The story of a mother who killed her tik addict son made into film
Unflinching, emotionally poignant and riveting; those are the first words that come to mind after watching the newly released trailer for local biopic Ellen: the Ellen Pakkies Story.
The crime drama depicts the true story of Cape Flats mother Ellen Pakkies that grabbed global headlines after she took the life of her tik-addict son, Abie, in 2007.
In September 2007, Ellen Pakkies strangled her 20-year-old tik addict son in his sleep; she was convicted of the murder and received a three-year suspended sentence and 280 hours of community service.
Pakkies had endured years of mental and physical abuse at the hands of her son.
Award-winning filmmaker Daryne Joshua – renowned for directing South Africa’s Oscar entry in 2016 Noem My Skollie – helms the film.
A first look at the trailer sees Suidooster actress Jill Levenberg losing herself in the image of Ellen. Levenberg is said to have done a lot of research to make her interpretation as honest and accurate as possible.
For his portrayal of volatile Abie Pakkies, Black Sails actor Jarrid Geduld employed a method acting technique. Although he insists that he didn’t take it to the extreme.
“It is always a big challenge to tell someone else’s story, especially when it is still so relevant today. In preparation for this role, I decided to lose weight and do a lot of internal transformation, allowing myself to think in a way that was pretty much unhealthy, but in a controlled and meticulous manner,” he explains
“I hope that my portrayal will educate and provide insight into the mind and internal destruction and deterioration of an addict.”
Leading man Clint Brink slipped into character as Ellen’ defence lawyer Adrian Samuels. Although he wishes he could have spent more time with Samuels to know him, Brink says he relied a lot on his lawyer sister in preparation for the role.
“With this type of story, this is a reality that many Capetonian coloured people live with. Personally, it’s a story that I feel that its reality based of people suffering and it’s about abuse,” he says.
“What I want South Africans to take from this film is that we all have an opportunity to change these things… love your family and children better. Love yourself better so that we can be better representatives.”