Interview: Celeste Loots on her role as Zanne Peterson in Trompoppie

6 December 2023

Interview: Celeste Loots on her role as Zanne Peterson in Trompoppie

In Trompoppie, a teenage girl, Luna, is taken in by the wealthy Peterson family to be part of their eldest daughter’s drum majorette squad at her prestigious private school. But when the lead drummie disappears, Luna becomes the number one suspect…

Melissa Myburgh (Dinge van ’n Kind) stars as Luna, alongside Celeste Loots (One Piece), Elzet Nel (Vaselinetjie), and Zandelle Meyer (Binnelanders), as well as Showmax favourites Jane de Wet (The Girl From St. Agnes, Griekwastad, Spoorloos), and Cantona James (Spinners, Arendsvlei). 

Also look out for SAFTA winner Frank Opperman (G.I.L., Nêrens, Noord-Kaap), Silwerskerm winner Stian Bam (The Story of Racheltjie de Beer), the celebrated veteran Albert Maritz (Alles Malan), 2022 SAFTA nominee Marion Holm (Suidooster), Fleur du Cap winner Daneel van der Walt (Recipes for Love and Murder, Nêrens, Noord-Kaap), and Armand Aucamp (One Piece, Troukoors). 

Watch the trailer for Trompoppie

Produced by multi-award-winners Homebrew Films (Wyfie, Magda Louw), Trompoppie is the first Showmax Original from SAFTA and Silwerskerm winning writer and director Etienne Fourie (Stiekyt, Tydelike Terminaal, Die Windpomp). 

Celeste Loots, who recently starred in the Netflix series One Piece, as well as the local Afrikaans crime drama Projek Dina, and the short film Sporadies Nomadies opposite Laudo Liebenberg, tells us more about her character and her experience on the set of Showmax’s Trompoppie.

Tell us more about your character, Zanne.

Zanne is the popular it-girl of the high school. She comes from a very rich family, but she is a very loyal person, and she has very good intentions.

What is Trompoppie all about?

The story starts with Luna (Melissa Myburgh), this new girl who comes to school where I’m kind of the queen bee – at least one of the two most popular girls. We need Luna to get our school’s drum majorettes into the finals of the national competition. My mother is Jill Petersen (Marion Holm), a big actress who controls the school from the sidelines. My character quite likes Luna. She seems like a good person to her, and she has a good feeling about her. But then there’s a party that goes a little wrong… and beyond that, I’m not going to say anything!

How do you compare to your character? Were you able to resonate with her?

My character and I are the same in how we are with our friends and stuff like that. Her loyalty (towards her friends) and that type of thing are what we have in common. She is a little more made-up (with make-up) than I would be on a normal day. I think she cares more about her appearance and stuff like that. However, if you look at her core, she is down to earth and humble, even if it doesn’t appear that way.

How did you prepare for the role?

I always start with the script. Etienne (Fourie, writer, and director) is so incredible that the script already has so much meat and is so fun to work with. But I’m quite pedantic – I write out a lot of things, like my scenes, and I try to figure out the puzzle pieces of everything that happens between the scenes that you don’t always see. My favourite thing to do for a character is making a playlist, and the first song on Zanne’s playlist is Harry Styles’ As It Was.

What did you know about drum majorettes before you got involved in this series?

My best friend in primary school was a drummie, so I went to her big national competition and she was amazing. At the time, I would sit in class with a pencil and try to do that thing with my fingers, and I never could! I was very nervous that I would come to set and then they would see that I couldn’t actually throw a baton! (Laughs) But luckily that didn’t happen.

Did you and the other actresses form close friendships on set?

Melissa Myburgh and Celeste Loots in Trompoppie
Melissa Myburgh and Celeste Loots

We started to feel like a small family. They are all amazing. I think I worked the most with Melissa (Myburgh) and she is a gem of a person. It was so much fun! Everyone maintained a very good balance between playing and being serious as needed. It created quite a nice energy on set. But most of all, every single one of them is amazing.

What stands out as a highlight on set?

We shot at night for some of the field scenes, and it was the coldest I’ve ever been in my life! We all felt like our feet were going to fall off! Finally, we found a large bowl of boiling hot water in which we put our feet between takes. It was horrible in the moment, but also actually so nice to share that moment with everyone. I will carry it with me forever as a good memory.

Does anything else stand out?

I walked on set that first day and saw a few people I had worked with before. I was immediately excited. Also every morning with the make-up team. Jolene (Cilliers) is amazing and my day started there (with the make-up team). Everyone on the production team always had the biggest smiles, despite it getting tough at times. They worked so hard, and such ridiculous hours, but everyone still maintained a good energy that made it so special for everyone else on set. It felt like a lot of love and care was plowed into it.

What was it like working with Etienne Fourie?

Etienne is amazing. You can see his brain is constantly making calculations and working overtime. I think he would almost laugh if I said it, but he always seemed pretty calm to me. But I don’t think he ever felt calm. Not for a second! (Laughs) But there’s something about him, in the way he talks to you and the way he approaches every scene – you’d never know that all this other stuff was going on in his head. He was always in the moment.

How did you get into character?

To get into character, I always started listening to my playlist in the morning on my way to the set. The make-up and clothes were very much Zanne’s style and that definitely helped. So it started there. Also, she wears an awful lot of rings, those little rings, and she was quite a hands-on person to me in terms of how she moves her body in the world. How she speaks and how she carries herself through the world starts with her hands.

Group of cheerleaders in Trompoppie on Showmax

What was challenging for you about the experience on set?

The dance was a bit of a challenge for me but in the best way. I think it’s because it’s one thing to learn a dance and choreography, and something completely different to be on set where there’s a camera moving around you, and then you’re here, but you actually have to be there, and you’re with other people, and then it’s the baton things in our hands, and there’s this ribbon that’s like a web around you at the end of the dance! (laughs) But as much as it was a challenge, it was also incredible.

Why do you think people should watch Trompoppie?

The unpredictability of the series is very nice. I remember when I read it (the script), I started to sit on the edge of my chair and I had no idea what was going to be on the next page. That was the best feeling. And the ending is just genius. Absolutely brilliant.

I hope the viewers see the complexities of each character, as well as how they can relate to the series. Even though it’s not necessarily a storyline that people experience, there are so many seeds of real life woven into it, and it’s just the authenticity of the series and the characters that make it such an incredible story.

Stream Trompoppie on Showmax, with new episodes every Thursday starting 7 December.