A New York cop, Russian style gangsters, gunshots and a subliminal hostage.
No, this is not a tagline for the next Van Damme blockbuster – it’s the premise of
the ACTII Not Just For Movies Anymore TV commercial, by Volcano Advertising
and Egg Films.
The action-packed advert, which tricks the viewer into believing they are
watching a real movie scene or trailer, was shot at the end of January 2014 in
the gritty urban landscape of Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
Egg Film’s Nicci Cox, who produced the spot, and Slim, the director, said the
concept relied on misdirecting the viewer so as to set them up for the twist at
“The overall idea was that of recreating a cliched movie moment and genre,
except that it is not being viewed by the ACTII Hero in a theatre / home, where
one typically enjoys popcorn, but for real. In a nutshell, ACTII now comes
premade and bagged, and can be enjoyed anywhere, anytime,’ said Cox and
Cox and Slim have a great, collaborative relationship with Volcano Advertising,
having previously worked with their creative team; Francois Boshoff, Lucky du
Plessis and Tarryn Bezuidenhout on a number of campaigns.
“The Volcano creatives are very open-minded to directors’ treatments as long as
the approach remains true to, or betters the idea. From there they are always
completely trusting in the team and process. The client, Harris Hanjalic is also
amazing at completely trusting his agency and allowing the production process
to happen naturally,’ added Cox and Slim.
Staying true to the genre, the ad features an epic “I-can-barely-watch’ stunt,
involving a jump across an eight-metre gap, seven stories high. Pyranha Stunts,
who had just wrapped shooting on Neil Blomkamp’s Chappie, rigged and
supervised the action sequences while lead actor, Regan Ross performed the
jump himself. This meant that the editor, Julian Redpath of Left Post Productions,
was able to use one single take of the action, rather than have to edit a number
Cox and Slim said: “We set up the stunt rigs the day before shooting which
allowed us a few hours of rehearsal with Regan to get him comfortable, as well
as giving us a good idea on how best to shoot the moment. Although we
covered the main jump from various angles, the fact that Regan did the stunt
himself allowed us to shoot it without ever having to cheat a stunt-double.’
Using an Arri Alexa camera, DOP Werner Maritz shot most of the footage using
loose hand-held camera work, which aligned with the style of a contemporary
action movie. In addition, Lars Cox operated a second camera so that enough
shots were taken to allow for a fast-paced edit.
The production team included Devi Lazanas who was the production manager,
Sabelo Tywabi as the production co-ordinator, Keenan McAdam who handled art
direction, Keno Naidoo who was responsible for post stunt rig clean-ups as well
as VFX and Craig Simonetti from Pudding Colour Services who graded the
“It always helps when you work with a great agency, crew and cast,’ concluded
Cox and Slim.