Bonko Khoza Built His “Heart of the Hunter” Body on Calorie Deficit and Discipline

by | Apr 9, 2024 | Entertainment

The fight for justice takes place in Netflix’s newest suspense thriller “Heart of the Hunter,” which premiered on the 29th of March worldwide. The film, directed by the incomparable Mandlakayise Walter Dube, is set in a post-democratic South Africa where one man’s mission to save his family escalates into a fight to stop a corrupt politician from taking the presidential seat. “Heart of The Hunter” is the on-screen adaptation of the book of the same name, written by beloved South African novelist and screenwriter Deon Meyer.

Bonko Khoza leads as Zuko Khumalo, an unassuming family man with a deadly past. His tranquil world is abruptly turned upside down when an old colleague calls on him to honour an oath he made and save the country from venal political interests. The tension ratchets up when he resists being pulled back into his previous life, but it becomes clear that it poses a deadly threat to his domestic ambitions and the peaceful family life he holds so dear.

READ MORE: Bonko Khoza Is in a League of His Own (And He’s Just Getting Started)

The film boasts an impressive roster of iconic South African actors, including Connie Ferguson, Masasa Mbangeni, Tim Theron, Deon Coetzee, Peter Butler, Sisanda Henna and Connie Chiume. It is a fast-paced, tense suspense thriller set against the backdrop of incredible South African locations.

In the realm of physical transformation for film roles, few exemplify dedication quite like Bonko Khoza. Known for his disciplined approach to acting, Bonko has recently undergone a remarkable transformation to embody the character of a hunter in his latest film, “Heart of the Hunter“. This transformation, however, wasn’t just about makeup and wardrobe; it required rigorous physical training and adherence to a strict calorie-deficit regimen.

Watch as he spends the day with MH at home where he takes us on a journey of getting ready for the role.

At Home with Bonko and Lesego Khoza

Bonko: In “Heart of the Hunter,” I believe Zuko’s transformations primarily stem from his evolving circumstances, leading to psychological shifts. He transitions from weariness with his current life to finding solace in a new one, only to be drawn back into his former world. Through this journey, he gains a deeper existential understanding of life. To prepare, I focused on grasping the essence of love, particularly familial love, as it forms a pivotal aspect of Zuko’s character. As the story unfolds and challenges arise, including threats to his family and dismantling his established life, I delved into his emotional state, allowing myself to portray his love and subsequent turmoil authentically.

Regarding the film’s political themes, parallels can indeed be drawn to various global contexts. Politics, corruption, and the pursuit of justice are universal concerns. While South Africa may have its unique political landscape, these themes are ubiquitous worldwide. What sets “Heart of the Hunter” apart is its ability to encapsulate these universal themes within a compelling narrative, heightened by cinematic elements that transcend geographical boundaries.

My approach involved immersing myself in layers of reality, drawing upon personal experiences of being away from home to authentically convey Zuko’s inner conflict. I contemplated the pull of familial ties juxtaposed with the allure of his past life, allowing these conflicting emotions to inform my portrayal. Additionally, I delved into the stakes of Zuko’s predicament, exploring the profound implications of potential upheaval in his life.

As an adaptation, the foundation of “Heart of the Hunter” lies in Deon Meyer’s novel. I extensively studied the source material to grasp its essence, including Meyer’s writing style, genre, and narrative pace. However, when it came to portraying Zuko, I aimed to infuse the character with my interpretation while staying true to Meyer’s vision. This involved balancing fidelity to the source material with adding my nuances to create a distinct portrayal. Despite physical disparities between the character’s description and my attributes, I endeavoured to capture Zuko’s essence uniquely and compellingly.

Heart of The Hunter | Official Trailer

“Heart of the Hunter” is currently streaming on Netflix.

Heart of the Hunter,” has made history by reaching the top spot in English-language films on the Netflix Top 10 weekly rankings. The thriller secured number 1 between March 25 – March 31, making it the first African Film to achieve this milestone. “Heart of the Hunter” has garnered an impressive total of 11 million views and ascended to the Netflix top 10 list in 75 countries: the United States of America, Nigeria, France, Germany, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Hong Kong, and Kenya. 

**MH Partnership

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