Welcome to Spling Movies

Welcome to Spling Movies

Facebook  Twitter

Newsletter (Monthly)



Spling Polls

Custom Search
Interviews
Brandon Auret on 'Chappie'


South African actor, Brandon Auret, is best known for his roles in Elysium, Durban Poison and District 9. Spling caught up with Brandon to find out what it was like playing a madman named Hippo in Chappie, the latest thought-provoking sci-fi action thriller from Neill Blomkamp. Chappie opens nationwide on March 13.

Brandon Auret as Hippo in Chappie

What's Chappie about?

It's about 120 minutes. (Laughs) With Chappie, it's about greed, what makes a person a human being? Is it the ability to think and feel, the idea of consciousness and what is consciousness? Does it necessarily have to be in a human body to function? Are you able to move it and take it to something else and how does that work? When will robots not need humans anymore?

Chappie is rebooted and his entire life starts all over again from a little kid. He's been influenced by Die Antwoord, two really evil people and how does he make the choice between what is right or wrong? If you're unable to be a righteous human being, it's not a lack of religion, it's a lack of empathy. It's about all of these questions and how they relate to a robot... and there's lots of firing and guns and stuff blowing up.

Another thought-provoking sci-fi?

That's what I love about Neill's movies... if you're going to find out what his movie is about, you're going to have to sit through it a few times. Neill never really has one theme running through his movies he has this complex of themes and underlying stories. He's a very deep thinker, old Neill. This is about a robot who is able to operate, think and feel real true emotions.

Can you tell us a bit about your character?

Hippo... oh, he's an odd one. He's the catalyst of everything that goes wrong in the film... he's the reason Chappie becomes Chappie. He's a bad-ass drug and arms dealer who runs Joburg, but he doesn't see it that way, he thinks he's a businessman. It's come at a time in South Africa where lawlessness is a way of life and he is King. Hippo's just chaos and the most amazing character I've ever played.

Why "Hippo"?

This is how I justified it to Neill. In Africa the animal that causes more deaths than any other animal on land is a hippo. That's why they call him Hippo because he's got the highest death count in Joburg. Hippo's about as African as it gets... cyberpunk African, proudly South African with an accent. I'm not going to say what accent though. It was a choice we made and went with and ended up loving so much. He's got crazy gangs... I got to shoot a lot of weapons, fire a lot of rounds. I think on our first two days we went through about 11,000 rounds.

How did you prepare for the role?

I put on about 11.5kg of muscle to get into the character because originally the character was meant to be a big black guy. When I spoke to Neill, I said don't worry, I've got this character and you need to give me 3 months and I'll be sorted. He's a tough guy and a wonderful character, he's got a sense of humour about him.

Can you tell us about your training regime?

A friend of mine is a personal trainer and it's not like in America where I got my own personal trainer. I got a diet, supplements and a training programme and it was a matter of really committing to it and just doing the plan they had laid out for me. I was eating six meals and training twice a day, cardio-vascular in the morning and then really heavy weight training in the afternoon. I only had 11 weeks, so it was hard.

The dieting was hardest for me not having sugar, not having dairy products... steaming all of my food, eating my vegetables raw... I really take my hat off to guys who do this professionally because that kind of committment is unbelievable. It was 11 weeks of training and 3 months of maintenance. The first thing I asked for when they called a wrap was a pizza, a burger, a Coke and chocolate. I pigged out and felt sh*t afterwards, but it was worth it. It forced me to look at how I eat and changed my whole lifestyle... I try eat as healthily as possible. It's amazing, you turn 40 and you have this need to live longer.

Especially when you're doing most of your own stunts?

Shane was an amazing stunt double, but I've always had this thing... if I'm going to portray a character, it needs to be my character. You can't expect someone else to do it. I ended up doing all of my own stunts, except one. Then again it is a trust factor I have with the stunt co-ordinator. I really want to do every stunt, we rehearse it and if it's going to be too dangerous and the production doesn't want me to do it, then I walk away but at least give me the opportunity to say yes or no. I love what I do!

Did you share any scenes with the big stars: Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver or Dev Patel?

Yes, I spent a lot of time with Dev because he's involved with Die Antwoord and they're my nemesis in the film. I didn't get to share a scene with Hugh or Sigourney, but I did get a lot of time to spend with them on set. Not out of their choice, out of my choice... I was there on my days off, "Hey man, what's up Wolverine?" (laughs). It's a big thing... it's really weird that Neill's going to be doing the new Alien. When I met Sigourney Weaver, I didn't see her... I saw Ripley and it was the same with Hugh Jackman... when I met him I said "Hey man, I hear Wolverine's in this movie." They were really cool and amazing.

