Johannesburg -

A Los Angeles-based production and distribution company has acquired the rights for the South African movie iNumber Number, soon to hit local theatre screens.

The thriller, written and directed by Donovan Marsh, was acquired by production company Wrekin Hill Entertainment this week.

The movie, which features local stars S’dumo Mtshali and Presley Chweneyagae, is about a pair of cops battling corrupt colleagues as well as a gang of armoured-car thieves.

Chili, played by Mtshali, winner of Class Act in 2010, and Shoes, played by Chweneyagae of Tsotsi and State of Violence fame, have been partners in the police force for eight years.

After they make a risky arrest, their corrupt superior refuses to give them the reward they are due. Enraged, Chili realises that honesty does not pay and sets about infiltrating a gang of armoured-car thieves.

His scheme goes awry when the gang discover his true identity. They take Shoes hostage and go through with the heist. Lured by the potential loot, but finding himself in the midst of a killing spree, Chili has to shake off his rage and cynicism to do the right thing.

The film boasts an oddball cast that brings comic relief to the ruthless thuggery.

iNumber Number is South African director Donovan Marsh’s fourth film. An award-winning director, writer and editor, Marsh has worked in the local film industry since 1992.

He wrote and directed the feature films Dollars and White Pipes, Spud and Spud 2: The Madness Continues.

Wrekin Hill said it is looking toward a US nationwide theatrical release of iNumber Number in the US spring of this year.

It will open in South African cinemas on April 25, giving South African audiences the chance to see it first.

“It’s a major coup for us as film-makers because it highlights the quality of the film,” said producer Harriet Gavshon, of Quizzical Pictures, who produced iNumber Number.

“The international film market is highly competitive and securing a US release is a big win for the film.

“Universal Pictures optioned the remake rights to iNumber Number at the end of last year, so we are urging audiences to make sure they see the original first as we are certain it will become a South African classic.

“The US release of the original also gives us the opportunity to showcase local talent on the international stage,” added Gavshon.

The film had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in September last year.

Universal’s remake of the film will be produced by Chris Morgan, the writer of the Fast & Furious movies, and his partner Emile Gladstone, via their Universal-based Chris Morgan Productions.

“The Hollywood remake of notable foreign movies has proved to be successful in many instances, and this is a huge accolade for the film-makers of iNumber Number,” said Gavshon.

“Hollywood continually remakes excellent foreign films because American actors and the English language draw much bigger international audiences for a film.

“Subtitles are still a sticking point for cinemagoers and audiences generally don’t like them. In the case of iNumber Number, a great South African crime drama will have international exposure in a couple of years’ time, which is great for our industry.”

Saturday Star