“An epic adventure between an old man and a loveable young boy, with a captivating storyline and the cutest baby rhino that will make you want to laugh and cry. It is a kickass visual comedy about villains that get outsmarted in the African bush. Come and experience this unforgettable journey on the big screen and don’t forget your tissues!”, says funnyman, Leon Schuster, about his latest quirky comedy, FRANK & FEARLESS, of which the trailer has just been released. The film officially opens at cinemas nationwide on November 23rd, 2018.
Set in Africa, this hilarious movie takes you on the thrilling adventure of four loveable characters in the African bush. Insecure railway chef, Sonny Frank (Leon Schuster), and a ten year old rural boy, Fearless (Themba Ntuli), set out to kidnap the ambassador of a South-East Asian country in an attempt to stop rhino slaughtering. They are joined on this mission by two four-legged friends; Reini, a baby rhino whose mother was killed by poachers and Fearless’ big and faithful black dog called Dog. When things go terribly wrong, they have no choice but to take on a platoon of merciless poachers, who are led by the terrifying ranger turned poacher, Dolf (Kenneth Nkosi), with whom Sonny has a past.
Written by Gray Hofmeyr, Leon Schuster and Geoff Newton, the motion picture was created by a dynamic team of experts, with acclaimed filmmaker Gray Hofmeyr (Jock of the Bushveld, Sweet and Short, There’s a Zulu On My Stoep) as director and André Scholtz and Menzi Thabede as producers. Schuster is absolutely brilliant in the lead role of this captivating and emotional story, which is unlike anything else previously produced by this legendary entertainer whose films, like Mr Bones and Mad Buddies, are some of the highest-grossing local productions with impressive international sales.
FRANK & FEARLESS promises some incredibly funny laughs combined with a powerful message and some heartfelt personal revelations that will keep audiences captivated until the credits start rolling. Aside from brilliant cinematography, the movie also boasts high-tech 3D animation (Luma Creative Studio), animatronics (DreamSmith) and special effects (Refinery), and the best experts were called in to make the film as authentic as possible.
“I became involved after being approached by a promotions company and have not looked back since. Hopefully, the film will make viewers aware of how critical this situation is and make them realise the emotional impact it has on those who have to see the effects of rhino poaching on a daily basis,” shares The Rhino Pride Foundation’s, Dr Jana Pretorius.
The star-studded cast, which includes Kenneth Nkosi (Tsotsi), Khanyi Mbau (Happiness is a Four Letter Word), Jennifer Steyn (Goodbye Bafana, Madam and Eve) and David Dennis (Soul City), are also praised for their outstanding performances in this heartwarming movie.
The film, which will be released in local cinemas on 23 November 2018, was produced by Thabede Menzi Films, Schus Productions & Dapple Films, in association with M-Net, Film Chrome, SANParks, The Department of Environmental Affairs, the IDC and the DTI and will be distributed by Filmfinity (Pty) Ltd.
CHARACTERS & CAST
Sonny Frank (Leon Schuster)
A fanatical chef, ageing reprobate and collector of wild indigenous herbs and spices. When we first meet Sonny, he is being fired for fighting with a passenger on the high-class tourist train where he works as a chef. He teams up with Fearless to get a free ride to Pretoria for a job interview, while pretending, even to himself, that he is doing it to support Fearless in his bid to save the rhinos. Sonny’s journey is to acknowledge to himself that he is a fraud and to take responsibility for his actions, thereby becoming quite a nice guy.
Leon Schuster began working for the South African Broadcasting Corporation. During his time at the SABC, he created the Afrikaans radio series, Vrypostige Mikrofoon with Fanus Rautenbach – which involved disguising his voice and playing phone pranks on unsuspecting victims.
In 1982, he was approached by Decibel Records to compile a series of sports songs and his first record, Leon Schuster, sold 10 000 units. His second album, Broekskeur, sold more than 40 000 units and was followed by Briekdans and Leon Schuster – 20 Treffers, which sold more than 270 000 copies.
His hit CD Hier Kom Die Bokke garnered an FNB Sama Music Award for Biggest Selling CD of 1995. His following CD, Gatvol in Paradise, sold more than 125 000 units and gave rise to the unofficial Gauteng anthem, Gautengeling.