Chappie - Brandon Auret Interview

District 9 and Elysium had political subtexts... does Chappie fit into that world?

I don't think so. The whole political thing in the movie has been taken out because it's set in a time when there isn't much in the way of political parties, it's a free-for-all, people are running the country... it's more about the human thing. You find when you're watching the movie that Chappie, the robot, is actually more human than any of the humans that are around him, which is a big thing. The movie is more about being conscious human beings and not just human beings... becoming aware of not just our lives, but how our lives affect other people's lives. We need to become more conscious about being human. Every action ripples throughout time.

I see Sharlto voiced and motion-captured his performance, did you get involved in any of those scenes?

Sharlto and I had a couple of scenes together. People need to understand, he didn't just do the voice of Chappie... he spent everyday in his little spandex grey outfit with white balls, running around. Sharlto's movement, mentality and growth of Chappie was phenomenal... he grows up from being a little boy to a man in this machine.

It's based on his short film, Tetra Vaal, which was set in South Africa... where was this shot?

South Africa, all of it. Neill loves coming here... Johannesburg, Cape Town. You can see that by the way he shoots the movie. Neill keeps the team together... a lot of people that worked on District 9, worked on Chappie. Film-making isn't easy and when you have people that come onto a set with their own agenda and attitude, it doesn't make things easier. We're all there to make a movie, so let's not make it difficult.

Maybe that's why my relationship with Neill is so strong, for me it's what I do. I go there and don't moan, bitch and complain about things. If my caravan is smaller than the next person's, I don't care... it's a place to chill while we're doing scenes. I'm not a celebrity. I'm on my way to becoming a known actor, but this celebrity thing doesn't sit well with me. I find a lot of people who call themselves celebrities in the entertainment industry have nothing to offer... their life goal is to become a celebrity. I wake up every morning, thinking "I'm going to get the next job". That's what it is for me.

Celebrity culture, it's a power game... you're trying to wield this tabloid currency...

It's crazy... at the end of the day I don't want people to judge my life... I'm not perfect. I'm the first person to admit that. If you're going to judge me, judge me by my art. I'm as human as everyone else, just because I'm on the big screen doesn't change who I am.

I was asked yesterday, why did I leave Isidingo?

It was a massive decision for me. You become stuck in your ways and you fall into an acting rut and it's always good to have someone to help you out of that. My acting coach, Rene Tredoux, said to me... "Brandon, you didn't become an actor to play one role for the rest of your life." That hit home for me, because it's not what I wanted to be. I knew I had to make a decision that may f**k out.

You go out there and nobody wants to work with you, because you've been typecast. I remember walking into an audition and the casting director said "Okay, Doep... Brandon are you ready?" And I said, you've already put me in that box... I'm not going to even audition. I'm going to walk out of here with my head up. It took me about 2 1/2 years to get out of that. I needed to change the way I look... which is where the character acting came out.

Were you jealous of Hugh Jackman's mullet, tell us about your unique hairstyle...

Neill and the make up department spent about 2 weeks going through different hair styles, trying different things. We came up with this crazy character, we changed the clothing, the tops and the hairstyles until we came up with Hippo. They took my hair added extensions and knotted them into those little nodules. The dreadlocks were glued into my hair and in one of the scenes, one of the dreads got stuck in the car door and I had to carry on running, so I just ripped it and carried on. Brendon, the hairdresser came to me with the dreadlock and it had this tuft of hair with all the roots. I had this hole in my head and we just carried on.

You almost scalped yourself. You'll probably find that dread will find its way to eBay...

(Laughs) That's the weirdest thing. I got an email from a guy, who bought all of my gear from Elysium. On my jacket I had "Proelio Procusi". He emailed me to find out what it means... "Forged in Battle". It was quite weird that this dude took a picture and there was my stuff on a stand, the entire outfit with my gun, jacket and boots. I was like "I want that!"

It was quite amazing to hear how much he paid for all of that. My props supervisor on Chappie had a whole hippo tooth and I suggested they make a knife with the tooth as a blade. They came back and had carved an entire knife out of this tusk... the handle and the blade.

Brandon Auret in Chappie

So can you tell us if you die in Chappie?

