Pretoria - A part-time Joburg actor has told a Pretoria High Court judge he was simply no longer available to star in a local film which, he said, required him to do pornographic scenes.

Lushen Naidoo is adamant that he wants to withdraw from the film.

Judge Ferdi Preller last month ordered Naidoo continue playing his role in a film called And Now?

However, a number of conditions were put in place, including that movie producer Natalie Raphil give him a script and a shooting schedule beforehand.

The ruling was made after Raphil applied for an urgent order compelling her leading actor (Naidoo) to complete the film, which is about 70 percent done. At the time, Raphil said it would cause her and the rest of the crew irreparable harm if Naidoo pulled out at this stage.

But things took a new turn on Wednesday when Naidoo applied for leave to appeal against last month’s order, saying he was no longer prepared to do sex scenes.

There were more than 50 sex scenes in the film, apart from the re-shoots of which there were many, he said. Although he had already done some of the scenes, he was no longer “comfortable” with this.

It affected his physical and emotional health and his girlfriend was not happy with the state of affairs, Naidoo said.

Describing one of the sex scenes, he said he was instructed to have sex with the leading actress in the toilets of a cinema at the Lenasia Mall.

“This required me to sneak into the women’s toilets and conduct a sex scene in the toilets… I could have easily been arrested by the cinema security.”

Raphil’s advocate asked the court to order Naidoo to adhere to the previous order – even in the event of a pending appeal, which normally places an existing order on ice.

The judge was told that an appeal could take months and by that time it was too late to go ahead with the shooting of the film. All the work up to now would then have been in vain and mean the end of the R11 million film.

“Can you be forced to participate in pornographic scenes against your will? You cannot even be forced in Hollywood to do this,” Judge Preller remarked.

Counsel acting for Raphil, PA Swanepoel, said Naidoo was never forced to perform sex, but only required to “simulate” it.

But, after taking a look at one of the explicit scenes in the script, Judge Preller did not appear to be convinced. “This goes quite far. “It does not appear to be mere simulation to me. It seems like the real McCoy,” the judge said.

But Swanepoel was adamant – no real sex was necessary.

The judge took another look at the script and read out some of the scenes which entailed, among others, “slow strides” which became increasingly rapid.

Judge Preller commented that this appeared “very close to pornography” to him.

The judge said when he ordered Naidoo earlier to continue to perform in the film – subject to provisions which would make the actor’s life easier – he definitely did not order him to perform sexual acts.

No mention of sex was made at the time, he said.

The judge pointed out that Naidoo was not a professional actor, let alone a pornographic star. If that was true, one could say it was part of his job, he said.

But counsel for Raphil said Naidoo was now playing hardball, as he was previously willing to engage in these scenes. “He now got a hiding [when the previous order was issued] and he wants to get out,” the judge was told.

Gideon Scheepers, acting for Naidoo, said the film was not coming to an end, but dragging on, and his client had had his fill.

Judge Preller, in using the wisdom of Solomon, suggested Naidoo be written out of the film, as it was not sensible to force the unwilling actor to take part in the film and give his best.

It was in both parties’ interest to write him out, the judge said.

Naidoo’s counsel gave the judge some written suggestions in this regard and the judge will on Thursday give his ruling.

Pretoria News