24 February 2021
Laudo Liebenberg on playing the ruthless Rudy in DAM
In the eight-part psychological thriller DAM, now streaming, Yola Fischer (Lea Vivier) returns to the small Eastern Cape town of her childhood to bury her father. She’s forced to face the demons of her past while uncovering the source of the mysterious forces at play in the farmhouse where she grew up. At the same time, Yola is faced with an ominous sense that the townsfolk have anything but her best interests at heart…
Laudo Liebenberg plays Rudy Reese, the new town leader, who filled the position left by the death of Yola’s father, Jacob Fischer. But the first time we meet Rudy, he is cheating on his wife with Yola’s sister, Sienna (Natasha Loring).
We chatted to Laudo about playing a bully, what it was like to film on location with the rest of the all-star cast, and how DAM is different to the rest of the South African TV landscape.
How would you describe Rudy in your own words?
Rudy is a complicated character who struggles with the duty of being the community leader and the problems in his personal life. He was groomed to take over as leader from Jacob Fischer from a young age – he’s the next in line as the oldest male child from one of the founding families – so he pretty much got anything he wanted growing up.
He’s clearly a manipulator who needs to be in control. He was taught by the best, Jacob Fischer himself, and saving the town from the curse of drought and “plagues” is a responsibility he’s willing to do terrible things to achieve. He’s deeply motivated to make sure the town survives and to live up to Jacob’s expectations.
But he’s got an Achilles Heel: the women in his life. Keeping up the charade of being a family man is important for his status in the community, but he is nothing of the sort.
Did you relate to Rudy on any level?
I can’t really relate to how controlling and selfish Rudy is, but I think he is lost and considers what he does as the right thing to do, because that’s the way he was raised. There is a caring side to him, but it’s been smothered by expectations and the need to be accepted.
How would you describe Rudy’s relationship with his younger brother, Max?
Max has always been in Rudy’s shadow, and Rudy abuses Max’s desire to prove himself by getting him to do the dirty work for him. It’s definitely a love/hate relationship.
What was it like to film in a real-life Eastern Cape small town? What were some of the most memorable moments for you during filming?
I loved it – it was important for the show for us to be “stuck” there, and we all got along so well that there was nothing I really missed about living in a city. It was a good escape and I’ll carry memories with me forever.
There were some really funny moments during filming, such as accidental swearing in a church, and the shoot being disrupted by some interesting locals.
Why do you think people will enjoy DAM?
I think it’s a brave and unapologetic show that blends genres, and even though there’s a supernatural element to it, it still focuses on real people with secrets and scars.