I say to Neill, the more dramatic my death, the more chance I have of being in his next film. District 9 I got blown up. In Elysium, I got ripped apart with a rail gun...

So you're going to be pulled apart by horses in this one?

(Laughs) I don't want to give it away. There has been talk about a sequel. I think it'll be better to leave it open to the audience to make their minds up about what happens to the character. It's an interesting movie... I love what Neill's done with his promotions around Chappie. I love the story and I've seen what he's been sharing. People have no idea what's coming their way.

I've seen bits and pieces, but even when I look at the cuts that they've done. They're not giving away too much, it's not even a third of what the movie's about. I'll be in New York for the premiere on the 4th March, and it opens in South Africa on 13 March. Also going to spend time meeting with agents, and then taking a holiday and visiting Vegas. My opinion is that Chappie is going to be bigger than District 9, Elysium... probably one of the biggest grossing films of 2015.

Have you had any discussions with Neill about anything to do with Alien?

I haven't spoken to Neill about it at all. I'm not too concerned about whether he'll consider me for the film or not. Neill's been not only good to me as a friend, he's been good to me as a director and someone who's also forced my career into a different gear. When we spoke about Chappie he said to me, "Brandon, I don't know if there's a part in this movie for you".

I told him "Please don't take this the wrong way, but you've done enough for me. You've serviced my career, you've put a want into me to do more big films." Whether he uses me or not in Alien, I'm just glad he's directing it. I hope they're using Sigourney Weaver and that Ripley comes back. I'm such a fan of her in the Alien trilogy. I think when Neill worked with her on Chappie, the two of them started talking.

Otherwise, what's next for Brandon Auret?

I have a couple of things in the pipeline. I had a chat with Simon Kinsberg during the filming of Chappie... he's just been asked to increase the Marvel universe and he's producing and writing the next two Star Wars films. If there's an opportunity for me to be in the films, it would be a childhood dream come true. Return of the Jedi is my favourite film of all-time. It's the movie that made me want to become an actor. We'll see where it goes. It'd be a full 360 for me if I look at the kind of films that influenced me... Full Metal Jacket, Rambo, Return of the Jedi.

My own company, A Breed Apart Pictures, are producing our first film, Making a Killing. We shot a 30 minute short to market it and we're going overseas to get money. It's a big budget action film about mercenaries in the Congo. I don't know what it is, I always find myself playing these military films. Although I played a completely different character in Durban Poison, so slowly but surely there are other options coming my way.

 
Top Ten Movies with... Gerard Rudolf


Gerard Rudolf Profile

Gerard Rudolf is an intelligent, honest, soulful and funny South African actor, poet and photographer, who gained notoriety as a gutsy actor and outspoken opponent of the Apartheid regime. He was born in Pretoria and after high school, a year drifting in the United States and two years in military service, he graduated from the Drama school at the University of Pretoria in 1989.

Rudolf went on to join CAPAB, performing in Shakespeare plays before starting his own theatre company, Makeshift Moon in 1991. In this year, he also developed an interest in film, working with Dennis Hopper, Peter Weller and Bryan Brown with roles in Paljas, Styx, Dust and The Piano Player over the next decade.

In 1998, he founded a professional acting school in Cape Town and by 2002 it was time for a change of scenery. He started writing to orientate himself and in 2009, published his first poetry collection, Orphaned Latitudes, which renowned poet Anthony Joseph described as "masterful, mesmerising and controversial" and received high praise from peers and readers.

More recently, Rudolf has returned to the screen appearing in Wolwedans in die Skemer, Layla Fourie, Jimmy in Pienk and Chander Pahar. The man's full of wit and an absolute character, which made getting his Top Ten Movies interview an absolute pleasure...

"The first Lord of the Rings made me sob
because it was so eye-wateringly crap.
.."

I can't watch movies without...

- ...a clear mind. It has been years since I’ve watched movies purely for the sake of ‘entertainment’. I’m rarely interested in movies as entertainment. I want a movie to confront me with something; a new way of seeing an aspect of life, something mysterious and perhaps even a bit profound.

And because movies form a huge part my life I sometimes see a movie for its technical aspects or because it is by a favourite director or because it was photographed by a favourite DP. Having said all that, I must confess to a weakness for Steven Segal movies. Hilarious stuff!

Which famous people share your birthday?

- Napoleon and Adolf Hitler. (20 April)

What is the first film you remember watching?

