Yesterday, we got the news that Eric Bana will be joining Forest Whitaker in the big screen adaptation of The Archbishop and the Antichrist, a stage play by Michael Ashton. Titled The Forgiven, Whitaker will be taking on the role of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, while Bana will be playing Piet Blomfeld.
As Craig so rightly pointed out when the news broke, why don’t we have any major South African talent in the lead roles of movies about South Africa? It goes beyond just butchering the South African accent. We have high calibre actors that get completely side-lined into minor roles, despite being arguably more qualified for the job. We know a little bit more about our own history than Americans, and that alone would add a new, better dimension to their performances.
We’ve seen it time and again. Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon in Invictus. Idris Elba in Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. Steve Coogan in the recently released Shepherds and Butchers. Forest Whitaker (again) with Orlando Bloom in City of Violence. And, of course, the most infamous example of all, Leonardo DiCaprio in Blood Diamond. Although, I think he was supposed to be Zimbabwean? It was hard to tell.
I know that ultimately, capitalism trumps patriotism. Big stars mean a big box office, so our local talent doesn’t really stand a chance. More’s the pity.
What do you think about international actors playing South African characters? Are you over the awful renditions of Saffer accents, peeved about being side-lined, or do think we should just be happy South Africa is on the big screen at all?
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Last Updated: November 2, 2016