Oh Schucks, she hit me!

By admin
30 April 2010

Making movies is a dangerous business – ask Leon Schuster and Alfred ‘‘Shorty’’ Ntombela. ‘‘Do you know what being smacked in the face by a woman with a handbag feels like?’’ Shorty asks seriously. He knows all too well.

It happened recently when they joined forces again to film Schuks Tshabalala’s Survival Guide to South Africa 2010, which will be in SA cinemas soon. And Leon didn’t get away without bruises either: a traffic cop beat him up when he pretended to be a drunk driver and a woman slapped him so hard he saw stars.

In 24 years in filmmaking he’s been beaten up often, Leon says with a laugh. ‘‘I’m 59 – I’m getting older and more scared. Getting ‘bliksemed’ isn’t fun any more.’’

The pair have been generating laughs for cinema audiences since they made Oh Schucks, Here Comes Untag about 20 years ago. At the time Leon wanted a special character who had to be short.

‘‘I was beginning to despair when an agency brought Alfred to me. I made him stand on a table so we could at least make eye contact, then I asked him if he could sing and dance,’’ Leon recalls.

Alfred performed, Leon was delighted and Alfred passed the audition. ‘‘We became best friends,’’ Alfred says.

‘‘Shorty and I work well together,’’ Leon says. ‘‘When the cameras roll we each know exactly what the other is going to do. We have a natural connection.’’

Making a candid-camera film is hard work, he says. He plans each prank down to the last detail and prepares thoroughly for every scene. And along with cinemagoers he feels for the victims of his on-screen pranks. ‘‘Sometimes during a prank I’ll think I’m going too far but I have to pressure people for a reaction – that’s what viewers want. And afterwards they laugh along too.’’

Win tickets to see the latest Schuster movie – see the 6 May issue of YOU. See a preview below.

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