- I’ve had a few arguments with myself over this one. I remember two films vividly. I seem to recall being about three years old and seeing Camelot with my mother at a morning show in Pretoria. What I recall clearly from the experience was being petrified at Merlin, the dark scenes, the castle’s corridors. I couldn’t cope!

The other film that is lodged in my early memory is The Good, The Bad and The Ugly by Sergio Leone. I remember feeling utterly transported by the surreal landscapes, the dust, that eerie soundtrack by Ennio Morriconi I think it was. And I remember feeling completely exhilarated by the entire experience. I think that was the film that got me hooked and set me on this precarious path. The first record I owned was an album of Morricone’s music from all those spaghetti westerns. I was four. Wore the grooves out.

What's the worst movie you've ever seen?

-There are so many. Most musicals. But I am going with the one that pops into my mind right off the bat: Love, Actually. Actually I can’t bloody stand any of Richard Curtis’ films. They are tacky, obvious, oh-so-witty, perfectly crafted, ham acted, sentimental, irritatingly formulaic, shallow, cynically commercial British drivel. Expensive Mills & Boon. Saw it in London on Leicester Square on one of those giant screens. I was in a shit mood for about three days afterwards.

In fact hate all those cutesy British films with cute old people and boys in depressing Northern towns who want to become ballet dancers or male strippers. They bore the crap out of me. The Crying Game was another bad one. How anybody couldn’t see that the ‘girl’ was a guy right from the start is beyond me. Oh, and Yentl for more or less the same reasons.

Which movies have made you tearful?

- The Champ. No contest. I was a boy. John Voight dies. I cried like a little girl. But as I said previously, I don’t really watch films for entertainment and thus I don’t usually get suckered by them. Another one that stands out in my mind is The Legend of the Holy Drinker (1988), a film by Ermanno Olmi with Rutger Hauer at the top of his game. Something about that film still haunts me. And the first Lord of the Rings made me sob because it was so eyewateringly crap.

Gerard Rudolf - Top Ten Movies

Who is the most famous movie star you've ever met?

- Because of my job I’ve met and worked with a few of them. I guess I’d go for the late Dennis Hopper. I worked with him on a movie called The Piano Player, a B-Grade American thing that was shot down in Cape Town around 2001. I could choose between two small parts. One would mean I’d have to spend a day or two acting opposite Christopher (Highlander) Lambert, or one entire day on set opposite Hopper. No contest.

Hopper has always been one of my movie heroes. I mean, who can forget Easy Rider? Anyway, I was nervous as hell because of his mad man rep. But when I arrived on set he walked up to me, grabbed my hand and said: “Hi. I’m Dennis. Great to meet you. Let’s go to work.” That energy, man. And we worked and improvised, and he’d drag me off to the monitor after each take and laugh his head off at what we were doing.

It was a great day and I am incredibly lucky for having met him. Just watching him operate on set taught me so much about films in general and film acting specifically. He was a rock star. He was film to the marrow! I loved him as an artist and as a director. He was a great photographer too. A true American original. Sadly they don’t make them like that anymore.

What's your favourite movie line?

- I’m a word man, so it is a hard one to answer. Maybe I shouldn’t go ‘full retard’ on this, so I’ll keep it light. “Charlie don’t surf!”, Robert Duvall’s line from Apocalypse Now is up there. Or Michael Caine in Get Carter when a heavy Geordie gets in his way: “You're a big man but you're in bad shape. For me it's a full-time job. Now behave yourself.” Or Caine again in The Italian Job going: “You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!” Eastwood as Dirty Harry going: “Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one”.

Who would you choose to play you in your biopic?

- Biopics seldom work as far as I’m concerned. But if I have to answer: Jim Carrey maybe. I don’t know why. We don’t even look alike. But I really love him as an actor. There is a darkness to him, a fragility, a sense of sadness and melancholy I can’t quite put my finger on. I really like that about him. He’s not quite of this world. And if Jim won’t do it then maybe a young Bruce Dern, one of the most underrated actors of our time.

And if Bruce can’t then I’d settle for Roberto Benigni or Pee-wee Herman. Shit, I don’t know. It will be short and boring movie no matter who plays me. It will go straight to DVD and then into that Sale bin at Pick ‘n Pay where it will remain unsold and eventually end up as a beer coaster somewhere. My life as a beer coaster...

Gerard Rudolf - Top Ten Movies

If you could produce a movie, what would it be about?

