South African star Tony Kgoroge was named Best Actor at Durban International Film Festival this weekend for his role in Cold Harbour, currently in cinemas. Tony shared the prize with Timbuktu star Ibrahim Ahmed.
“The best actor award is shared between an actor who is established and commanding and a newcomer who is unforgettable. Both give soulful and compelling performances and are enviable collaborators with the filmmakers they work with,” said the Durban jury.
In Carey McKenzie’s African noir Cold Harbour, Tony plays ambitious Khayelitsha policeman Sizwe Miya, who uncovers an abalone smuggling scheme while investigating a Triad murder. The role was written especially for him .
The Sunday Times said that the character was ” superbly inhabited on screen by the charismatic Tony Kgoroge.”
The Sunday Independent said “ Cold Harbour will leave you with a warm feeling towards local movies and Tony Kgroge shines like a star.”
Tony made Variety’s list of South African talent poised to break out in 2010, after a fiery performance as Nelson Mandela’s bodyguard in Clint Eastwood’s Invictus, opposite Morgan Freeman.
He’s familiar with international audiences for his co-starring roles inThe First Grader, as the love interest of current Bond girl Naomie Harris; Skin, opposite Oscar nominee Sophie Okonedo; and as former ANC Secretary General Walter Sisulu in Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, opposite Idris Elba.
Remarkably though, Cold Harbour marks his first lead role in a South African feature film, and his transition to an action hero.
“In most of the parts I’ve played, my character has been politically-driven or very sad or a lover boy, so it’s very exciting to be playing such a different role, where I get to be more physical and macho,” says Tony. “It must be every actor’s dream to be the action hero; it’s something I’ve been dying to do for years.”
Sizwe does all his own stunts in the film, even taking on former Intercontinental World Muaythai Thai Supermiddleweight champion Quentin Chong and a German Shepherd guard dog in different scenes. “You rehearse everything so carefully, but when you get into a scene, the adrenaline takes over and things go crazy,” he says. “Doing your own stunts is one of the best things an actor can ever do. It keeps you in touch with your character.”
Cold Harbour had a sell-out world premiere at Durban International Film Festival and opened nationwide on Friday.