Cape Town – Victoria's Secret model Toni Garrn makes her acting debut in what is perhaps the most controversial movie of the year.
Toni will play Reeva Steenkamp in the much publicised Lifetime original movie Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner Killer which airs this weekend.
According to the official synopsis by Lifetime the story is told from "the point of view" of Steenkamp and her mother and tells "what allegedly happened" in 2013 when Pistorius shot her.
Taking on the role was extremely challenging for Toni especially because she would be playing a leading role for the first time she told Channel24 in an email interview.
"It is such a tragic and horrible story. This was a young woman who simply fell in love with the wrong person and that it could happen to any woman including myself."
She continues: "From creating a non-fictional character, to feeling empathy and sorry for Reeva and her family. It's still with me. I think about her life, her relationship and her family daily."
Before signing on for the role Toni says she was familiar with the case and that it struck her as one of the most shocking deaths and tragic stories in the media when it happened.
She has a connection to South Africa which made the story very personal to her.
Speaking about her decision to take on the role Toni says that she feels that the movie could bring the tragic story closer to the public.
"It would make it more apparent to people how sad her death really was and what potentially needs to be done about gun control issues all around the world."
Toni says mastering the South African accent was one of the hardest things she has had to do.
"I'm not so sure that I mastered it. I got confirmed for the role a week prior to filming and kept listening to my best friend talk as she is half South African."
She continues: "I used her voice to help me with the lines for the audition. She recorded them for me. During filming I had a dialect coach who I tried to see as much as possible. I spoke to someone daily in Johannesburg to get used to her way of speaking. Filming in Altanta didn’t make this task any easier, since the Southern accent was all around me throughout the duration of the film, and no one on set besides Andreas actually was South African."
Johannesburg born Andreas Damm plays Oscar Pistorius.
Toni says working with him was a great learning experience.
"He was a sweetheart to work with. He’s such a professional and it was a huge help having him as my partner daily. We hardly had any days apart since almost the entire film plays around the two of us."
"I learned so much rehearsing with him, being on set with him all day and night and simply watching his way to approach scenes and his character work."
Catch Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner Killer Saturday at 20:00 on Lifetime (DStv 131).
(Photos: Lifetime/DeVonne Jackson)