Advert actor stands up to charging jumbo

2012-08-25 00:00

CAPE TOWN — It’s not just any actor who will stand motionless while an elephant rushes towards him.

That is exactly what veteran actor Albert Maritz had to do for a new commercial produced in Bela-Bela, Limpopo, earlier this year.

“It was quite another ball game, working with the elephants,” he said about the experience yesterday.

“I had told myself I would treat them with respect. Even if they are trained, you should never make yourself believe they’re just your little lapdog.”

In one of the scenes, one of the elephants, Chishuru, rushes towards Maritz, comes to a dead stop centimetres away from him, and shakes his head threateningly in his face.

“I had to look down while he came running towards me, so I could only hear the command being given. With one of the takes I looked up and suddenly realised there was a tusk right here next to my cheek!” Maritz told us.

“It was a great privilege to be able to play this part. If I was still a laaitie, I would have joined the police now and gone to help guard rhinos or elephants.”

The commercial tells the story of Lawrence Anthony, a well-known figure in conservation circles and author of the book The Elephant Whisperer, who adopted a herd of “problem” elephants and eventually helped rehabilitate them.

Anthony died in March this year.

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