Trompoppie premieres on Showmax 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, trompoppies start turning up dead and the seemingly perfect facade of the community begins to crumble.
SAFTA nominee and ATKV-Mediaveertjie winner Marion Holm (Suster Graaf in Suidooster, Dot in Vlug na Egipte, Karen in Taktiek) plays the unstoppable Jill Peterson, an aging soap star who discovers Luna (2023 Silwerskerm Best Actress: Drama nominee Melissa Myburgh from Dinge van ‘n Kind) and arranges her bursary.
We caught up with Holm to find out more about her latest role.
What did you know about drum majorettes before you got involved with Trompoppie?
I thought a drum majorette was literally someone who plays a drum with knee-high boots, throws a baton, and then catches it again. Not anymore! (laughs)
For the trompoppies on this show, that baton is people! They spin and swing and turn! Yes, it’s completely different and much more intense. The old drummies that I was thinking of are not something where you can get hurt. This? It’s a whole gymnastics team.
Tell us more about your character, Jill Peterson.
Jill is a soapie star, but her career is now waning. It is very important to her to be famous – not necessarily successful – famous. She tries – throughout everything – to revive her career.
Is she happily married?
She married rich, but when the story starts you don’t know if it is happily married, or if it is just married to money.
Working with Albert Maritz was on my bucket list. I had never acted with him before, and it was more wonderful than I could have imagined.
How’s Jill’s relationship with her kids?
I think Jill didn’t achieve what she wanted to in her life. So there is a big chip, one of those party pack chips, on her shoulder. So yes, Jill pushes her children to achieve. A lot. I don’t think she is aware of it. I don’t think she is aware of how bad it is. But I think in the end she finds out more about herself than she ever wanted to know.
Are you similar to your character, Jill?
People often ask what the similarities are between the actress and the role. In my case, I think the similarities are that we use the same voice, face, and body. And that’s it.
Jill is so horrible with her child at times! Oh! (gasps for breath) I went straight to Luca (Human) and then I said, ‘I’m terribly sorry for what I’m going to say!’ And then afterward I gave her a hug again and said, ‘I’m so sorry! You know it’s just Jill! It’s not me!’ No, there are few similarities; this woman is merciless.
What are the major themes in Trompoppie?
You think it’s about drum majorettes and this little team that has to win, but that is actually at the very bottom of the priority list.
There’s a quote that says that if you don’t heal yourself where someone cut you, then you’re going to bleed on other people who didn’t cut you. There are quite a lot of people like that in Trompoppie.
I really don’t think anyone gets up in the morning and thinks, ‘How am I going to be really terrible and miserable with my child today?’ But it happens.
Parenthood is the biggest responsibility you can ever have, and the nonchalance with which people just have a child amazes me. I actually think it shouldn’t be that easy because the damage that can be done is just so enormous.
What stands out to you as a highlight on set?
What comes to mind first is the amazing thing I realised: that rich people’s stuff is not necessarily better. I realised that whether you are going to buy all your furniture from a cheap store, or from an expensive store, it is only the price that is different. It doesn’t mean you put any personal style or taste into it. That helped me quite a lot. It freed me from that thing of, ‘But if I was rich then I could also do this and that…’ No, man! Those things are uncomfortable to sit on; you can’t stand up!
What did you find challenging?
Look, I had to dress way out of my comfort zone. I like [wearing] tents. But then they put me in the tightest things, with a belt too. But I’ve never experienced anything like the people who did the costumes – the costume department and the make-up. I’m afraid I will cry now because it was amazing how they held one’s emotions as if they were candyfloss and empowered you to go out. How they managed to have me walk out there with confidence … I will be forever grateful to them. They are forever in my heart.
Any other challenges?
The high heels. Look, I’m a lady who wears comfortable shoes, and then all of a sudden I had to wear high heels and my knees still hurt terribly because it was still before the (knee) surgery. I don’t have the ability to walk in high heels, so they had to be very patient with me.
And working with the volume screen at Atlantic Studios. Have you ever sat in a car yourself with an electronic road going by? Have you? Have you ever had to drive? It’s terrible. I challenge anyone to do it. No, I don’t know how other people do it, but I can’t.
I was so sick. I was physically ill. I had goosebumps. I got motion sickness; I get it very easily from cars, planes, boats … I couldn’t concentrate on the words that I had to get out. You are not moving, but things are moving in front of you. I later said, ‘Just please put a bucket right next to me, because it’s going to be very humiliating for me to do that here in the car.’ If you talk about a challenge, this was a volume of a challenge!
What can viewers look forward to about Trompoppie?
You can look forward to a project that doesn’t look like any other project.
Don’t think that you can get up and go make coffee, come back, and not have missed something…
What advice would you give aspiring actors?
It’s a team sport. At the end of the day, the actor is the least important of those present on set. Look, there were like 56 people on set. There are many other people than just you and you have to trust them all to keep you on track. If the one who has to put the wedge under the tracks doesn’t do it right and the thing isn’t level, or the one who has to keep the camera in focus doesn’t do it right, then I can act as much as I want…