Few ac­co­lades for Blade Run­ner film

The Sunday Independent - - NEWS - AN­DREW ROBERTSON

THE STEENKAMPS hate it, the Pis­to­rius’s hate it, and most South Africans ap­pear to hate the yet-to-be re­leased movie, Os­car Pis­to­rius: Blade Run­ner Killer.

When US TV net­work Life­time re­leased the trailer of the up­com­ing movie, the Steenkamps in par­tic­u­lar had to re­live yet an­other or­deal. The Pis­to­rius fam­ily have al­ready said they aim to sue.

The trailer dom­i­nated so­cial me­dia this week with calls for the movie to be jailed too, like Os­car. The movie is based on the Par­a­lympian’s girl­friend, Reeva Steenkamp’s mur­der on Fe­bru­ary 14, 2013 and how Os­car killed her.

The minute-long trailer is tragic, it fea­tures an in­ac­cu­rate cast­ing of An­dreas Damm, a New York-based ac­tor, who fails to por­tray Os­car. The pro­duc­tion com­pany which pro- duced the film failed to con­sult the Steenkamps. Sidelin­ing the fam­ily of the vic­tim to im­part ex­pe­ri­ences is seen as morally and eth­i­cally of­fen­sive. In a state­ment, the dis­trib­u­tor of the Life­time chan­nel said: “It is an­tic­i­pated that the movie will elicit mixed re­ac­tions in South Africa due to the sen­si­tive na­ture of the high-pro­file court case which was widely fol­lowed.”

But it is not the first time Hol­ly­wood has blun­dered when loot­ing South African sto­ries.

Ex­hibit A: Aaliyah

In 2014, Life­time was blasted over the Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B bi­o­graph­i­cal film be­cause the choice of ac­tors was poor. Ini­tial lead ac­tress, Zen­daya Cole­man, dropped out af­ter fac­ing crit­i­cism that she “wasn’t black enough” to play Aaliyah, and she was re­placed by Alexan­dra Shipp. Fam­ily of the pop star also sought le­gal ac­tion to prevent the film be­ing made.

The dam­age had been done, #Life­timeBeLike sparked, and peo­ple set Twit­ter afire with satir­i­cal tweets of Life­time’s lazy and sloppy ap­proach to char­ac­ter cast­ing.

Ex­hibit B: Winnie Man­dela

Jen­nifer Hud­son por­trayed Winnie Madik­izela-Man­dela, Nel­son’s ex-wife in the con­tro­ver­sial self- ti­tled drama film adap­ta­tion of Anne Marie du Preez Bezrob’s bi­og­ra­phy Winnie Man­dela in 2011. When the project was an­nounced, lawyers for Madik­izela-Man­dela, threat­ened ac­tion against what they feared would be a “char­ac­ter as­sas­si­na­tion”. How­ever, it wasn’t and got glow­ing re­views, but Madik­izela-Man­dela com­plained she was not con­sulted.

IN SPOT­LIGHT: A movie has been made of Os­car Pis­to­rius’s killing of Reeva Steenkamp.

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