On 9 July shooting began in Botswana on “The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency’, directed by Academy Award® winning filmmaker Anthony Minghella (“Cold Mountain,” “The English Patient”) from a script he co-wrote with Richard Curtis (“Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Bridget Jones Diary,” “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason”).
Based on the first novel in the best-selling series by Alexander McCall Smith, “The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” stars Grammy award-winning singer Jill Scott in her film debut as Mma Ramotswe. Anika Noni Rose (“Dreamgirls”) will play her secretary Mma Makutsi and Lucian Msamati will play Mma Ramotswe’s suitor JLB Matekoni. They will be joined by David Oyelowo (“The Last King of Scotland”), Idris Elba (“28 Weeks Later,” “The Wire”) and Colin Salmon (“Die Another Day,” “Match Point”).
South Africans in the cast are Desmond Dube (“Hotel Rwanda”), Vusi Kunene and Tony Award winners Winston Ntshona and John Kani.
Financed by The Weinstein Company with the support of the Republic of Botswana, this marks the first time a major movie will be filmed in its entirety in Botswana and the Republic of Botswana has made a significant investment in the production.
Producers are Academy Award® winning filmmaker Sydney Pollack and Timothy Bricknell (“Cold Mountain”) for Mirage Productions along with Amy Moore.
“The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” is a poignant and passionate story chronicling the adventures of Precious Ramotswe, the traditionally built, eminently sensible and wise proprietor of the only female-owned detective agency in Botswana, as she investigates cases, helps people solve problems in their lives, and falls in love with the highly respectable owner of a local garage.
Said the Honorable Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Onkokame Kitso Mokaila: “The Government of Botswana and indeed the people of Botswana are delighted to have this opportunity which will certainly enhance our reputation and hard work to the international community. Over the years, we have emphasised upon ourselves as individuals and indeed collectively as a nation, to live by the very values that are at the epicentre of the building of the nation of Botswana. These values have now been formally enshrined in our national vision, which amongst other pillars aims to build a prosperous and compassionate nation.
“We are therefore more proud than ever that the internationally acclaimed writer Alexander McCall Smith and The Weinstein Company have found it necessary to share them with the rest of the world. Africa, for the first time will be shown in its true warmth and welcoming spirit.
My Government is very proud to be in partnership with this team, and is certain the partnership will continue for many years to come as it could help kick start a film industry in our country,” Minghella stated, “Moving into preproduction on “The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” is the culmination of many years of work.
We have assembled a fantastic cast of African and international actors who share the same passion to bring to life the gallery of wonderful characters created by Alexander McCall Smith. It was crucial for all of the production team that we film in Botswana; in many ways the novels are a celebration of a place.
“Our partnership with the Republic means we can create a unique world featuring Botswana’s extraordinary landscapes. But beyond the beauty of the country is the opportunity – in this film and in the television series that will follow – to tell stories from Africa about what’s good about Africa. In the process we hope that Mma Ramotswe and her friends become as irresistible and delightful on screen as they have been for millions of readers.”