Reine Swart’s brave and fractured performance in Siembamba, which has since been renamed The Lullaby, must surely be the actress and producer’s calling card. Acting across film and TV, best known for Die Pro, Detour, Z Nation and Dominion, she’s recently featured in several thrillers: The Empty Man, Losing Addison and The Refuge.
Based on her full tilt SAFTA-nominated performance in the dark and disturbing horror thriller, The Lullaby, playing a young mother coming to terms with trauma surrounding her new baby and mother, Swart’s unfettered commitment to the craft is shining through. Spling caught up with her to find out more…
How did you come to be involved in Siembamba?
I auditioned for the film in 2016 and was pleased to hear I got it. I went a little all out for the audition with a tired face and disheveled hair. I think that is what made me stand out from the beautiful faces at the casting.
The role required an understanding of post-natal depression… how did you prepare?
I really liked digging into the psychosis of the character. To be bit of a pain, Chloe actually had postpartum psychosis. A common misconception. You get baby blues, post-natal depression and postpartum psychosis. Postpartum psychosis is very rare and by far the worst one a new mother can get. I read several books on postpartum psychosis… the best of them being, Understanding Postpartum Psychosis: A Temporary Madness.
Did you know how dark and intense the film was going to be?
Yes I did. Had a discussion with my mother and she told me about a friend of hers who had postpartum psychosis. I found it very interesting and wanted to be a part of telling Chloe’s story and other women who get this mental illness. It’s important that people identify the problem and help them.
Your role is incredibly challenging… which sequences did you find most difficult?
Hurting the baby was unthinkable and difficult. There were many other cringe-worthy scenes.
What would you say you brought to the role?
The producers were so kind to tell me that I was the only one at the auditions who made Chloe next-level crazy… I lifted the stakes and they adapted the script from my audition.
Was it easy to shake off?
It is acting, so I see it as my job, but I was emotionally and physically tired at stages, which worked for the character I suppose.
Are you thinking of having kids – did the film process give you any fresh insights?
Hopefully one day I could have a kid of my own. Yes it did give me new insights and I’m glad that I know what the symptoms are for such an extreme mental illness.
Your porcelain, blood-smeared face is quite iconic… you have a haunting and enigmatic quality…
Thank you, you are so kind! The baby was so cute, I would say he completely stole my heart.
How well was it received in South Africa?
I don’t have the inside scoop of how well it did, but people have been kind and have been sending me messages from around the world. America, Canada, the East and South America… I really appreciate their support. Not as much support from South Africa, but there are a few awesome South Africans who have been extremely supportive.
What was it like working with Oscar-nominated director, Darrell Roodt?
He is a legend. I really liked working with him. A big honour.
I understand you’re going to be working with him again?
I’m actually not sure if I was allowed to say this on social media… hehe. But yes…
Do you think South Africa should be focusing more on the horror genre?
I think people should make films they like. I suppose not a lot of South African directors like horror films, because we don’t have many horror films. South Africans haven’t been as supportive as other countries towards this particular genre. Hopefully we see more in the future.