22 November 2022
Anton Taylor and Glen Biderman-Pam on Darren, Rael and Tali’s Joburg Diary
Tali’s Joburg Diary, the third instalment of the first-ever Showmax Original, is now streaming on Showmax. Tali’s Wedding Diary and Tali’s Baby Diary were the most awarded comedies at the 2019 and 2022 SAFTAs, winning five SAFTAs at each awards, including Best Comedy.
Having shared her wedding in Tali’s Wedding Diary and then her pregnancy in Tali’s Baby Diary, Tali (Julia Anastasopoulos, aka SuzelleDIY, in a two-time SAFTA-winning role) is moving back to Joburg in Season 3, determined to get Jayden into the premium preschool, Little Angels Hyde Park, and reclaim her crown, or at the very least the title of Class Mom.
To find out more, we caught up with Anton Taylor, who was up for a 2022 SAFTA Best Actor: Comedy as Tali’s long-suffering husband, Darren, and three-time Comic’s Choice nominee Glen Biderman-Pam, who plays Darren’s long-suffering friend, Rael.
Let’s get the embarrassing stuff out the way first. Tell us about the worst auditions you’ve ever had?
Anton: Over the years, I’ve had some scarring auditions. Probably the worst was I arrived at the audition – and I hadn’t been told it was for a musical series. So I had to try and dance. To dance and sing at the same time is very difficult as it is, even when you’ve rehearsed. But to try and sing and dance when you haven’t prepared for it, in front of a casting director who’s just looking at you with great disappointment, it’s tough. I tried to do a moonwalk… And yeah, I’ve never auditioned for a musical again. But who knows? Ever since I beat Glen to the role of Kenickie in Grease in high school, I have had that fire and love of musical theatre so maybe that will come back, like it does for Tali’s mom Michelle this season.
Glen: My worst audition was for Stardust, which is a restaurant where the waiters sing. I thought I was a good singer so I sang Robbie Williams’ Let Me Entertain You. And I remember about a quarter of the way in, the manager just left and started packing chairs and tables outside. So I wasn’t sure whether I should continue. There was no one else around. So I finished the song, and needless to say, I didn’t get the job.
How did it feel to get your first Best Actor SAFTA nomination earlier this year, Anton?
Anton: I just felt so happy. You dream about something your whole life, and then one day you’re in the kitchen, and the penny drops, and you realise that it came true.
How did it feel not to get nominated, Glen, considering almost all the rest of the cast were?
Glen: It hurt. It really hurt. But I think the reward that I get from this show is people coming up to me almost every day, saying how much they love the show, how much they love Rael. That’s the award for me. So, honestly, I’m happy for everyone. It would have been great, but it’s not what I do this job for.
Fill us in: where do we find Darren and Rael at the start of this season?
Glen: When we begin the season, we find Rael single, which he can’t seem to conquer, and we find him selling residential property. I will leave you to watch the show to find out how he gets to that.
Anton: Darren is very zen this season. He’s not so obsessed with the external stuff, like the Goldprop grind.
In your personal life, did you survive COVID better than Darren and Rael’s property company, Goldprop?
Anton: In hindsight, I’m not sure if I survived the pandemic that well. It’s hard to remember what happened during the pandemic. We filmed Season 2, and we made it through, but I think I’ve repressed the rest.
I used to do things like Darren does this season, with the meditation and the reading and the yoga, but I sort of put that on hold through the pandemic. It’s only this year that I’ve actually got back into trying to be more centred.
Glen: I didn’t survive COVID. I found it very difficult. It was really hard. I physically survived but mentally I struggled. I struggled a lot. I was with my family – my dad and my brother – so we had a strong unit. I did a lot of the usual online influencer things and I won a Bookmark and two gold Loeries and a Silver in lockdown. I probably made more money in lockdown than out but that’s no one’s business.
Anton, now you are a Cape Town boy, but you are also known for doing Jozi Shore. So what’s it like being back in Joburg this season?
Anton: I love Joburg. I was born in Joburg. You know when I did the Jozi Shore series, it brought me a lot of happiness and it really helped my career. Whenever I’ve worked in Joburg, good things seem to happen. I met my girlfriend in Joburg. I find people a lot more friendly and open in Joburg, and they’ll often say, like, ‘Oh my god, Darren, I saw you on the show.’ So I hope that everyone from Joburg can enjoy our celebration of it.
Glen, how does Rael fit in in Joburg this season?
Glen: Rael fits in beautifully in Joburg. A lot of people think Rael is actually from Joburg. He’s not. But most of his cousins live in Joburg. So he spent a lot of time there in the holidays, and of course, he went to Jewish camp and he had a lot of Joburg friends, so he fits in like a fish in water.
Is filming Tali as funny as watching it?
Anton: It’s hard to keep a straight face with this cast. When Tali teases Darren, I just find it really funny. And my scenes with Rael. Almost everyone says ridiculous things to Darren this season, so trying to keep a straight face through it all has been challenging. I’ve also really enjoyed sitting backstage talking. Kate Normington and Kate Pinchuck are hilarious. So it’s been a really fun production and I think that translates onto the screen.
Did you have a funniest scene this season, Glen?
Glen: I think the most taunting and daunting moment was Rael having to save Darren from drowning in a pool. That was also intense because we shot that in the middle of winter. And I also had all my clothes on as well as bandages around my face. If that’s not a teaser for you, then I don’t know what is.
What is next for you?
Glen: I’ve started a production company called Panther Punch with my partner, Oliver Booth [who plays the Selebowitz brothers in Tali], and we now develop content and sketches, sometimes for brands and sometimes for ourselves.
Anton: You know, the life of the actor is always full of uncertainty and ups and downs. I think what’s next for me is just trying to continue on the path of Darren and just stay centred and keep up with my yoga and my mindfulness and my reading and perhaps actually not letting work always be the most important or the only thing – trying to also enjoy the other aspects of life.
Watch the trailer for Tali’s Joburg Diary:
Stream Tali’s Joburg Diary only on Showmax.