'It's so gritty' — Dillon Windvogel on 'Spinners' premiering on Showmax

26 October 2023 - 08:00
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Cantona James and Dillon Windvogel star in Showmax's Spinners
Cantona James and Dillon Windvogel star in Showmax's Spinners
Image: Supplied

Rising star Dillon Windvogel of Blood and Water and Arendsvlei fame is starring in a new series called Spinner premiering on Showmax on November 8.

Spinners follows Ethan (Cantona James), a 17-year-old driver working for a gang on the Cape Flats. Needing to support his younger brother but increasingly disgusted by gang life, Ethan discovers a possible way out via spinning, an extreme motorsport where he can put his driving skills to better use. With a gang war looming, can he turn his life around fast enough? 

TshisaLIVE spoke to Dillon about the show.

How would you describe Spinners?

Ethan is stuck between the thug life, the reasons why he had to lean that way, and spinning as an escape from that life. Spinning is this door that shows this light and limelight away from all of that.

Car culture is integral to coloured culture. How do you think Spinners honours that?

Spinning is more than a sport, it's a lifestyle. So Spinners is a love letter to coloured culture. The show truly encapsulates all that spinning is. I was blessed with the opportunity and the privilege to see spinning culture up close, and it's amazing. It's mind-blowing. They definitely honour that, with some of the great spinners from our culture featured in the show.

Tell us about your character, Shane.

Shane is like a sunflower among thorns. Even though he's been surrounded by all of the crime and this world that is similar to a battlefield, he still stays loyal. He is very close to his friends. He prioritises them above all, and he'll go to extreme lengths to save them or help them. When he first meets Ethan, there's that instant sense of, ‘This guy needs help.’ And, ‘How can I be that help for him?’ We watch the journey as he slowly allows Ethan into his life. He wants Ethan to take his hand, but he's wary. So I think Shane is mature in that regard — being raised in that area has made him that way — but he stays true to his core values, which are family and loyalty. 

What attracted you to Spinners?

The story. It's so gritty. It reminded me of a fusion of Vikings and Game of Thrones in terms of the characters. It also reminded me of Noem My Skollie, the roughness of it. It's very raw. It's not sugar-coated, which is what I love. The story has a lot to do with trauma and pain and how each character overcomes it and makes it through this life that has been handed to them.

How is Shane different to characters you've played before, like Ashwin in danZ!, Wade in Blood & Water and Vernon in Arendsvlei

What makes Shane different is his maturity. I feel like, most likely at the age of 12 or 13, he had to fend for himself. There was that point of responsibility and independence that hit him early. So even with how he carries himself, there's that emotional maturity. And that makes him completely different to the rest of the characters I’ve played. It’s also the first time I was able to play a character in my mother tongue. And I don't mean suiwer Afrikaans. I don't mean English. I mean ‘Mengels’. We were privileged to throw in English when it felt like English and throw in Afrikaans when it felt like Afrikaans. And that was definitely lovely.


  • Spinners is a co-production between Showmax and CANAL+. Spinners became the first African series selected at the Canneseries; won three awards at Dakar Series, including Best TV Series; received standing ovations in Paris and its sold-out South African premiere at Silwerskerm; and was the opening night screening at MIP Africa, generating rave reviews. Variety calls it a “Gripping ... Part gangster series, part coming-of-age sports drama.” 

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