By Charlotte Otter and Gert-Jaap Hoekman
Cape Town has captured two more hearts, and they aren't just anybody's.
Hollywood stars Salma Hayek and Colin Farrell officially declared their love for the city at a press conference for their new movie Ask The Dust on Wednesday.
"I think this city is gorgeous," Farrell said, "even though I have not been up Table Mountain yet. But we still have two or three weeks of shooting left, and I'm not leaving the city before I've climbed it."
Because of the tight shooting schedule and closed set policy, the press conference in the ballroom of the Mount Nelson Hotel was the first opportunity the actors, and director Robert Towne, have had to talk about their new movie - and it was obvious the stars were dying to speak about their experiences.
Mexican beauty Hayek, known for her roles in Desperado and Frida, seemed shy, but still seized every chance to babble enthusiastically about her role in the movie, while Irish bad boy Farrell, who had roles in Minority Report and Phone Booth, smoothly charmed the predominantly female audience, while puffing on a cigarette.
Towne, who also directed the Mission Impossible 1 and 2, said: "Cape Town really reminds me of Southern California in the 30s. The location and the weather are just fantastic; and the people here are thinner and haven't had cosmetic surgery."
Ask The Dust, an adaptation of John Fante's novel of the same name, is a romance set in 1930s Los Angeles. Arturo Bandini (Farrell) is a struggling Italian writer who meets Camilla Lopez (Hayek), a beautiful Mexican waitress. They embark on a love/hate relationship that slowly turns sour.
Shooting took place on a massive set constructed on Pinelands High School's rugby field and other locations around the city.
It was good luck that the crew discovered Cape Town, Towne said.
"It was not possible to film in California, because all the areas are heavily built up now. Coming to Cape Town is an invitation to step into the past and recreate Los Angeles of the 1930s."
As Farrell and Hayek are on a six-day-a-week schedule, they have only been spotted on rare occasions, such as at a Phantom Of The Opera performance and Farrell's birthday bash in Kloof Street.
"Unfortunately we haven't gone to the bingo or bowling," Farrell joked. "But we go out for dinner and drinks with our friends, like normal people."
Farrell said he was enjoying Cape Town immensely, but has to leave after filming to work on his new movie, The New World.
"But I will probably be back here. I like this place."
Cape Town is the perfect place to shoot Ask The Dust, Hayek said. "It's so cinematic, which works well since this is a romantic story. For me it helped a lot filming it here."
She said this role was the most difficult she had had in her career. "When he (Towne) first gave me the script eight years ago I turned it down, but it stuck in my head. I think I wasn't mature enough at the time, but I have grown as a woman and I love it now."
And Hayek has fallen in love with the city.
"I wake up every morning and see the beautiful sunrise. It's different every day, it makes this city almost artistic. It's a magical place."