Big-name actors head to Mzansi
Acclaimed British actor Orlando Bloom and Beninese actor Djimon Hounsou are most likely set to join the growing list of Hollywood stars shooting movies in South Africa.
French director Jerome Salle (behind 2005's Anthony Zimmer and 2011's The Burma Conspiracy) has adapted his countryman Caryl Ferey's crime novel Zulu, set in post-apartheid South Africa.
The novel won Salle France's Grand Prix for best crime novel about four years ago.
The two lead actors will play Cape Town policemen on either side of the apartheid divide, working to fight lawlessness there.
But the movie promises to be grimy, contrary to the image the city enjoys abroad.
An excerpt in Salle's book reads: "It wasn't the poor who attacked security guards with bazookas, it wasn't the unemployed who had killed the director of Business Against Crime the previous year.
"They were dealing with a wave of organised crime, gangs small or large, linked to mafias, gangs similar to those of the mob in the USA in the '30s."
It continues: "The police were corrupt, or even in collusion with the criminals, the justice system was ineffective, the government was doing nothing."
Benoit Sauvage, spokesman for film distributor Pathé International, refused to confirm that the film would be shot in Cape Town, but said Bloom will act alongside Blood Diamond's Hounsou.
"The shooting will most likely take place in South Africa. Unfortunately this is all the information I'm able to give you," Sauvage said.
Last week it was announced that 50-year-old Forest Whitaker had been picked to play retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu in an adaptation of Michael Ashton's play The Archbishop and the Anti-Christ.
Other screen projects shot or due to be shot in Mzansi are:
- Chronicle which raked in R170-million at the US box office in its first week this month;
- Safe House with Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, with a budget of R657-million;
- Dark Tide with Halle Berry is due out at the end of March;
- Labyrinth is a mini-series based on a novel by Kate Moss, and was a co-production between South Africa and Germany;
- Law and Order begins shooting in May with a local cast; and
- Vehicle 19 with US actor Paul Walker, who was in Johannesburg last year shooting with local director Mukunda Michael Dewil.