introduced to a king ... in the presence of greatness ... like meeting
Mandela. We were young, angry and bitter.
I was amazed there was none of that in
him,” says John Kani, who plays the role of Oliver Tambo in Peter Travis’
political drama, Endgame.
very well. Travis says that’s one of the reasons he had reservations.
facilitated secret talks about possible talks to end apartheid.
both sides. He gets Thabo Mbeki (Chiwetel Ejiofor) to represent the ANC side and
Professor Willie Esterhuyse (William Hurt) to represent the Afrikaners.
Barnard (Mark Strong), is having secret meetings with Nelson Mandela (Clarke
Peters) in prison. In an attempt to divide and conquer, Barnard offers Mandela
tempting concessions to sell out.
fellow freedom fighters in increasingly ingenious ways.
Sanctions were in place, the guerrilla attacks were hotting up, Nelson
Mandela was the world’s most famous political prisoner and the infamous PW Botha
was ruling the country.
ruled this period of history.
of these secret talks and decided that they’d make a good story.
Young, and also Robert Harvey’s book The Fall of Apartheid, which was based on
a collection of transcripts from these secret meetings.
that in an English country pub, members of the ANC would sit down and talk to
members of the Afrikaner community in the hope of finding a way to begin a
resolution. Over the next four to five years, there were something like 12
meetings between these people.
In the end, they became very friendly.”
a film that was more than just about a bunch of blokes sitting around a table
Polanski’s recent Ghost Writer.
Though there are a couple of car chases, the
tension relies on Travis capturing the oppressive feeling that gripped South
Africa in the 1980s and the manner in which those who had been taught to see
each other as the enemy approached one another.
and fears of the people.
There can be much tension in the way people look at
each other across a table,” says Travis.
and place in the past, Travis says it’s a universal story.
a historical relic.
light and dark on both sides. It’s about honest and brave men revealing their
weaknesses to each other.
there were rumours.
audio book), I found out some of the details.
The idea was that if things didn’t
go well, Mandela would take the blame, saying he was old and senile,” says
how easy it was, but of course some of the groundwork to end the regime had
been done at these talks about talks.
continued. This was about great leadership, about men with vision.”
casting of Jennifer Hudson as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. The obvious question is
why he didn’t criticise Endgame for casting international actors over local
role of Caliban, his first move was to consult with the actors’ union there.
That is the case the world over.
that film investors expect to hire big names that can pull in the money.
investment. But it won’t make us shut up. We get sensitive. We would never block
any artists from coming to work in South Africa. What we want is
be made in South Africa, we should be trying to use as many South Africans as
possible. The leading talents in South Africa become extras in their own
years it was distorted. We are rewriting that history for our children.”
wondering whether the actor could pull it off. But after meeting the British
actor of Nigerian descent he was convinced.
and character of a person.”
comfortable with that.”
that took place. It will show our people that all our people – black and white –
were fed up with apartheid.”
»?Kani has just finished filming a version of
Coriolanus directed by Ralph Fiennes, while Travis was recently back in
SA looking for locations for his new film, a remake of Judge Dred.
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