As his roles get bigger and his name inches toward the top of the call sheet, Ferreira has accelerated his already rapid pace of work. In John Burrows, the new indie film in which he plays a pivotal role is slated for an early 2023 release. “I pretty much lived in the gym, to pick up — 13 kg of muscle — in preparation for the role, before production started in late August this year. In these new roles—as in much of what he’s done to date— Ferreira pokes and prods at new ideals, warping old molds into cruder or kinder shapes. In searching for a way in, he found himself gravitating toward the thing that is the centering force in his own life. “I try as an actor, filmmaker, and film producer, to push the envelope as a creative storyteller, and match the energy on set to give the actors as much freedom to express themselves and give the best performance.”
The wild adventures of John Burrows in Cape Town. A journey filled with fast cars, action, romance, and murder as he provokes “the jackal” to come out of the shadows. A deep conversation with a therapist leads to a meeting with an assassin. An interesting appointment with an eccentric dentist. And a sultry “lady in black” shows up with ulterior motives.
Liaan, tell us where and when your love for acting started.
You know, I’ve been thinking about that a lot. I guess, it all started as a kid, those late nights in front of the television, I can remember my Love for classic movies on TCM. The cinematic beauty of motion pictures with a story that just captivated me and took me to another realm. An outlet for me emotionally, somewhere I can just lose myself. I knew early on that I wanted to be a part of this and tell a story that evokes emotion, an adventure and if I’m lucky, maybe inspires people— as it inspired me. I’m one of those creatures that speak through art. I just want to always create. If I’m not, I feel like I’m dying in some way.
You have done various films, which one was your favourite so far?
My favourite would be my latest project, John Burrows. I physically and emotionally had to really challenge myself, and it also mentally prepared me with a psychological point of view on what it would be like as a person who has little to no conscience and acts upon his impulses. A colourful character that you love to hate but also enjoy in his adventurous, mad nature and unpredictable actions.
What roles and characters would you love to play?
I like playing the anti-hero, antagonist-type roles that struggle with the idea of being a hero. I play complex characters well and I think they are written better in my opinion. More depth of emotion — The Joker, Billy the kid, Indiana Jones, Dean Winchester, and ICEMAN from Top Gun come to mind.
You have been in both television and film productions, which is the most fulfilling?
To tell you the truth, I love them both. They are completely different animals and yet I feel like I would be completely comfortable and happy either way — for as long as I get the opportunity to do what I love —to act and be part of it all, on television or film — art fulfills me on any and all platforms.
You are starring now in the lead role for John Burrows, tell us about your role.
I would describe John as an apex predator roaming around like a shark, looking for his next target. Well, that’s how I saw the role and went about studying different wild animals. To better understand why he acts like a lion looking out at the prairie eyeing a gazelle. He has animal-like mannerisms in the way he goes about things and how he would attack without warning. John Burrows has a mysterious past that seems to drive him with vengeance.
Who is also starring with you?
I had the pleasure of working alongside some amazing people, we had such a great time onset – Zak Schabort as “The Dentist”, Jacques Adriaanse as “The Therapist”, Chrislie Niehaus as “Lady In Black”, Cameron Tyler as “The Assassin” and Hanres Beukes as “The Jackal”.
When will the film be released?
Slated for global release in early 2023, around March.
How did you prepare for this role?
My preparation for the role was intense. But I had a clear vision of what I wanted JOHN to look, sound, and be like. I never play a character with exactly my voice. The voice is one of the ways in and important parts of the character. My Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu background really helped with the physicality of the role. I had to up my fitness level by hitting the gym 5 to 7 times a week for 3 months and packing on 13kgs of muscle for the role. I enjoyed the fitness part of my preparation and it is a big part of my life. I also did a lot of research by reading books and watching movies that I felt inspired by and could contribute to the role.
Who produce and directed this film?
I was the executive producer and director for the film and the project was financially backed by NeoNomad. It was quite a change to be behind the camera and telling a story from a different view and scope letting the characters come to life and developing the story by making it all come together. It was a wonderful experience and something I really enjoys doing. It creatively pushed me and I just love the process of making films even more now. What beautiful art it is.
Who wrote the film?
I wrote and developed the story back in 2019. I admit that I’m a novice when it comes to writing but it is creatively exciting to do things that are out of my comfort zone. And I aim to write more in the future.
After John Burrows what is next for you?
Who knows what the future holds…? I’m enthusiastic about what lies ahead.
Where can people follow you?
Instagram: @liaanferreira Facebook: @actorliaanferreira Twitter: @liaanferreira23
Photo credit: Monique de Beer @moniquedebeerphotography