Daryn’s Gym – A Proudly South African Mockumentary Comedy With Muscle

Writer-director, Brett Michael Innes, who has lived in Randburg most of his life used to work out at a large fitness franchise that was situated across the road from a gym for fifteen years, which inspired the mockumentary Daryn’s Gym.

“I often wondered how this little gym managed to stay open next to such a big corporate, so it was really serendipitous that, when it came into production, we ended up filming it there,” says Brett Michael Innes.

Set in a family gym in Randburg, the film sees the lovable Daryn JNR pitted against the ruthless owner of a multi-national fitness centre as he fights to keep his family legacy alive.

A third-generation family gym finds itself in a David & Goliath type battle when a fitness conglomerate opens a branch across the road from them. With the little gym already struggling to make ends meet, it is up to the timid Daryne JNR and his mismatched staff to make sure that they not only survive the daily drama of running a gym but that the business his grandfather started turns a profit.

Daryn’s Gym introduces audiences to newcomer Clifford Joshua Young, but also boasts a star-studded cast that includes local favourites Natasha Sutherland, Hlubi Mboya, Siv Ngesi, Deon Coetzee and Carla Classen, as well as a guest appearance by Shahan Ramikissoon.
William Harding, Siv Ngesi and Hlubi Mboya Daryn’s Gym. Photo Credit: Dino Benedetti SASC

“It is with great excitement that I welcome you to the production and look forward to creating a space where we can make some comedy magic together,” says Brett Michael Innes. “At its core, Daryn’s Gym is here to make people laugh and remind the viewer of how bizarre and beautiful this sub-culture can be. After a year of lockdown, the audiences at home need to find a space and characters that will elevate their mood and it is our belief that Daryn JNR and his team of misfits will do just that. We trust that you feel the same and look forward to walking with you on this road.”

Watch Daryn’s Gym on eVOD

Brett Michael Innes’ Creative Vision –

“The mockumentary or verite style of filming has really taken off over the last decade, one that has found particular success in the realm of television. Series like The Office, Summer Heights High, Parks & Rec and the local hit, Tali’s Wedding Diary have shown this to be a highly successful means of playing within the comedy genre and it is our desire to create a feature that conforms to this convention in a stylish yet natural way. One of the biggest challenges we have seen when looking at local comedies that have attempted to use this style is that they have brought an ‘old’ comedic approach to a space that is actually meant to be approached as a drama, with the comedy being found in the writing and the absurdity of the situations that the characters find themselves in.”

“With the mocumentary style one that audiences are well acquainted with, there is no longer a need to motivate the reason for the interviews or verite approach. As is the case with Modern Family, Parks & Rec and Summer Heights High, audiences don’t need to be told that they are following a documentary team to motivate the choice of execution. This is a great asset for the world of our narrative because it isn’t something that naturally fits into Daryn Jnr’s reality, unlike a show like Tali’s Wedding Diaries which motivated the choice by saying that ‘wedding videos are the rage in Australia so we have this video team following us.”

Daryn’s Gym is not here to mock gym culture or any of the bodies that exist in the space. Rather, it is here to show us the humanity and comedy in a sub-culture that we can all say we have engaged with over the course of our lives. This respect is important because it leads to the creation of characters that we fall in love with, elevating the comedy from the ridiculous to timeless.”

Brett Michael Innes with DOP Dino Benedetti during the filming of Daryn’s Gym. Photo Credit: Dino Benedetti SASC

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Look out for it on eVOD