moment in his kid's bedroom when he's weeping and it's at that point when he's like, "I can't just cry over this *bleep!*, I have to do something." And that's when he goes for his spear and breaks it.

Also, in the office with the lawyer, when he asks the boy's name, that's when he's making a decision.

Devil's Peak premieres on M-Net on Sunday 29 October at 20h00 for a five episode run. It'll also be on Catch Up.


Actors in this post: Sisanda Henna, Hilton Pelser

Shows in this post: Devil's Peak

Channels in this post: M-Net

1 Comment

26 Oct 2023 12:07

Love him broken heart with this show and Entangled 2 I'm in for a treat frown

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