- A BIG question. As I said, I like films that move me, leave me changed somehow, make me see life differently, teach me something, stays with me long after the end credits stopped rolling. Like good novels. It doesn’t have to be serious and dark because some of the most profound movies I have seen are pretty hilarious. So it would have to be a film by one of my favourite directors I suppose.

In past lives (if those are permitted here) I might have wanted to produce something like Fellini’s 8 1⁄2 , Malick’s Badlands or Days of Heaven, Allen’s Manhattan, Rafelson’s The King of Marvin Gardens, Godard’s A Bout de Souffle, any of Antonioni’s films, the Three Colours Trilogy, Chinatown, Mike Leigh’s Naked... something that might become a classic in future. That would be nice.

Finally, your top ten movies of all-time...

It obviously changes all the time. I have favourite films from different eras, different regions of the world, different genres.

And there are the obvious big ones: Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, Sunset Boulevard, The Maltese Falcon, The Great Dictator... So, to save myself days of agonising I’m going to give you the first ten films that pop into my head and leave it at that.

In no particular order:

- BADLANDS (1973), Terrence Malick. (USA). With Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek. Because it is a masterpiece of American cinema and because it is the original Natural Born Killers. Breathtaking American landscapes.

- FIVE EASY PIECES (1970), Bob Rafelson. (USA) With Jack Nicholson, Karin Black. I love everything about this film. The powerful scene where Nicholson’s character talks to his wheelchair ridden father, the hilarious scene where Nicholson tries to order a chicken salad sandwich in a diner and losing it completely...Tragic. Great ending.

- THE MIRROR (1974), Andrei Tarkovsky. (RUSSIA). Vast. Poetic. I love all his films but this is the one I come back to every few years.

- WITHNAIL AND I (1987), Bruce Robinson. (UK). Paul McGann and Richard E. Grant. A low-budget gem with a cracking script. Hilarious, cruel, absurd, bleak and tragic all at the same time.

- SHOTDOWN (1988), Andrew Worsdale. (SA). Robert Colman, Danny Keogh, James Phillips, Irene Stephanou, John Ledwaba, et al. The energy and passion in this film always astounds me and it is a great portrait of Joburg during the darkest days of Apartheid. Politically loaded and a big fuck you to PW’s regime. Low budget (is there any other kind of South African film?), passionate, insane. This film deserves a re-release.

- UNA PURA FORMALITA (1994), Giuseppe Tornatore. (Italy/France). Gérard Depardieu, Roman Polanski. Because the film has Polanski as an overworked French detective trying to solve a mystery over the course of one rain soaked night out in the French sticks somewhere. Surreal thriller with a wonderful script and with great cinematography by Blasco Giurato. Watched it about a dozen times.

- DEAD MAN (1995), Jim Jarmusch. (USA). Johnny Depp, Robert Mitchum, Christian Farmer, Crispin Glover. I like all Jarmusch’s films. This is a beautiful, slow black and white film set in the old West of a man’s crazy journey to the afterlife. Christian Farmer’s overweight Native American spirit guide looking at a wounded Johnny Depp and saying: “Stupid fucking white man”. Intense score by Neil Young. The great Robby Müller shot it. One of Jarmusch’s masterpieces.

- LA HAINE (1995), (France). Mathieu Kassovitz. (France). Vincent Cassel, Hubert Koundé, Saïd Taghmaoui. The sheer energy of this brilliant black and white film simply bounced off the screen and hit me like a ton of bricks. A story of racial tension in Paris. Intelligent, visceral. Everything Reservoir Dogs never was or could be. Brilliant direction and brilliant performances. Worth seeing the scene where Vincent Cassel stands in front of a mirror and does the “Are you lookin’ at me” thing...in French.

- A PROPHET (2009), (France). Jaques Audiard. The film follows the trajectory of a young man through the ranks of the Paris underworld. Heartbreaking. Beautiful. Two things about this film: 1. If you haven’t seen it, see it. 2. Tahar Rahim in the lead is simply astonishing. He should have won all the Best Actor awards that year. Period.

- PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE (2002), (USA). Paul Thomas Anderson. Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Luis Guzman, Philip Seymour Hoffman. I like Anderson’s films but this one hit me hard. Cinematography by Robert Elswit (Google him!). A love story done in the right way. To put Sandler in the lead was a stroke of brilliance on Anderson’s part. And of coarse Hoffman being a fat slimeball just works. A gem of a film. Fantastic script too.

