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An urgenT application to force the leading actor in a film called And Now? – shot in South Africa and dealing with life after the 2010 World Cup – to complete his role has been brought before the Pretoria High Court.
Judge Ferdi Preller has ordered Lushen Naidoo, a Rivonia, Sandton, business analyst and part-time actor, to continue playing his role, but said it must not interfere with his normal work schedule.
The judge also said Naidoo must be given the shooting schedule beforehand as well as his script for the particular shoot.
This was after Naidoo gave notice to the producer that he had had enough and was quitting.
Natalie Raphil, a forex trader and movie producer, said in papers before the court that she and well-known American film producer Irwin Winkler were forced to sue Naidoo to compel him to finish the lead role in the R11 million film.
She said the film was 70 percent complete and due to be released in February, but Naidoo had earlier this year given four weeks’ notice. He said he could no longer continue as the production had affected his health negatively. His full-time employment had also been compromised.
“He is the leading actor. If he simply decided he did not want to continue, we would not be able to finalise the movie.”
About 400 people were deriving an income from the movie and their jobs were at stake.
Raphil said she had given the rest of the cast off last month in an attempt to settle the dispute, but filming had to start some time this month or they would be behind schedule.
Naidoo made it clear in his response that he was not an actor, never had any formal training, nor was it his intention to be an actor.
He said he had met Raphil in a nightclub and she had later asked him to play a role in “a sort-of promotional campaign” for the World Cup, for which he did not need acting skills.
Raphil told him that things would be the same with And Now? – which he understood was a follow-up movie that would be completed within eight months, he said.
But now, nearly two years later, he had realised it was a full-length feature movie requiring a much higher standard of acting and that the frequency of the shots had increased dramatically.
Naidoo said as he was not an actor, he had to do many reshoots and he simply could not cope. He believed he had lawfully terminated his contract with the producer regarding his role in this movie.
The judge ordered the producer to assist Naidoo in rehearsals.
Also, Naidoo would be entitled to some royalties if he “gave his best”.