Kate Liquorish navigates a minefield of firsts in Africa’s First Netflix Original ‘Queen Sono’. The show, which stars Pearl Thusi, premiered on Thursday in South Africa, and viewers already watching no doubt find Kate’s character incredible.
A South African actress of British descent, her stage work has gotten her multiple nominations at the prestigious Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards (Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress). For her role as Ekaterina Gromova in “Queen Sono” she had to learn to speak Russian, as well as learn how to fight, in order to play the fierce, high level military contractor and heiress of a Russian oligarch in search of power and control over whatever she finds important to her.
On shooting Queen Sono, Kate said, “It was amazing. It was like nothing I have ever done before. I have never done anything action based and never been involved with anything with spies, espionage, or a thriller. So it was just wonderful. A complete first for me. I had to learn Russian, I had to learn how to fight, speak english in a different accent to mine. it was like navigating a minefield of firsts for me but I loved every second.
“Everything tested my skills. Learning to speak Russian and acting in fluent Russian was pretty intense. Speaking and acting in British accent was intense while everyone around me was speaking in South African accent. Playing someone who was quite different from myself, it was all challenging. I felt that my acting muscles were flexed to their maximum on a daily basis.”
Her character, Ekaterina Gromova, is fierce and unapologetic, a personality completely different from that of Kate who calls herself a ‘people pleaser,’ and even though she found playing her (Ekaterina) challenging, she felt very empowered by it. Kate said “I love that she is so strong and doesn’t care what people think. She says what she means and means what she says, and she is unapologetic. As women, we are taught to be very apologetic and taught to please. My own personality is that of a people pleaser–I like to please, I am always apologising so it was so refreshing to actually find that within myself to play that, it was wonderful and very empowering.”
She found the Queen Sono script intense, but she didn’t have to worry too much about getting into character. “I think, as an actor, my focus is always on the words. I don’t try and place an emotion onto a scene, I just speak the truth of the words and let whatever comes out of that, come out. And that has always been my acting style – it’s just to let the words carry the weight and trust them. The script was really fantastic, and the words are weighty and the scenes are intense. So it was not just having to put or stamp something onto that, they just are what they are, so let that wash over you. You let them take you on a journey and let them dictate how you react.”
Kate did a few ad libs on the script and attributes the witty one liners in the dialogue to having people like Kagiso Lediga, Queen Sono creator, who she had previously worked with on ‘Catching Feelings’ on the writing team.
She said “I added one in that I was so happy that they kept in which I say to Vuyo’s character, Shandu ‘God, you are in a foul mood, go get a massage’ that was one that I ad libbed and they kept it. I was just so happy they kept it because I loved that line. I loved the scenes I had with Shandu in the beginning. My favorite line has to be the Batman line ‘I know you are using our weapons when you dress up to play Batman at night.’ I absolutely love that line. What I loved about Kagiso and the writing team is having people who work in comedy take on this crime/thriller/spy genre and they were able to come in with these beautiful one liners that were witty and clever, extremely funny but not slapstick. Not like those bold one liners that you have to leave hanging for them to be funny.”
Even though she is always busy with work, she finds time to see a few shows because she feels there is so much good stuff out. She said “I have been watching Marcella, it’s a British crime thriller–about a female detective. I am absolutely loving that, it’s brilliant. I have been working really hard so I haven’t had a chance to watch that much. Oh, Marriage Story. God, I absolutely love that film. It absolutely broke my heart. OMG, Adam Driver, fantastic. There is really so much on that’s good and that is what I am learning, the ability to choose, it is really fantastic.”
Kate Liquorish stars alongside Pearl Thusi in Africa’s first Netflix Original ‘Queen Sono’ now available on Netflix.