Oh, brother, here comes trouble as Solomon Cupido and Bradley Olivier tickle the funny bone in ‘Frankie en Felipé’

Bradley Olivier as Frankie and Solomon Cupido as Felipé in the romcom, ‘Frankie en Felipé’. Picture: Supplied

Bradley Olivier as Frankie and Solomon Cupido as Felipé in the romcom, ‘Frankie en Felipé’. Picture: Supplied

Published Feb 23, 2024


Fuelled by a shared passion to change the narrative of brown people, Solomon Cupido and Bradley Olivier decided to write the screenplay for “Frankie en Felipé”, which debuted at 11th kykNET Silwerskerm Film Festival in Cape Town and was released on the big screen on Friday.

Sadly, Olivier, who died on July 20 last year, won’t get to enjoy the fruits of his labour.

Bittersweet moment for Cupido and the cast aside, he said: “This is more now about his legacy that will live on. I’m super excited for the country to see this movie. Silwerskerm is more for your colleagues and people in the industry.

“But you make movies for people to see. This I believe is for the community, the people out there. It’s a different side to what the country is used to.”

He added: “We really wanted to focus on the positives. We wanted to tell a beautiful love story to the people and, hopefully, they will enjoy it and see there is more to life than gangsterism in our communities and those kind of stories we are putting out there most of the time.”

The cast in a scene from ‘Frankie en Felipé. Picture: Supplied

On the subject of positive representation, Cupido said: “In so many cases, the story was written by person, who wasn’t of colour. Now this is a movie from a brown person’s perspective.

“There are certain things we wanted to say and nuances we wanted to use. The big focus was not just to focus on the norm.

“Our community relates to drug abuse, alcohol abuse and gangsterism because these are the things they see every day but they are beautiful stories of brown people.”

Solomon Cupido as Felipé and Bradley Olivier as Frankie in the romcom, ‘Frankie en Felipé’. Picture: Supplied

And that is why they felt strongly after writing this particular film, which was a labour of love and took several years to complete, Covid-19 setbacks, notwithstanding.

The romcom, which arguably has one of the best bromance pairings in SA films, will resonate with Mzansi. Think of the Olivier and Cupido as SA’s version of the “Bad Boys” duo, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.

It also tugs at the heart, with its well-etched characters, as it draws parallels between the worlds of half-brothers Frankie (Olivier) and Felipé (Cupido).

The two were torn apart as youngsters when Frankie was taken to an orphanage by his stepdad. Although his mother wasn’t okay with the decision, their financial situation left her helpless to do anything about it.

Several years later, Felipé is living at home. He has various side hustles going on, one of which is a failed counterfeit perfume venture.

And he is also heavy in debt to a loan shark, played by Shimmy Isaacs.

The only silver lining for Felipé is seeking out the help of his estranged brother, Frankie, who is engaged to Kim Fortuin (Kim Syster) and is a high-flying advertising executive at his future father-in-law’s (played by Zane Meas) company.

But Frankie’s efforts to get rid of Felipé, who wows everyone with his knack for picking up scents, don’t go according to plan.

Cupido, who has been friends with Olivier since high school, admitted to the film scriptwriting process throwing a few curveballs at them as they didn’t have a lot of experience with it.

Bradley Olivier as Frankie and Solomon Cupido as Felipé in the romcom, ‘Frankie en Felipé’. Picture: Supplied

In the movie, Frankie plays a strait-laced serious guy while Felipé is a riot with his unpolished behaviour.

Cupido said comedy came naturally to him.

He shared: “I would say, most of the stuff that I’ve done, was comedy. It’s easy to look at a line and make it funny. I do stand up at churches or small events.

“When you are part of the writing team, it is easier to play opposite a guy you trust. I enjoy comedy, for sure.”

Cupido encourages moviegoers to go watch the movie.

He explained: “This is a feel-good romcom. There is not really a line that hits below the belt. There is no sex or swearing. It is a clean movie, even though it has a PG13.

“We wanted to show people that have money. People who were successful and worked hard for what they had.”

As for what’s next, he revealed: “Myself and Bradley, we have a company called Sturvy pictures and, while we were in preproduction for this movie, we also submitted several other ideas and Showmax said yes to three of those ideas.

Bradley Olivier and Zane Meas in a scene from ‘Frankie en Felipé. Picture: Supplied

“I shot the three movies just after Silwerskerm. They are 50-minute movies.

“I’m also in the process of producing a 90-minute movie for kykNET. And there are other ideas. Bradley and I gave ourselves 5 years to give this producing thing a shot.

“I want to tell feel-good and happy stories. And this is where Bradley and I were on the same page. Not all these stories will have a happy ending. But I want people to walk into the cinema and go into a different world and be inspired.”

Cupido said he had given himself two years to pursue this dream of positive storytelling and, in doing so, would honour Olivier as well.

∎ “Frankie en Felipé” is showing at cinemas nationwide.