Oh Shucks – it’s his son
Leon Schuster’s new comedy features Rob van Vuuren as Schuks’s son, Wayne, who devises a huge gag to impress his father
OH SHUCKS, it’s a father and son spin. The latest instalment of the Schuks franchise, Schuks! Your Country Needs You, sees the introduction of Cape Town comedian and actor Rob van Vuuren to the mix, as Schuks’s son Wayne.
The movie rolls between script and gag as Wayne tries to prove his worth to Schuks. It’s watching a movie about making a candid camera movie, combining real-life gags with a thin story that doesn’t really go anywhere.
Alfred “Shorty” Ntombela is stapled in as usual, side-kicking from Schuks’s side.
Another new face is Laré Birk, a victim of a gag who blew her gasket so well, she was asked to join the now ensemble cast.
In the film, actress Birk pitches up for an audition at a location with a boom gate and Leon Schuster and Van Vuuren as security guards.
They hassle her for information and identification, to the point of a very watchable berserk reaction.
At press interviews last week with the cast and director Gray Hofmeyr, Birk says she went to the audition upon her agent’s advice and that was the first time she swore explicitly in public.
“I used to think about how I would react. Schuks has ways to push you…
“Who wouldn’t accept a role? I grew up with these films,” she says.
Van Vuuren has some experience in candid camera work. He used to appear in SABC2 candid fillers Oblivious and was pranked in 2010’s Schuks Tshabalala’s Survival Guide to South Africa.
“This takes me out of my comfort zone. I am not a prankster. I hope Wayne has a future, let’s see what the public thinks about his addition to the brand,” says Van Vuuren.
The character of Wayne devises a massive gag in the film to impress Schuks.
They head out to a little Karoo town to dupe spectators at a rugby game into believing that Schuks is a ref biased to the away side.
Schuster says, “My son and I find each other in this movie. My daughter says this relationship gives the movie heart.”
Ntombela adds: “It feels like Leon and Gray are adopting more children. It started with me and they are building a family. We need to entertain people.”
One of the best things about this film is the duping of well-known figures. Ex-Bok coach Peter de Villiers, Afrikaans singing heartthrob Bobby van Jaarsveld and rapper Jack Parow are all royally hoodwinked. Including these gags is an expensive activity but not as difficult as one might think.
Schuster says De Villiers was keen and that his agent said he would fall for it “like a potato”.
“It was really cruel, but very watchable. Schuster disguises himself as a Japanese man asking De Villiers to coach the Japanese rugby team for a lot of money. The exchange takes place over a ceremony of ridiculous rituals. Poor P Divvy falls deeper and deeper.
“As the joke sunk in, he showed his showmanship… I could catch more celebrities but they will ask a fortune. I have no guarantee,” says Schuster. He confirmed they paid De Villiers to include the gag in the movie.
“If he was still Springbok coach we probably would have had to pay double the fee.
“It is not like the old days when there were no professional rugby players. It is much more difficult now.”
Another must-watch scene is Jack Parow walking into a flea market to confront a man selling his signature animal print long peak caps.
Schuster says the concept for the film came from a dream he had of Uncle Sam.
“It’s a nice theme for now. I fought a comedy war,” he says.
“We are all important, the film has a patriotic message. We are all in this together,” adds Hofmeyr.
● Schuks! Your Country Needs You is out now. Twitter: @WendylMartin firstname.lastname@example.org
THE FAMILY: Leon Schuster, second from right, with cast members Alfred ‘Shorty’ Ntombela, Laré Birk and Rob van Vuuren at the premiere of