29 March 2023

Luthando Mthembu on playing the charming playboy in Adulting

Rising star Luthando Mthembu, better known as BU, is a talent to keep an eye on. In a short space of time, the 32-year old from KwaMashu in KZN has proven that he’s here to stay. He’s a musician, actor and dancer who went from being a contestant on Big Brother Mzansi, which helped him garner a fan base, to being cast in his first acting gig on Mzansi Magic drama series Ayeye: Stripped. He portrayed Enzo in BET daily drama Redemption and currently plays the role of Vuyani in Showmax Original Adulting.

Adulting is an eight-part drama series set in the parallel universes of four friends. Their strong bond has held them together even as their journeys in life have taken them in very different directions – a bond the show’s creators describe as “the bromance of the decade”.

Watch the trailer for Adulting

We spoke to BU about playing Vuyani, who is a charming and adventurous guy living the life of his dreams. 

Luthando BU Mthembu plays Vuyani in Adulting

Tell us about the character you’re playing in Adulting, Vuyani?

Without giving away too much, the character’s name is Vuyani aka VU. He’s an amateur addition to the crew. He’s a clown, he doesn’t take anything seriously, including his life, and we get to understand what leads somebody to live the slay queen or materialistic life. We go deep towards understanding why he’s like that and his own journey.

What will the viewers like or dislike about your character?

I think the same thing that people will like is the same thing they will dislike about him. He’s not too serious, so he might take something that’s very serious and make it light. I feel like that’s needed too because you can’t be too serious in life. So his problem is gagging between wanting to be too serious or wanting to be too playful even when it’s time to be serious. I think people will relate to his playfulness.

Were there any challenges you encountered while trying to bring out this character?

I didn’t find it difficult to portray him because I once was him. I feel like everybody at some point was fun and not too deep. So I had to tap into that and also did a bit of research. I take my work very seriously so I did my homework. It took a while to prepare for him because I didn’t want to be too playful with him to a point where his vulnerability gets lost. That’s all I’m going to say for now.

What do you think the audience will like about Adulting?

I think people will love the fact that it feels real, it’s authentic and these are people viewers know and can connect with on a South African level. More than that, boys will be boys and I think this is portrayed so well throughout the show. People will love seeing the chemistry between the four guys.

Vuyani seems like a charmer and a playboy. Did you bring any of your own traits to this character?

I like that question. I took the perceived version of me and amplified it. I think there’s layers and girth in terms of who BU is, but when I got into the layers of Vuyani, I was supposed to portray his layers on a superficial level. He’s more superficial than me. He’s about the flash, the bling and I have never had the privilege of being that. Chasing monetary things and that’s part of who he is, getting lost in the hustle and bustle of things. So I borrowed from the bit that I have and also the people I know who are like Vuyani. I also did a lot of acting coaching to bring out the character.

How is Adulting different to the shows you’ve been part of in terms of the process?

I like that question because on Big Brother Mzansi, there was no preparation as I wanted to be as authentic as I can as myself. I showed people layers of myself in terms of veganism, and my love for meditation. Just the depth of who I am because when you meet me you wouldn’t think I do those things. 

Ayeye: Stripped was centred around women, which is great because it flips through roles and you see different perspectives. The character I was playing was more like a psychic. He was there helping and didn’t want to take the reins, although he could access them. The preparation there was easy because being a wingman is easy, you just let the person shine and not try to outshine them.  

When it comes to Redemption, the character I’m playing is basically like Puff Diddy. He’s the “It Guy” in terms of what’s happening in the music industry. He hasn’t broken the code yet in terms of how to make it. So it’s difficult to portray that because he hasn’t made it. He is like the DJ Tira before everyone knew him, that’s his vibe. 

Coming into the character I play in Adulting, I think it borrows from all these other ones but he does everything in his power to keep the spotlight on him. They call him Shakira and Beyonce – it’s all about him. Life is about him. The world rotates around him. No one else matters. He’s very self centred like that but I think that’s childish.

All episodes of Adulting are ready to binge on Showmax.

The Winning Ticket, a Showmax Original
Youngins S1 episodes 1-20 recap