EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Local actor Tobie Cronje shares his view on life and the SA film industry

Tobie Cronje. Photo:Supplied

Local actor Tobie Cronje spoke with Northcliff Melville Times about his life and his latest role in the movie, Die Rebellie van Lafras Verwey.

The Auckland Park resident said he started professional acting about 45 years ago for the Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal (Pact).

Cronje was always inspired by the works of Paul Newman who he said managed to combine the Hollywood image with being an honest gentleman so perfectly.

Tobie Cronje stars in Die Rebellie van Lafras Verwey.
Photo: Supplied

“One of the local actors I admired was Louis van Niekerk,” said Cronje.

What most fascinated Cronje about his chosen profession was the fact that actors could manipulate people’s emotions and how they thought, adding that it could make a fantasy world seem real.

Cronje’s latest movie was a popular radio drama and stage production written by award-winning author, Chris Barnard.

It tells the story of Lafras Verwey, an outcast who could never accept the realities of life.

Cronje said this character resonated with him because like the character, he too wanted to better the lives for people worldwide.


Tobie Cronje stars as an outcast in Rebellie van Lafras Verwey.
Photo: Supplied

“He is just a bit more deluded than I am and I am more pessimistic,” Cronje added.

One of his favourite movies is Rhapsody in August. His illustrious career has had him portray many roles, however, one of his favourite roles was in one of the first movies he ever starred in.

“I played a useless policeman in Die Sersant en die Tiger Moth.”

Cronje also shared it was great to act alongside the late Robin Williams in Being Human.

When asked what most excited him about the South African film industry, Cronje said the country was producing a lot of good films.

Cronje listed movies such as his latest one, Sink, Tess and Skollie among the many great films the country has produced.

“We are telling our own stories in our own way; I hope we learn from this.”

He hoped that the number of good scriptwriters would increase in the country, adding that writers needed to remember there were lots of genres, not just romance and comedy.

Cronje hopes to someday work with local stars such as Grethe Fox, Wilhelm van der Walt, Dambuza Mdledle and Tinarie van Wyk Loots.

The actor concluded with the hope that people would realise through film that their dreams were important, but there was a big difference between dreams and the reality of this life.

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