'Wallander’s' On the Way to Cape Town

IOL News, 11 January 2015
By Jan Cronje

Cape Town - A strong South African cast is set to join celebrated British actor Sir Kenneth Branagh in filming an episode of the hit British series, 'Wallander', in Cape Town this month.

The episode, titled 'The White Lioness', will see Branagh reprise his role as the brooding Swedish sleuth, Kurt Wallander, in the long-running BBC detective series.

“I always approach each series of 'Wallander' with anticipation and excitement, but this last series of films contain some of the greatest challenges the character has ever faced,” said the Bafta and Emmy Award-winning actor and director in a media release.

According to a blog post by local casting director Christa Schamberger, the single feature-length episode will be filmed “in and around” the Mother City this month. It will be directed by Jonathan van Tulleken.

Local actors Bonnie Mbuli and Lemogang Tsipa will have leading roles opposite Branagh, who was seen arriving at Cape Town International Airport a week ago.

Schamberger, who has worked on some of the biggest recent films and series to be shot in South Africa, said John Kani, Tumisho Masha and Deon Lotz would have “cameo roles”.

Mbuli, who is well-known to South African viewers from her work in local dramas such as SABC1’s 'Home Affairs' and e.tv’s crime series 'Traffic!', will play a policewoman who “gives the troubled visitor (Branagh) a new perspective on his own life”, wrote Schamberger.

Speaking to e.tv last year, Mbuli said she wanted to learn as much as she could from the British actor, who she described as “one of the greatest actors of our age”.

It is not yet known what role Tsipa, also a cast member of 'Traffic!', will play. Schamberger, who described the young actor as a “relative newcomer to the screen”, said it would be “challenging and emotional”.

'The White Lioness' will be the first episode in the fourth and final season of the crime-drama series, which is based on author Henning Mankell’s popular Wallander novels. The episode has been adapted for the small screen from Mankell’s third novel, in which a perplexing Swedish murder leads Wallander all the way south to sunny South Africa, where a famous politician is at risk of being assassinated.

According to production company Left Bank Pictures, the final season will contain three episodes. After Cape Town, production will move to Sweden and Denmark.

Last year was a stellar year for Cape Town’s film industry, with high-profile productions such as Showtime’s CIA thriller 'Homeland' choosing to shoot in the Mother City. While 'Homeland' has been renewed for a fifth season, it is not yet known where filming will be located.

Other series set to film in the city this year include the third season of the pirate adventure series 'Black Sails' and the second season of the post-apocalyptic sci-fi series 'Dominion'.

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