SA pips Kenya in bid for film
Kenya’s four-day Westgate siege – which saw 68 people dead and more than 175 injured in September 2013 – will be relived in a Hollywood film set for production in South Africa.
Kenyan newspaper the Daily Nation reports that Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank ( pictured) will star in the tragic film, but did not elaborate on the part she will play.
A man from Little Mowbray in Cape Town, James Thomas, was killed in the mass shooting that rocked Nairobi. The Daily Nation quotes American producer Richard Harding. He said the movie would be made in South Africa instead of Kenya due to better film-making incentives here.
“Kenya is a beautiful country with a lovely pool of talent. Unfortunately, it is the only country without incentives or rebates to attract film makers. That is why many movies about Kenya are made in South Africa.”
The film has sparked wide criticism for being disrespectful of bereaved relatives. A friend of Thomas’, Maurietta Stewart, from Cape Town, said in an online forum that Hollywood should respect the deceased.
Lucy Wambui, who lives in Nairobi, wrote: “The whole thing is in extremely bad taste and it makes my stomach turn already. Hollywood will cheapen the lives of those who perished in this tragedy.”
The Daily Nation also reports that another Kenyan story will be filmed in South Africa soon. The movie, called Africa, will be based on the life of Kenyan conservationist Richard Leakey and is said to star Brad Pitt – with production and direction by Angelina Jolie.