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ARNOLD VOSLOO

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Vosloo literally went into the family business when he decided to become a performer. "My parents, who are still in South Africa, were both actors. There was then no television in South Africa, and no real film industry, so they worked on stage. I didn't go to school until I was around 8, because I traveled all over the country with my parents as part of a theater troupe. Someone would put up a poster in a small town saying we were doing this and that play, and then two weeks later, the caravans would roll in, and they'd be in a church hall or a town hall or whatever, and would perform this play. The local farmers and townspeople would come from miles around, and pay 40 cents for a ticket. So I kind of grew up in the wings.

"Once I got older and had to go to school, my parents thought it best that they settle down - and also there was no money, really, in acting," Vosloo continues. "They managed a drive-in theater when I was really young; they'd do one or two plays, and occasionally go back to regional theater, but essentially just ran this drive-in. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting in the wings of the theaters, and also sitting in the old station wagon which was the drive-in's delivery vehicle, and used to pick up and drop off the reels of film from the distributors.

"It was a kind of fantastical childhood to grow up in a drive-in theater, because whenever they changed the program, there would be two new movies to watch. And my parents let me watch anything and everything, so I had a good time. I remember asking my father when I was a small boy, 'What is that up there? Where do they make these movies?' I clearly remember him saying, 'This comes from America,' and allegedly I said,

'That's what I want to do. I want to go to America and make thos movies.' And lo and behold, here I am, 1999, the Mummy."

 

He eventually began working as an actor himself, still only in live theater. But one day, his agent sent him out to read for a small role in the Patrick Swayze science fiction movie Steel Dawn. "I had no clue as to what the hell I was doing," Vosloo admits, "But I had a great time. It was nice to be there and be part of the whole thing, and to start the learning curve. I still haven't seen it, and I'm sure I'll be terribly embarrassed to see what I did in it, but that's water under the bridge."

 

In the late 1980s, as other countries have done in the past, the Republic of South Africa was offering "tax shelter" money to foreign film companies - extending the filmmaking dollar a long way. Cannon Films made a lot of movies there, and Vosloo was in several - though he doesn't even remember being in, for example, Buried Alive, a cheesy horror film with Robert Vaughn, Donald Pleasence and John Carradine (in his last movie). "Circles in the Forest I know , because that had South African content, and was about the extinction of the elephants in the forest. But all that other stuff - it's the old Cannon blur. The actors and crew in South Africa were collectively known as Cannon Fodder."

 

Volsoo was part of a local theater company around this same time. "A play the company had done went to the Edinburgh Festival; I wasn't part of that particular cast. I suppose an impresario in the States saw it and asked the creator of the play to come do it in the States, and I was asked to come along. It was called born in the RSA [Republic of South Africa], and was about seven characters, black and white, a sort of collage talking about their very different experiences in South Africa, their lives culminate in an event that has its roots in the evils of apartheid."

 

The troupe began their American tour in Evanston, Illinois, then went on to San Fransisco and Seattle. "It was a great way for me to see the country, spend seven, eight months on tour, being paid and having a clean bed to sleep in. It was absolutely fantastic." He was about to return to South Africa when he was apporached by Al Pacino to co-star in a revival of Salome in New York. "I went in and rad, and got it, and did that with Sheryl Lee and Al Pacino; he played King Herod and she played Salome, and I was John the Baptist. That was great for me, because he hadn't done a play in eight years, so everybody came to see him, and in turn saw me. While I was doing the play, someone who had seen me in it asked me to stay and do a film which led to another film, which led to another film...

 

He appeared in The Finishing Touch (a Corman film co-starring Ted Raimi), 1492: Conquest of Paradise, Hard Target, the two Darkman sequels, Diary of a Serial Killer (also known as Rough Draft) and Zeus and Roxanne. Just prior to The Mummy, he played the leading role in Progeny, a project he found very interesting. " I play a young ER doctor," Vosloo explains. "He and his wife have a strange experience one night; there's this light, the clock seems to have stopped and weird things happen. He sees a shrink because he's disturbed about it for weeks afterward; he can't sleep, he's tired. She takes him into some sort of regression thing, and he starts believing that they were abducted by aliens, and that his wife was impregnated. At this point, she comes to him and says that she is pregnant. So we're not sure if he's just obsessing about this, or if i