Top Ten Movies with... is a people series on SPL!NG, featuring a host of celebrities ranging from up-and-coming to established personalities from all industries including, but not limited to: Internet, Radio, TV, Film, Music, Art and Entrepreneurs. It's a chance to discover who they are, find out where they're at and to get a fun inside look at their taste in movies.


 
Top Ten Movies with... Henk Pretorius


Henk Pretorius is a South African director, writer and producer, who is on the cusp of international acclaim. The Dark Matter Studios founder wanted a place in the film industry and has been striving to make a space for himself, ever since completing his AFDA film school degree. Pretorius describes himself as an "underdog" and a “passionate observer of humanity”.

His breakthrough came with Bakgat!, a popular Afrikaans comedy, which went on to become a trilogy. He moved from Bakgat! to direct Fanie Fourie's Lobola, a heartfelt, funny and distinctly South African romantic comedy, which was well-received by critics and audiences alike.

His latest film, a comedy romance drama called Leading Lady, has generated even more international appeal, once again proving Pretorius has what it takes to go all the way.

While South Africa is already enamored with Pretorius and his "children", we can't wait to see what he and his production company has lined up next. For now, we'll have to be satisfied with getting his Top Ten Movies interview...

"I get goosebumps just thinking of the film...
[on The Shawshank Redemption]

I can't watch movies without...

- My analytical brain switched off. I sometimes wish I could just switch off and enjoy the show, but it's like I am watching a lecture of film-making. Sometimes the lecture is about something that you should aspire to make and sometimes, something you should aspire to never make!

Which famous people share your birthday?

- I had to Google that one and frankly I don’t think any of those people are really famous. I might add that my birthday is two days after Christmas…

What is the first film you remember watching?

- Dirty Dancing and It. Both films I was not allowed to watch. One gave me nightmares and the other one inspired a brief mullet and blow-dried hair. As I said, I was too young to watch these films!

What's the worst movie you've ever seen?

-There are loads of really awful movies, but the one that really takes the cake was a short film I acted in. I can't remember the name, but I was suppose to be killed by a floating CGI knife. The budget died, before the knife could be added, so the film died with my character…

Which movies have made you tearful?

- Every movie that thematically deals with the underdog winning something or figuring something out and is recognised for that, makes me tearful. Even if the film is bad, my eyes will water up at the exact moment when our hero gets his or her recognition. It's obviously something in my psyche, wanting recognition and seeing myself as an underdog, oh how dreadful.

Who is the most famous movie star you've ever met?

- I have never met a really famous movie star, except in the wax museum. I don't really aspire to meet one either. I mean, actors are great and sometimes very brave people, but the star-system is only a marketing strategy that producers in the USA use to sell more movie tickets.

What's your favourite movie line?

- "Get busy living or get busy dying." The line comes from The Shawshank Redemption and I am a massive fan of the movie and the theme of this movie. I get goosebumps just thinking of the film. It pretty much sums up life for me: you are either busy dying or you are living…

Who would you choose to play you in your biopic?

- If they make a biopic of my life, they have really run out of stories. If I am that famous, or rather wealthy, at the time, I would like to play the lead character myself. When I have enough money, I will freeze my brain like Walt Disney and miraculously come back to life and play myself. My inner “self indulgent detector” is going: ENOUGH ALREADY!

If you could produce a movie, what would it be about?

- How our species should stop taking our planet for granted and start controlling our numbers.

Finally, your top ten movies of all-time...

- Shawshank Redemption ...because it sums up life for me.

- Braveheart ...because I am a cliche and “FREEEEEDOM!”.

- Dead Poet's Society ...stand on your desk and shout: “YELP!” and Robin Williams's sad eyes, because he knows, the wiser you get, the more jaded you become…

- A Beautiful Mind ...we are all looking for our original idea, for better or worse, until death do me part.

- American Beauty ...hate the mundane, but what else is there? The beauty of wrinkles on my grandmother's hands. Solid film.

- Good Will Hunting ...again, Robin Williams’s eyes and for the idea that it doesn't matter where you come from, it's where you are going.

- Wedding Crashers ...when in doubt, be forever young and dumb! “M-a-a-a, I need the meatloaf!”

- District 9 ... so proud of Neill Blomkamp. Although I have never met him, I think the world of this film.

