We have another great interview, this time from Daniah De Villiers who plays Mia in Mia And The White Lion which releases today, April 12th. The film is directed by Gilles de Maistre and written by Prune de Maistre and William Davies. The film was shot over three years so we get some great information from Daniah De Villiers on playing the role of Mia.
Daniah was born in 2003 in Cape Town, South Africa. Her love of acting emerged at a tender age. At just 10 years old, she began taking acting and singing classes, taking part in countless festivals and competitions and winning a regional drama prize. In 2013, she was awarded the Junior Grand Champion award for acting at the World Championship of Performing Arts in Hollywood. From 2015 to 2018, she filmed the lead role in Mia and the White Lion, her first silver-screen experience. In parallel, she has also had leading roles in South African television series (“Nul is Nie Niks Nie”, “Vaselinetjie”, “DatingGameKiller”, “Meerkat Maantuig”, “Binnelanders”).
BSCKids: Tell us a bit about your characters in MIA AND THE WHITE LION.
Daniah De Villiers: Mia is a very strong and independent character, and that’s needed for everything she faces. She fights for what she believes in. In the beginning she does not know where she fits in but as time progresses she falls in love with Charlie and everything she does is for him.
BSCKids: How did you get the part for the movie and how did it feel working so long on a film?
Daniah De Villiers: I wish it was longer. It was a long audition process; they did auditions across South Africa and I did mine in Cape Town.
I was honored to get the part because it was originally for a boy but Yay! I got the role and was very thankful. Then my family and I had to move from Cape Town to Pretoria (Gauteng province). About 1500km north from Cape Town.
BSCKids: How did it feel working with Thor (who plays “Charlie”) and the other animals?
Daniah De Villiers: Thor is very special and it was wonderful working with him because he is a gentle giant. I also interacted with 5 other lions which were part of Thor’s pride and I also love them very much and I enjoyed seeing their different special characters.
BSCKids: Was there anything exciting that happened when the cameras were off?
Daniah De Villiers: Yes almost all the time … when we were not filming I was busy interacting with Thor and his pride 3 times a week. Many memories were made. I remember Thor used to suck the other lions’ ears – it was so cute.
BSCKids: What do you miss the most about being on set with all those animals and besides Thor, who was a favorite animal of yours to work with?
Daniah De Villiers: I miss everything of the bushveld (the sub-tropical woodland eco-region of South Africa): being in the wild, looking up and seeing a giraffe. I miss hearing no traffic, because I live in the city now, and most of all I miss the lions head-butts saying hello. I use to have little bruises and bumps on my head from them saying hello but it was all worth it. I used to interact with the five other lions who are part of Thor’s pride who I also love so much.
BSCKids: Tell us something that people would be surprised to learn about you.
Daniah De Villiers: I love to sing and do musical theatre. I love the outdoors and playing sports.
BSCKids: If you could guest star on any television show, which one would it be and why?
Daniah De Villiers: I would love to be on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon or The Ellen Show. I love them both and their shows are both big platforms for sharing the message on the plight of lions.
BSCKids: Why should everyone go out and watch MIA AND THE WHITE LION?
It’s such a unique opportunity to witness this incredible relationship – built over a period of 3 years, THAT’S REAL! And it has an important message that speaks and shares the truth.
BSCKids: How much did you learn from Kevin Richardson about animals and tell us a bit about your roll being an animal activist?
Daniah De Villiers: I learned so much about animals from Kevin, he taught me how to get on their level; respect them and trust them. He gave me an understanding about their behavior and how they see me. [He taught me that they see me as a friend, and that they’re not being malicious, it’s just playing and that their intention is good]
…I am an ambassador for the Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary; educating and inspiring youth to be a voice for lions and sharing the truth to what’s happening with lions in South Africa. [How tourists are being lied to when visiting lion breeding farms saying that they’ll be released into the wild while hand reared cubs are just going to be shipped off to hunting farms.]
BSCKids: Where do you see your career in the next few years?
Daniah De Villiers: I hope to continue acting; keep on learning as much as I can; continue to create awareness on the plight of lions.
BSCKids: Can you tell us any new projects you have coming up?
Daniah De Villiers: I am currently busy with a TV series in South Africa.