‘Spinners’ and ‘White Lies’ actor Brendon Daniels opens up about not judging his characters

Brendon Daniels as Detective Forty Bell in ‘White Lies.’ Picture: Supplied.

Brendon Daniels as Detective Forty Bell in ‘White Lies.’ Picture: Supplied.

Published Jun 10, 2024


From portraying a ruthless gangster to playing a brave policeman, Brendon Daniels has made a name for himself as one of South African top actors over the past two decades.

And while he has starred in scores of English and Afrikaans movies, television shows and theatre productions, the 50-year-old is still as passionate now as he was when he first broke into the industry back in the early 2000s in the stage production, “Khoi Khoi to Toi Toi.”

“I've been freelancing for almost two decades now and I’m still as excited and invested as the day I began full-time in the industry,” he recently told Independent Media Lifestyle.

Daniels’ most recent work includes playing Hercules on the hit Showmax series “Spinners”.

The show, which has also recently debuted on DStv’s newly launched channel 1Max, shines a light on the spinning culture - a motorsport that involves driving cars at speed in circles and performing stunts in and out of the car - in the Cape Flats.

Daniels has since earned widespread praise for his portrayal of the cold-blooded gangster, who is gang leader Damien Santi's loyal henchman.

He also starred alongside “Game of Thrones” star Natalie Dormer in the local crime thriller, “White Lies”, where he played Detective Forty Bell, who is relentless in his pursuit of justice.

Playing such contrasting characters is something the actor takes in his stride.

“⁠I always aim to be as truthful to the character. It helps if you don’t judge your character,” he explained.

Daniels’ illustrious career also includes roles in TV shows like “Interrogation Room,” “Geraldina die Tweede,” “Shooting Stars,” the hit Netflix show “Unseen” and the local thriller, “Trackers”, which is based on the riveting novel by renowned author Deon Meyer.

Brendon Daniels in a scene from the hit Netflix show, ‘Unseen.’ Picture: Netflix.

He has also starred in films like “Four Corners,” “iNumber Number,” “The Young Lions,” “I Now Pronounce You Black and White” and “Agter die Berge”.

“⁠I am always up to play an array of characters,” he admitted.

Some of his scenes in these productions have recently surfaced on social media platforms like TikTok, where fans have praised Daniels for his portrayal of such nuanced characters.

He might have grown accustomed to taking up serious roles, but he has admitted that he would also like to star in more comedic productions.

“I would like to play more light-hearted characters.”

Daniels has come a long way in cementing his status in the industry.

His love for acting began at a young age when he would star in school plays and would participate in youth talent shows. He also worked at casinos where he directed staff shows.

Brendon Daniels as Detective Forty Bell in ‘White Lies.’ Picture: Supplied.

His big break came when he was spotted by an agent while he was singing and dancing as an Elvis Presley impersonator at various shows.

He was then cast in “Khoi Khoi to Toi Toi”, where he played a member of the Khoi tribe.

Daniels admits that despite his successful TV and movie career, he also loves starring in theatre productions.

“Theatre allows for great ensembles,” he admitted, adding that “a few characters I played on stage are some of my memorable characters.”

He also admitted that some of his roles on both the screen and the stage have been challenging.

He admitted to being take out of his comfort zone when was cast in the 2018 short film, “Cowboy Dan.”

In the local drama, he played the lead role of Cowboy Dan, a car guard who is convinced that he is a cowboy. After a vehicle is stolen from a parking lot, he goes on an expedition through Cape Town to find it.

As an acting veteran who has starred alongside top talents, Daniels is a role model for young and aspiring actors.

For those who wish to follow in his footsteps, his advice is profound yet simple: “To the new actors, show up and commit. Do as many varied projects as possible because there is no such thing as a small role.”

And as fans eagerly await for his next project, he indicated that it won’t be much longer.

“There is a new season of an existing series coming soon, so watch this space.”