South African-born actress Reine Stewart now resides in California, USA, where she has been dedicated to the pursuit of acting, even appearing in popular television shows such as “Z Nation” which is aired on SyFy.

Reine was at her parent’s boutique hotel when she got a phone call informing her that she had been offered the lead role in a new horror Movie called “Siembamba.” As production progressed, the movie was re-titled “The Lullaby,” and its American release is now set for March 2, 2018. In the creepy film, Reine plays a new mother who suspects there’s something wrong with her child.

Reine recently discussed this project and more via an exclusive interview.

History, horror, and acting

Meagan Meehan (MM): It’s great to see so many fantastic South African actors taking off in Hollywood! Are the others friendly competition and do you all know each other?

Reine Swart (RS): Yes, it is fantastic! I believe we all are routing for each other. I don't know all of them, but I do know a few, and they are just amazing. South Africans to follow include Kim Engelbrecht, Carl Beukes, Sibo Mlambo, Meganne Young and so many more.

MM: How did you land your role on "Z Nation" and what do you most enjoy about the character you portray?

RS: I did a self-tape for the role of “Carly McFadden” in Z Nation and got called in for a call-back with the director/producer, Dan Merchant.

I was very excited when I got the call that I get to play the lively “Carly McFadden.” I had a lot of fun playing her, especially with her optimism in every type of situation.

MM: What inspired you to become an actress and how did you land your role in “The Lullaby”?

RS: As a pupil, I enjoyed the subject a lot, and we had a great teacher, Martie Brandt.

I would say she was a part of my inspiration to become an actor. Telling stories through characters is something I enjoy immensely. I was at my parent's boutique hotel, Kleinkaap, eating lunch when I got the call about “The Lullaby.” I was thrilled as I knew I had done something risky in the audition but was grateful it paid off.

The risk was that I looked like a train wreck while most people looked perfectly normal for the audition.

MM: Why do you say you looked like a train wreck during your audition?

RS: The audition sides didn’t give away too much of the story, and from what I saw, I was the only one interpreting it that Chloe looked terrible. Thus, unlike the rest of the casting room I didn’t have any makeup on, my hair was messy, and I had a dull nightgown on! I didn’t look too great on purpose.

MM: What did you know about parenthood before signing on to do the acting in the movie and was there an actual baby on the set?

RS: My sister and brother both have kids, so I've babysat a great deal. I would say that I knew a fair amount of parenthood entails.

Yes, there were two babies on set. Two beautiful twins, so they can take turns.

MM: And how does horror factor into the story and is it true that the movie based on a real-life mythical curse?

RS: The horror in the film is derived from an old South African folklore called “Siembamba.” In South African there is old folklore about Afrikaans women who were raped in concentration camps by British soldiers, then gave birth to the “bastard” babies. Hence the lullaby originated: “Siembamba mamma se kindjie... gooi hom in die sloot, trap op sy kop dan is hy dood” which translates to “Siembamba mommy's little baby... throw him in a dutch, step on his head, make sure he's dead.” This is a terrible lullaby that Afrikaans people still sing to this day.

MM: How alike are you and your character and what was it like working back in your native land of South Africa?

RS: We are not alike in most ways, because of different environments. For example, poor Chloe grew up in an unhealthy household, whereas I was fortunate enough to grow up in a wonderful household. I would hope I am as determined as Chloe in some cases. South Africa is such a stunning country, and I love working in South Africa surrounded by my awesome family. The cast, crew and production teams in South Africa are really phenomenal.

MM: This movie is based on very disturbing real-life instances of rape in the past. Are these stories well-known and why do you think it is so important for the true history behind this film to shine through?

RS: The lullaby called “Siembamba” is based on the historic events in South Africa, and they are well-known. The history behind the lullaby is a mystery to most people, and thus I believe with this film, history reveals itself. It’s a valuable and tough piece of history in the Afrikaans community. Thus I think it is important to know what the origin of the popular “Siembamba” is.

MM: Also, this movie sounds really chilling--the history and song are really horrifying; stuff based on truth always seems to be the worst. So, did you see the film and how did it turn out?

RS: I agree the lyrics are creepy and to think we grew up in South Africa singing it without really thinking of the words… Yes, I saw the film on a screener.

I’ll be seeing it on the big screen next week. Our director, Darrell Roodt, and director of photography, Justus de Jager, are such a fantastic team. You’ll be on an eerie ride of cinematic beauty. All the shots are artistic and feed the tone of the film. I think it is an artistic, psychological horror and you haven’t seen anything like it from South Africa.

South Africa, TV, movies, and advice

MM: Do people work differently in South Africa than they do overseas?

RS: For me, it has a lot of similarities in the way people work, with a few differences of course. The main difference is that everything is bigger in America from the budget to the casting process.

MM: Is it much different working on a TV show like “Z Nation” versus a movie like “The Lullaby”?

RS: For me, it was, because the characters were so different. In “Z Nation” I was a bouncy weather girl and in “The Lullaby” I was a depressed young mom. Technically, it felt the same to me. The crew was a lot bigger on Z Nation and things like that. I've played some incredible parts, but for the future, I would love to play a character with some sort of “gift” or the opposite with a big “disadvantage” in life

MM: Where do you aspire to be in ten years from a career standpoint and what advice can you give to other people who are aspiring to become entertainers?

RS: I hope to be a director and actor with wonderful credits! And a happy family life of course. I also would like to be able to surf much bigger waves by then.

My personal advice would be to do as many acting workshops and classes as possible. It helps you to meet people in the industry, and it helps you grow. Make your own short films if you don't have credits yet. Then find an agent who believes in you!