Must-watch trailer: cheerleaders are turning up dead in Trompoppie

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Building on the success of Spinners, the first African series ever selected for CanneSeries, and 2023 Best Director SAFTA winner Donkerbos, Showmax has just released the trailer for its latest Afrikaans series, Trompoppie, premiering on 7 December 2023, with new episodes every Thursday until 8 February 2024.

When Luna, a talented gymnast, is awarded a bursary to a prestigious private school she could never afford, she is thrust into the cut-throat world of an elite group of drum majorettes, aka “trompoppies”. After a hazing ritual goes badly wrong, cheerleaders start turning up dead and the seemingly perfect facade of the community begins to crumble.

Trompoppie is the first Showmax Original from SAFTA and Silwerskerm-winning writer and director Etienne Fourie (Stiekyt, Die Windpomp, Tydelik Terminaal). Multi-award winners Homebrew Films (2023 Silwerskerm winner Magda Louw) are producing.

Building on her 2023 Silwerskerm Best Actress: Drama nomination as Mart in Dinge van ’n Kind, Melissa Myburgh stars in Trompoppie as Luna, with Silwerskerm winner Stian Bam (The Story of Racheltjie de Beer, Donkerbos) as her widowed father.

Working with Fourie was a major drawcard for Myburgh. “In 2014, I watched Die Windpomp and it is my whole family’s favourite Afrikaans film,” she says. “It was part of what made me want to make Afrikaans films and TV. There is no one else like him in our industry.”

SAFTA nominee Marion Holm (Suidooster) plays the unstoppable Jill Peterson, an ageing soap star who discovers Luna, arranges her bursary and takes her under her wing. “Audiences will see Marion in a completely new way,” teases Fourie. “Jill is a force of nature.”

Albert Maritz (Alles Malan) is Jill’s husband, Fred – the first time the two acting legends have worked together. Celeste Loots, who burst into the IMDbPro Top 100 StarMeter in September thanks to her breakthrough role as Kaya in One Piece, and 14-year-old newcomer Luca Human are their daughters Zanne and Elke. Human is the daughter of beloved Afrikaans actress Margit Meyer-Rödenbeck, aka Dowwe Dolla, and Fourie is already hailing her as, “An absolute superstar. Her future is blindingly bright.”

Also look out for SAFTA winner Frank Opperman (G.I.L., Nêrens, Noord-Kaap) and rising star Braeden Buys (Spinners) as detectives, Fleur du Cap winner Daneel van der Walt (Recipes for Love and Murder, Nêrens, Noord-Kaap) as a true-crime novelist, and Armand Aucamp (One Piece, Troukoors) as the trompoppies’ coach, not to mention Spinners’ breakout star Cantona James, SAFTA nominee Jane de Wet (The Girl From St. Agnes, Griekwastad, Spoorloos), Elzet Nel (Vaselinetjie, Magda Louw) and Zandelle Meyer (Binnelanders) as students.

“Trompoppie follows the different drummies in a drum majorette team that is trying to win the national competition, as well as everything that comes with it … the pressure, the training, school, popularity contests, and rivalry between girls,” says Nel, who plays the captain of the trompoppies. “That’s how it goes when girls compete with each other, especially between the ages of 16 and 18. It’s horrible. So Trompoppie also shows how each girl deals with the pressure of all this, and how far they are willing to go to come out on top. You are a team, but you (alone) are actually the team – you are your own team. So viewers can look forward to incredible dance routines – and unexpected twists.”

Homebrew pulled together an equally all-star crew, including SAFTA nominees Sunel Haasbroek (Hans Steek Die Rubicon Oor, Alles Malan) as DOP, Marné van der Burgh (Blood & Water) as costume designer, Johan Prinsloo (Tali’s Joburg Diary) and Eva Du Preez (Nêrens, Noord-Kaap, Die Boekklub) as editors, and Loki Rothman (Troukoors) creating the original music.

Fourie’s previous project, Stiekyt, was an intensely personal arthouse hit, nominated for five 2023 SAFTAs after screening at International Film Festival Rotterdam and at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, where festival programmer Edvinas Pukšta described the film as “Hitchcock meets Almodóvar in a South African drag club.”

In contrast, Fourie says he wanted to make Trompoppie for a much wider audience. “Trompoppie is a love letter to audiences,” he says. “It’s a wild ride but it’s entertainment, pure and simple, a whodunnit made to keep you on the edge of your seat, to get you excited to be the first to know what’s going to happen next before your friends and colleagues. I wanted my mother to be able to watch it, my sisters, my friends: anyone should be able to watch it and be surprised and entertained.”

While you wait for 7 December 2023, watch Fourie’s films Stiekyt, Die Windpomp, and Liewe Kersfeesvader on Showmax, as well as his series Tydelik Terminaal.

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