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Ready and… action. The Crazy Eight are back along with the hero Spud in the boarding school antics of John van de Ruit’s much-loved novels, Spud and Spud – The Madness Continues, which have been adapted for the big screen.
With the success of Spud – it was nominated for six South African Film and Television Awards – shooting of the sequel, Spud: The Madness Continues, was guaranteed and is now under way.
The production hit the Mother City last week and I spent a few hours on set to witness the behind- the-scene happenings. The location for these two particular scenes was the suburb of Tokai.
With the location set deeply amid dense forest, the sun’s rays were out in full force, much to the delight of the film crew who have been dodging the winter rain over the past few days.
Meanwhile, menacing baboons scrounged around for just about anything they could get their hands on, so personal belongings were held onto tightly as wranglers kept the overly-enthusiastic creatures at bay.
The all-South African cast, along with Brit, John Cleese as The Guv, have returned to reprise their roles. Scenes with Cleese have already been shot, leaving the 115-strong all-South African crew present on the day to complete the remaining scenes.
With 40 extras, 63 crew and 12 cast members, the location is set up as a farmers’ market full of traders and shoppers. The Crazy Eight are seen trying to raise funds at the Nottingham farm show, so they can enter a hotdog eating contest.
This scene sees an hour of repeated takes until the perfect shot is finally captured. Huge cranes of equipment and cameras tower over the actors.
Beads of sweat begin to form but the make up artists are on hand to brush and dab away. To add an extra kick of energy sweets gets passed around. Toasted sandwiches are delivered later for everyone to nibble on.
I overhear some of the backstage crew chatting about their amazement at the pleasant natures of the two leading ladies both on- and off-screen.
“Mermaid and Amanda are really sweet…”
“In the last week, we should start provoking her, maybe make her clothes smaller,” they chuckle.
The boys are fascinated by the baboons in between takes.
Then Rob Van Vuuren suddenly appears on set.
I soon find out that he is not here to show support, but is actual making an appearance in the cast as the compère of the hotdog eating contest.
I move to the area where director Donovan Marsh and the photographic director are staring intently at their little screens.
“Cut, cut” yells Marsh to the set as he makes his way over to the cast. “Please give more enthusiasm everyone, we’re nearly there.”
The camera crew quickly dismantle their equipment to start setting up on a different spot for the next scene, the hotdog-eating contest.
With everyone grabbing some shade before the next take, I pull Troye Sivan aside for a one-on-one. “We’ve been rehearsing for two weeks. It was lots of fun… just seeing each other and catching up after a year.
“It’s long, long days of work but its moving along pretty quickly,” he says.
“We’ve been shooting the hotdog scene for three days and Lucky’s downing the hotdogs while we get to cheer him on. I’m glad I don’t have to eat any of it,” he chuckles.
The hotdog-eating contest is a fun scene as you can imagine.
Says Marsh, “In filming the sequel, we looked at how we going to adapt the second part. I looked at what worked well in the first and then used that. Everybody wanted to see more of the Crazy Eight, so I’m bringing in more of that. There’s lots of rebellion; how they take on their headmaster is going to make for fun viewing.”