Shocking stories about Waddy Jones?–?a.k.a. Ninja of Die Antwoord?–?have emerged from the set of Neill Blomkamp’s Hollywood blockbuster, Chappie. Charl Blignaut reports
Chappie, the latest film from South African director Neill Blomkamp?–?who gave the world District 9 and Elysium?–?has finished shooting in Joburg.
But the legendary bad behaviour of one of its cast members has become a major talking point.
Although the cast and crew signed confidentiality agreements with the production and have spoken strictly under condition of anonymity, City Press has confirmed with six of them that Ninja from Die Antwoord made life on set hell.
“He is pure evil,” said a female member of the crew. And she is not the only one to use the phrase.
According to their accounts:
Ninja written out
“I don’t ever want to be in the same room as him again,” said Blomkamp of Ninja, according to sources.
They say this was because of the way the hard-core zef rapper treated fellow cast and crew on the set of the sci-fi film.
After the production took a Christmas break?–?and as Hollywood star Hugh Jackman flew into the country to shoot his scenes?–?the production was informed of a script change.
Jackman’s character was supposed to have interacted with Ninja’s character?–?a gangster who abducts security robot Chappie (Sharlto Copley) to use for his own evil ends.
Instead, Ninja was written out and the scene was given to Copley to handle.
“It was because he didn’t want Ninja back on set,” said a source, quoting a senior crew member.
This was confirmed by several members of the set.
Conflict with cast
“That pile of sh*t” is how one cast member now refers to Ninja.
“The other actors were gatvol. He told them how to do their scenes. He’d call and say they were doing it wrong and tell them how to do it,” said a source.
Another said Ninja sent emails to this effect to other actors.
Two actors particularly targeted by Ninja’s director complex allegedly included US actor Jose Pablo Cantillo and local star Brandon Auret.
A source said: “Brandon is the greatest actor on set, calm and present. You must know that if it gets to a point where he wants to hit Ninja he’s so angry, there was a serious problem.”
City Press was told that Ninja’s own performance grew increasingly violent and physical and departed from the script.
Yet Ninja “wanted to phone Blomkamp every five minutes” to discuss his character.
It is alleged that the conflict between Ninja and Blomkamp was strained to breaking point over photographs.
Blomkamp’s sister, Stephanie, was the stills photographer on set.
A crew member said: “When they were planning publicity shots, Ninja said they should do something special, get a really good photographer in. Neill was offended because his sister is a really good photographer.”
But it wasn’t those kind of photos that had tongues wagging.
It is claimed by two sources that Ninja sent explicit photos?–?in the act of having fellatio performed on himself?–?to at least one female member of the set.
Several sources say he hit on female cast and crew, even in front of his partner Yo-landi.
He invited them to Cape Town “telling them they would get a hotel room and hire prostitutes to join them”, said a source.
Another source said Ninja made a pest of himself with local model and actress Tanit Phoenix.
One of the more outlandish stories heard by City Press is about a visit to the working class Joburg suburb of Fietas.
Their adopted child, Tokkie, hails from Fietas, which Ninja considers to be his home away from home.
After work on set, Ninja allegedly took star actor Dev Patel on a visit to the suburb to “show him the hood”, says a source.
During the visit, “Ninja gave Dev a ‘space cake’ to eat. Dev ate some but then his bodyguard took it saying there might be marijuana inside. Dev was livid.”
Another source in the production crew said that Patel complained to producers about the incident.
Veuve and vegans
Said a crew member: “I felt sorry for the guy looking after Die Antwoord. They were always making stupid demands.”
Die Antwoord’s assistant was tracked down by City Press but refused to comment.
However, there are claims by the irritated crew that Ninja refused to sit next to, or nearby, other cast members, believing himself to be superior.
“Take Hugh Jackman,” said one source. “In Soweto, he would sit with the crew and eat whatever everyone else was eating. Nicest guy.
“Die Antwoord are vegan and they refused to eat the vegetarian food on set. They made their driver go into town from Soweto every day to fetch special food.”
Another source joked that the couple were reported to have eaten fish and eggs when off set.
Their image may be zef and trashy but the vegans only drink Veuve Clicquot champagne when they take alcohol.
City Press put all these allegations, as well as some questions about the production, to Die Antwoord’s Los Angeles agents and to the Chappie publicity office.
No response was received by the time of going to press except for a statement from Susie Arons, who represents the Chappie producers, Media Rights Capital.
It reads: “Neill Blomkamp is hard at work getting Chappie ready for release.
“As with all things Chappie, our lips are sealed, but we are looking forward to sharing the final film with Neill’s fans around the world.”
Word on the set was that Blomkamp was seriously considering a sequel if Chappie is as big a hit as his other features have been.
But it’s unlikely that Ninja will be considered for a role if that does happen.
“He was stupid,” said a source.
“He’s totally burnt his bridges with Neill.”