Oscar Pistorius

Debashine Thangevelo

ADVERTISEMENTS can have one of two responses: viewers applaud the ingeniousness of the concept, or rubbish it altogether.

Yesterday, M-Net Movies aired its ad featuring Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius to generate hype around the upcoming Oscars.

An affable Pistorius, who is certainly worth his Sexiest Man Alive recognition by People magazine, was über chuffed about being part of the campaign and was only too glad to provide details on how it came to fruition.

“Happy New Year,” he wishes me as we sit down for our tête-à-tête. After some banter about our respective holiday experiences in the Western Cape, where he spent some down time in Plettenberg Bay and Hermanus, he admits that he is now in training mode again.

On his initial response to the idea for the ad, Pistorius shares: “The campaign is really good. They (M-Net Movies) said that they had this concept and script that’s been written and they were keen for us to listen to the idea as they needed to do something different for the Oscars this year.

“One of my agents sat with them and when he left the meeting, he called me and said: ‘Jeez, this is something you’re really gonna enjoy doing.’ So we agreed to it. It was shot over three days from the beginning of December until last weekend.”

Raving about how much fun it was, he continues: “The ad has a very South African sense of humour. It plays a bit on the way we look at things and the sarcasm we have.

“Basically, it is about these two co-workers. One is the boss and the other his apprentice. They work for an advertising agency and get this gig to promote the Oscars. They throw around ideas and the apprentice suggests they get a real life-size Oscar. While the manager is thinking of a statuette, the apprentice (a complete lost soul) is thinking of maybe finding someone with the name Oscar…

“And so he kidnaps me from a training session, throws me into a body bag and takes me to the office. Impressed with himself, he can’t wait for his boss to see the work he has done.

“Of course, when the boss opens the bag, you can immediately see all these emotions surfacing. He is thinking, ‘court case and police’. But both are not the smartest of cats and decide to make it work. Of course, I’m sitting there very unimpressed.”

Pistorius is confident the “classily shot” campaign will leave an indelible impression on viewers.

Somewhat of a movie buff himself, he shares: “I watch a lot of TV and movies. I don’t like horrors or thrillers. I do enjoy very realistic stuff, drama, comedy (especially the British comedy). And I like Stanley Kubrick and Guy Richie films. Ja, and I’m a huge Quentin Tarantino fan, too.”

While exchanging comments about some of the upcoming big screen releases, including the ones which cleaned up at the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Pistorius revealed that he is a big Will Ferrell fan and thinks Sasha Baron Cohen is a very smart guy.

Despite going blank on the title of his favourite film for the Oscars, he spoke about meeting Jay Leno and being on his show.

“He is really cool. A very nice guy. I remember I was chatting to his producer and he overheard that my mates were coming over and that we were very into cars. So he invited us to his warehouse where he keeps like 200 cars and more than 300 motorbikes. He even had a motorbike with a helicopter engine. And he made us spaghetti Bolognese. For a boy at heart when it comes to cars, I went nuts. I love speed and I have a McClaren now, which is my favourite of all the cars I have owned.”

With the car able to reach 330km/h, looks like speed is the common denominator on the road and the track. And for a sporting legend – that’s not a bad combination.

In the meantime, his reel TV adventure is about to become the talk of the town.