Frankie en Felipé – An Inspiring Buddy Comedy

This duo’s journey began over two decades ago, going back to their high school days, shared college experiences, and even while they were living in the same complex. During their years of working together
in theatre shows which focused on two-handers, the two actors established a foundation for their collaboration on future projects as actors.

Frankie en Felipé are brothers who were separated as children and later run into each other under the strangest of circumstances. “Given our partnership with Spacekriek and Dakskroef, it was very easy for us to write Frankie and Felipé, two completely different characters,” says Solomon.

“Frankie is the guy who made it out of the flats,” says Bradley. “He’s the type of guy whose whole identity and world revolves around his girlfriend and fiancée, because he’s an orphan without family. Frankie is also a team player. He cares for the people around him, but his weakness is that he hasn’t really dealt with his past.”

“On the other hand, Felipé is a mama’s boy,” says Solomon. “His mother and father spoiled him very much because he was their only child together. Felipé’s father was Frankie’s stepfather. After his father’s death, Felipé had to sell fake perfume to look after his mother. So, he’s the guy who still lives in the flats, but everyone loves him because he’s so charming. He’s the guy you want at a party, man.”

 “I swear if you asked the guys at school, they would have thought Solomon was going to play Frankie. Solomon was the golden boy, the cool guy. I was the funny guy and when we got bigger, the roles changed. Now Solomon is one of the funniest South African actors. I did write many other things about my life into Frankie. So, I’m closer to Frankie than I am different from him. Unfortunately, I just don’t have a BMW!” says Bradley.

“For me it was wonderful that right from the start, their (Solly and Brad) idea was to showcase the diverse realities of brown people in South Africa,” says director Marvin-Lee Beukes. “More specifically, to portray brown people who are successful in life to prove the stereotype of brown people failing at life, wrong. They wanted to tell a story that would make people laugh and cry, and ultimately I think we all wanted to tell a story that would make brown people proud of their origins. I think what we managed to achieve with Frankie en Felipé is nothing short of a miracle.

In Frankie en Felipé, Franklin Blaze (Bradley Olivier), a hardworking young man from an impoverished background who hides his past from his colleagues and fiancée, Kim Fortuin (Kim Syster), realises his upcoming wedding and prestigious job are at stake when his biological halfbrother, Felipé Baadjies (Solomon Cupido), is desperate for his help Felipé is a passionate, but lost soul, who urgently needs money and threatens to reveal Franklin’s secrets if he doesn’t help him repay the money he owes to a vicious loan shark. With his back up against the wall, Franklin decides to provide refuge to his brother and include him in the wedding, but he soon regrets this hasty decision… Can Frankie and Franklin rejuvenate their brotherly bond to serve their best interests? Or will this facade destroy the wedding of the year?

Approximately four years ago, facing a challenging period of unemployment and the added responsibility of fatherhood, Bradley and Solomon found themselves at a crossroads. Seated in Solomon’s kitchen, sipping on cups of coffee without a single drop of milk (due to financial hardship), they experienced a pivotal moment in their lives. Bradley and Solomon had reached a make-or-break juncture, which
prompted them to make a choice: remain in their current situation or strive to elevate their lives. Then and there they began pitching movie ideas, determined to craft a story centered around two characters from different worlds, with the intention of bringing those worlds together through their writing.

Originally from Paarl, a town in the Western Cape, Bradley and Solomon were living in Johannesburg during this transformative period. Due to their roles on television and in movies, their friends and family assumed they were riding high on success. However, the reality was vastly different – the on-screen characters they portrayed were just that, portrayals.

The realisation that they wanted more creatively was the driving force behind the creation of their movie, Frankie en Felipé.

Their aim was not only to depict the diversity of the characters, but also to provide a glimpse into Frankie and Felipé’s lives, by shedding light on the hidden truths behind closed doors. Their goal was to convey that what is seen on the surface isn’t always the complete picture; there are hard truths and realities that emerge when people return to their homes at the end of the day.

Frankie en Felipé serves as a vehicle for people to connect with the characters through their struggles and dreams. It sends a powerful message: if you have a dream and work diligently to reach it, that dream can evolve into reality. The film encourages individuals not to be ashamed of their origins, but to always view them as stepping stones to progress.

Bradley and Solomon’s darkest moment, symbolised by the cups of coffee without milk in Solomon’s
kitchen, became the catalyst for their transformation. They turned adversity into a testimony of victory, firmly believing that their story would resonate with many people and serve as inspiration for positive change.

“Because it was our first full-length script, Brett Michael Innes collaborated on the screenplay,” says Bradley. “Brett was very involved in the initial structuring and layout, as he is a seasoned writer. So, we got guidance from him about the rhythm and structure of a screenplay.”

  • Bradley Olivier sadly passed away in 2023.