Filming on Robben Island for a R155-million movie on former president Nelson Mandela and the warder who guarded him, James Gregory, will start in six weeks.
Yesterday David Wicht of Film Afrika confirmed that they had already started shooting the movie Goodbye Bafana two and a half weeks ago and that they would be filming on the island towards the end of their nine-week schedule.
“It’s going terrifically. I’m very excited. It’s going to be a great film,” said Wicht.
Film Afrika is co-producing the film, which is being directed by award-winning Dane Bille August and is due to be released in 2007.
Screen stars Diane Kruger and Joseph Fiennes have been billed, alongside South Africa’s Tsotsi star Terry Pheto.
The film is based on the memoir Gregory wrote of how Mandela altered his initially racist perceptions during the 20 years that he guarded him at Robben Island, Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison.
Cape Town locations for filming include Long Street, Observatory, Plumstead (where Gregory lived), Pollsmoor, the former Roeland Street Prison and Robben Island.
Although earlier reports said filming on the World Heritage site had been hampered because the island’s management demanded various requirements, Wicht said last night that filming would only take place on the island towards the end of their schedule.
Asked about the environmental and heritage assessments and the disaster management plans that had to be submitted, Wicht said things were being sorted out.
“We are still going through the logistics,” he said.
Pheto will star as Mandela’s daughter Zinzi while Fiennes, who starred as William Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love, and Kruger, who starred in the movie Troy, will play James and Gloria Gregory.
Dennis Haysbert, who plays US president David Palmer in the TV series 24, will star as Mandela, and Johnny Clegg has been asked to write a song for the movie.