Paper plates and plastic cutlery for UK TV star as film industry does its bit to stave off Day Zero

02 February 2018 - 07:00 By Dave Chambers
Kate Beckinsale‚ 44, plays Georgia Wells‚ who tries to uncover the truth behind her husband’s disappearance after he is reported dead in a Democratic Republic of the Congo plane crash.
Kate Beckinsale‚ 44, plays Georgia Wells‚ who tries to uncover the truth behind her husband’s disappearance after he is reported dead in a Democratic Republic of the Congo plane crash.
Image: Wikimedia Commons

When British actress Kate Beckinsale agreed to take the starring role in a TV drama being shot in Cape Town‚ she probably didn’t imagine weeks of eating off paper plates with plastic cutlery.

But that is what she is doing as the city’s R5-billion-a-year film industry joins the campaign to stave off Day Zero.

Beckinsale‚ 44‚ is the star of “The Widow”‚ an eight-part series commissioned by Amazon Prime and the British firm ITV. She plays Georgia Wells‚ who tries to uncover the truth behind her husband’s disappearance after he is reported dead in a Democratic Republic of the Congo plane crash.

Cape Town is standing in for Kinshasa in the series‚ but a key difference between the two cities has become all too apparent to the cast and crew — the Congo River.

Without the world’s second largest river‚ or any bountiful source of water‚ Cape Town is determined to sustain its film economy without worsening the water crisis.

“The city has introduced additional criteria for our events and film permit applications and each organiser has to state upfront what their plans are to make use of alternate water sources or minimise their use of the city’s potable water‚” said mayoral committee member JP Smith.

“I can confidently say that event organisers and the film industry have risen to the challenge and are pulling out all the stops to save our potable water.

“It is important to get this balance right: ensuring the sustainable supply of water and balancing this against supporting our economy and creating employment for people. Nothing would worsen the water crisis more than reducing employment opportunities and the job losses which this will entail.”

Examples of how the film industry had responded to the call to “save like a local” included:

- Table cloths have been replaced with reusable plastic table covers that can be wiped clean. This had reduced water usage from 10 litres to 50ml per table cloth‚ translating into savings of 500 litres a day.

- Biodegradable and disposable crockery and cutlery had replaced non-disposable items. This had cut water consumption for washing dishes to about 250 litres a day from 1‚500.

- Vegetables were being steamed instead of boiled‚ and cooking water was being reused to clean kitchens and toilets.

- Kitchens were using sanitisers for hand-washing‚ and grey water from frozen goods was being used to clean floors. 

X