- Batman Returns ...I can't stop watching this film. “Do you know where I got my scars?” In the film business…

- Avatar ...I am a massive James Cameron fan. To me, he is The King of Hollywood.

Top Ten Movies with... is a people series on SPL!NG, featuring a host of celebrities ranging from up-and-coming to established personalities from all industries including, but not limited to: Internet, Radio, TV, Film, Music, Art and Entrepreneurs. It's a chance to discover who they are, find out where they're at and to get a fun inside look at their taste in movies.


 
Douglas Place on Ster-Kinekor's Cine Prestige


We had a chance to chat to Ster-Kinekor Marketing Manager, Douglas Place, about Cine Prestige, a business class movie experience, which is being rolled out around the country.

How is Cine Prestige different from a normal movie-going experience?

I think what's important is that if you're going to have a brand promise of "Greatest Moments at their Greatest", you can't have mediocre moments at their cheapest. This is the Ster-Kinekor interpretation of a trend, which is happening worldwide. We piloted the first Cine Prestige in April 2012 in Johannesburg.

What makes it popular and different is this is effectively the business class version of cinema, an elite cinema-going experience  with a dedicated foyer area where you can buy your standard Coke and popcorn if that's what you're after but you also have the opportunity to buy gourmet foods off a specialist menu, which is served to you by waiters either in the film or the foyer. So it's a completely separate pre-film experience and during film experience as well.

Cine Prestige Cavendish

The auditorium is spacious, you don't have the challenge of squeezing past people to get to your seats. It's a far more intimate environment without sacrificing the scale of the cinema experience. It's a state-of-the-art facility so it's got the very best in projection technology, digital audio surround sound, the latest silver screen technology... so really good 2D and 3D presentation. It's the best of the best of the best from an audio-visual point-of-view.

The fully leather reclining armchairs are custom designed only for Ster-Kinekor and we effectively took a manual model in 2012 and made it fully electronic so you can see the display board on your armchair here, which takes you to full reclining mode. We had to measure that carefully to make sure your sight lines aren't obstructed or you're peering over your toes at the screen.

My favourite feature is the 'cool' feature, which keeps your drink cool throughout the film. So when you're coming to watch Peter Jackson's film, The Hobbit or other such 3 hour epics you don't have a lukewarm Coke as the film progresses.

The cinema is already 40% sold out for Friday and Saturday and Capetonians haven't even seen what the film is yet. These cinemas tend to book out way in advance, so they're not the kind of things you buy at box office. You can, but often there aren't seats available, so they tend to be bought online or via the Ster-Kinekor app.

You mentioned the model, is this the second one or are they actually quite a few of these out there?

We opened in The Zone in Rosebank in 2012, we've since opened in Sandton City, Gateway, in Krugersdorp and Cradlestone. When we open new cinemas, we design them with this space in mind because it needs a dedicated kitchen and foyer. It's easier when we have new builds... like Cradlestone and The Grove in Pretoria, which have been easier to do. This is a retro-fitted model for Cavendish, that's why its taken so long to bring this to Cape Town... to work out all the architectural challenges. We didn't want to dilute what the experience is and not have a foyer or as many of these kind of seats as we could possibly have.

Cine Prestige Cavendish

We understand there are more ways of seeing movies than ever before, which are getting more convenient and cheaper. We're in the business of competing with cheap and convenient. This is the best and first place to see a film and that's going to be true for the foreseeable future.

Are there plans to expand this concept throughout the Western Cape?

I'd be very surprised if this didn't take off from what we've seen everywhere from Johannesburg to Durban. I know Capetonians are different and have peculiar tastes, but I don't think this is going to be one of the things that is going to be particularly alienating. We're definitely looking at other sites to do it. The challenge isn't the business model, it's architecture, where do you find the space to do this properly.

Are you targetting any specific movies for Cine Prestige?

We tend to show the major release of the week. I think initially people had assumed this is for an older consumer, a more sophisticated moviegoer and that we'd show more art house or Cinema Nouveau type content here and that hasn't been the case at all. This is for you, even if you're a 16-year-old boy and want to impress a girl on a first date. This will screen The Hunger Games and the Oscar films, so it does tend to mirror the major release houses. We don't oblige people to see it in one format, so when Horrible Bosses 2 opens you can see it in standard 2D next door or you can come see it in Cine Prestige. Thanks to digital projection, we can now date programmes, so we can have The Boxtrolls in the morning and The Hobbit in the evening.

 
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Page 8 of 19