SA actor Keenan Arrison: Tomb Raider a breakout role

Keenan Arrison
Image: Supplied

Actor Keenan Arrison shows his prowess in the international hit film, Tomb Raider.

The 37-year-old, who looks no older than 30, says this is his biggest highlight yet.

"I was sent the casting brief by my agent. My approach to every casting is the same - get into the room and give it your all. A few weeks later I received a call that I got the job.

"Acting along big names like Alicia Vikander, Daniel Wu, Alexandre Willaume and Walton Goggins has been the equivalent of a master-class every day. Being in London for the premiere and walking the red carpet was a surreal experience. It's somewhat overwhelming but worth every moment," he says.

This is not Arrison's first international hit. He also worked extensively on the independent Hollywood film, Accident, about four youngsters who crash and get trapped at the bottom of a ravine.

In Tomb Raider, which opened in cinemas last week, his character Rocket is one of five mercenaries, a fiery loose cannon, always ready for action.

Arrison says he has a number of fight scenes and had intense and gruelling training for it. But the actor from Bo Kaap in Cape Town initially studied to be a chef.

"My grandfather was a chef when he was young, and so I think it's a part of my DNA."

His first big television role was in Divers Down on SABC 1 and he later starred as Clinton Arendse in the hit e.tv soccer drama, Shooting Stars .

"Acting always intrigued me. It looks easy, but so much work and preparation goes into creating a character. That was the hook for me. I decided to specialise because the more I searched and researched, the more I fell in love. I still have a passion for cooking and do a lot of it when I have time off. My career hasn't afforded me the time to pursue this option fully, but one day I hope to give my focus to this passion," he says.

He says the way to his heart is still through a hearty meal.

"The easiest would be food. I'm a complete foodie. Also stimulating conversations and healthy debates on anything."

He loves immersing himself in writing and listening to music that's not for the average ear.

"I have a rather eclectic taste in music. Currently I'm listening to Tame Impala, London Grammar and Childish Gambino. Classical music is also high on my list.

"I write short film and feature film scripts with other actors and writers. In my own time I write poetry or songs."

Arrison sings too.

Having achieved so much in his life, he says it's proof he is nothing like his character Danny, the deadbeat cheater in the Kyknet drama, Sarah SeGeheim.

"Danny is a smooth operating one-man band. The difference between me and him is that I am no smooth operator."

He credits his family for his values and work ethic.

"My parents and grandparents taught me discipline and hard work are key in getting ahead in this world. I don't think I'd be the person I am if it wasn't for them."

Arrison is also far from content. "I'd like to create and produce films for the local industry. It's an exciting time for the film industry and I'd love to be a contributor and player in that world."

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