SINCE joining Scandal in February, Romeo (Grace’s son) has cemented his bad-boy reputation. Although, he is more of a spoilt adolescent brat. In a chat with Hungani Ndlovu, who plays Romeo, he shed light on his character and what set him on this particular career path.
“It started through dancing in 2008. I have always had a love for storytelling. Once I figured that you can tell stories not just through dancing alone, that is when I thought of studying the craft to better understand how to use it,” he reveals. The 20-something actor continues: “I studied in Los Angeles for two years. Thereafter, I had a one-year work permit and decided to get some work experience while still in America.”
Ndlovu returned home in August last year and set about trying to get a foothold in the industry. He reveals: “I did some stage work at The Market Theatre and then Scandal happened." Peeling back the layers of his character, he says: “He’s fatherless, for one. Because of that, he is very spoilt by his mother. He has a short temper. He gets into a lot of trouble because he thinks he is an adult and knows how to handle things. And he is always in the company of older people. If he is with people his own age, he is usually taking advantage of them. He is one of those kids who think they have everything put together. He doesn’t have to struggle because his mum makes a lot of money and he gets a lot of pocket money.”
In being given carte blanche to do as he pleases, it is not surprising that Romeo often gravitates toward trouble. The actor admits: “Romeo likes taking risks and enjoys the danger part of things. He has been expelled from school for beating up a kid and sent for anger management, which his mum concealed. He is pretty chaotic, but thinks everything is justified.”
And he has found his next challenge: naive Lindiwe. While she thinks he is gay, he plans to play his Lothario card soon. He notes: “It’s because they have been in the same room on many occasions and he hasn’t made a move. He is of the mindset, ‘oh, is that what you think? I will prove you wrong’.”
What doesn’t help matters is Mlungisi and Zinzile Ngema’s disapproval of him being around their daughter. Ndlovu offers: “He is not really her parents’ favourite, mainly because he is like a chameleon and, as adults, they see it. Also, she has exams and has to focus.” Again, Romeo has a solution. Of course, with him involved, it’s a risky one. He plans on stealing an exam paper to help ease her anxiety. On preparing for any fallouts, he says: “He thinks he is a genius in IT and that he has covered his tracks. If something does happen, money can fix it.”
That Romeo and Lindiwe come from vastly different social strata also plays into his plans. He says: “In a way, he is showing off by making it seem that you can have this if you spend more time with me. She comes from a very good home with a honest and loyal family, whereas he was raised by nannies on room service.”
As for how the industry has been treating him with this being his first TV role, he shares: “I’m working with well-trained and experienced actors like Sello Maake Ka-Ncube, Jerry Mofokeng and Kgomotso Christopher. It’s very humbling for me to be in this position.” Obviously, now that he has whet his appetite for TV, he is hoping to hone his craft in more productions, including stage work.
So what can we expect from Romeo in the coming weeks? He teases: “A lot is coming. It’s very naughty stuff, which is putting Lindiwe under a lot of pressure. It’s a case of something being so wrong, but feeling so right.”
• Scandal airs on e.tv at 7.30pm every week day.