Local roadtrip romcom will leave you smiling

2009-04-26 00:00

A BEAUTIFUL South African movie that will leave you smiling and happy. That’s how Kenneth Nkosi, one of the stars of the romantic comedy White Wedding, describes his latest project.

The film, which opened in SterKinekor cinemas in Durban last Friday, combines the ups and downs of a romantic comedy with all the fun of a road movie.

White Wedding tells the story of two friends, Elvis (Nkosi) and Tumi (Rapulana Seiphemo), who are heading to Cape Town for Elvis’s wedding to the lovely Ayanda (Zandile Msutwana).

Along the way, the pair meet Rose — played by up-and-coming British actress Jodie Whittaker — a young English doctor who fled the altar after discovering her fiancée was serially unfaithful to her.

The unlikely trio hit the road together but things don’t go according to plan.

Penned by director Jann Turner, Nkosi and Seiphemo, the film has been in the works for many years. “The idea first came about when we went on a roadtrip to Cape Town,” Turner, author of Heartland and Southern Cross, said.

“We were talking as we always do and started talking about relationships and we were driving in the country. In Johannesburg, a white woman travelling with two black men doesn’t attract much attention but in the country we were stared at. Our experience gave us the seeds of the film and we thought it would be great to do a road movie because we have such great scenery in South Africa.”

Shot over 18 days in Johannesburg, Durban, the Eastern Cape and Cape Town, White Wedding is Turner’s first feature film. Asked how it differed from her work directing the popular SA soapie Isidingo, she said: “It’s just bigger in every way. You’re working with a much bigger picture so the focus on the image is more intense and the performances are seen in a bigger way.”

Nkosi, who starred in Tsotsi, and Surprise, said it had been quite overwhelming to see the film on screen for the first time. “We were excited about making the movie,” he added, “but the excitement it has generated among people who have seen it has been a surprise”.

Asked why they thought the characters were connecting with audiences, Nkosi and Turner put it down to the chemistry between Seiphemo (who appeared in Tsotsi, Jerusalema and Hijack Stories), Whittaker (whose credits include Venus with Peter O’Toole) and Nkosi himself.

Whittaker, Turner said, was keen to do the film after reading the script and when she auditioned for the part, the actress discovered she had a gap between filming projects that coincided with the filming schedule.

Asked how easy Whittaker had been to work with, Nkosi said: “She was the easiest person to work with. She never complained and she knew every angle of the story when she got here.”

Turner agreed, adding: “Jodie’s used to having a trailer and we said we could only offer her an easyshade and a chair, but she said it was fine. She had a great attitude and her chemistry with Nkosi and Raps makes the film work.”

As for the film itself, Nkosi says it’s a must-see because no matter how down and depressed you feel, you will walk out of White Wedding with a smile on your face.

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