Actor Presley Chweneyagae claims that despite several possible opportunities overseas, he refused to move to America after his Oscar win in 2006 because he did not want to end up on the streets of Los Angeles broke and homeless.
The star, who recently lit up TV screens after the launch of the iNumber Number TV series on Mzansi Magic, told TshisaLIVE that at the time he did not want to leave South Africa on “a whim and a promise”.
“My life obviously changed after we won the Oscar. I got calls from around the world and there was a lot of interest. I would send audition tapes across and sometimes hear back. I could have gone to LA, but without anything concrete, I didn’t want to rush off and then end up broke and homeless in LA. It happens all too often,” Presley said.
Instead the star signed up for several local projects, including several films and some theatre work.
However, no matter how much he tried to shake it, his role in Tsotsi stayed with him.
“I would do a number of roles that were different to Tsotsi to show my versatility but my role on Tsotsi stuck. You could say it overshadowed the rest of my career, but I am an actor who thrives off doing different roles, so I tried not to get too frustrated by it,” Presley said.
Part of that versatility has seen Presley make the transition from film to TV for iNumber Number. The show is based on the 2013 film which also starred Presley. He admitted that the transition was a little tough at times.
“It is a very different format. There’s a lot more shooting in the day and it’s very intensive. I had to listen to those around me and take their advice a little more than I would if I was shooting a film. But it was exciting and I am glad to have finally made my mark on TV,” he said with a laugh.
Although tight-lipped about the future, Presley said that he wouldn’t rule out one day doing a comedy or, at least, a less serious role.
“I think it would be fun to do something a little less serious. It is all part of being an actor,” Presley added.
iNumber Number airs on Mzansi Magic every Sunday at 8pm.