Schuster’s first feature, You Must Be Joking!, produced in collaboration with Johan Scholtz and Elmo de Witt, became popular with South African audiences and gave rise to the sequel You Must be Joking! Too. These films were candid camera sketches and Schuster made many more of these as well as other slap-stick films, including Mr Bones, his most successful film, which earned more than R33-million at the South African box office.
In 2012, Leon starred opposite funny man Kenneth Nkosi in Mad Buddies and the film was very successful at the South African Box office.
Schuster is well-respected and admired in South Africa. Some even dub him as the best comedian South Africa has produced. He was rated at number #3 in SABC’s greatest South Africans poll for his comedic work and creating a new South Africa.
Leon’s impressive film resume includes You Must Be Joking!, You Must Be Joking! Too, Oh Schucks… It’s Schuster!, Oh Schucks! Here Comes UNTAG, Sweet ‘n Short, Yankee Zulu, Panic Mechanic, Millennium Menace, Mr Bones, Oh Schucks… I’m Gatvol, Mama Jack, Mr Bones 2: Back from the Past, Schucks Tshabalala’s Survival Guide to South Africa, Mad Buddies, Schucks! Your Country Needs You, and Schucks! Pay Back the Money.
His discography is equally impressive – since 1982, he has released 20 albums, including Hie’ Kommie Bokke, Catchup Song And Every Cricket Hit, Op Dun Eish and Dra Die Bok.
Fearless (Themba Ntuli)
Fearless is twelve-year-old rural African boy who is afraid of his own shadow. He was given his name in a failed bid by his mother to change his personality. His best friends are his big black dog, Dog, and an orphaned baby rhino, who inspires him to embark on a mission totally at odds with his character. His hopeful naivety leads him to trust the unreliable Sonny and the ensuing disaster almost leads him to his death. But, with the help of Dog he finds his inner courage and, through his passion for the rhinos, becomes an inspiration and example to the children of the world.
Themba Ntuli is an aspirant filmmaker, actor, writer, director and concept /story developer. He is also a motivational speaker and youth leader. Described as a go getter and a lover of life, Themba’s working career spans more than a decade in the film industry – he has worked on a number of local and international productions such as Rhythm City, Soul BuddyZ, Mampara, Meerkat Maantuig, Ntunjambili, The Last Face, Young Leonardo, The Legend of Black Snake, Mad Dogs, Resident Evil, and more.
Inspired by his calling, he created #ThembaTalksMIND, a brand that focuses on reintroducing and further establishing the Christian faith, good morals, values and living in hope for young people around the world by means of multimedia and entertainment, motivational speaking tours and missions in Africa and around the world.
Dolf (Kenneth Nkosi)
Head ranger of a huge and prestigious wildlife sanctuary, Dolf is sarcastic, two-faced, arrogant and cruel. In short, he is a very bad man.
Kenneth Nkosi is a well-respected, award-winning South African actor. He trained at the Market Theatre laboratory and has appeared in numerous plays at the Market Theatre, Civic Theatre and the Windybrow Theatre.
Kenneth also acted in the highly acclaimed theatrical productions The Graduate, Best Wedding Ever and Monk. In addition, he has appeared in numerous successful TV Shows, including Isidingo, The Toasty Show, Kenny Makenzo and Mzee wa 26.
The talented actor has also donned the hat of filmmaker and has produced movies such as White Wedding, Paradise Stop, Task Force, Perfect Sishebo and Laugh Out Loud. Add to this his scriptwriting ability, which he showcased in Paradise Stop and Hard To Get, and it’s easy to see why his talents are in such high demand.
That said, Kenneth is best known for his charismatic and larger than life roles in the blockbuster movies Tsotsi, Jerusalema, Skeem, Mad Buddies, Nothing For Mahala, Ayanda, Hatchet Hour, Five Fingers For Marseilles, District 9 and Otela.
Beauty (Khanyi Mbau)
Working as a junior ranger under Dolf, Beauty is insecure, easily led, partially sighted and pretty. Her journey is to believe in herself, stand up to her boss, and escape a path to failure, criminality and ultimately, jail.
Raised in a family that celebrated arts, Khanyi Mbau was destined for a career in the arts. She landed her first television role at the age of 8 and presented a children’s fitness show at the age of 12. With the demands of school, she then had to focus on her education.
In 2004 she landed a role on the popular drama series Soul City as Katlego. After the tragic shooting of Lindiwe Cibi, she took on the biggest role of her career, playing the troubled villain, Doobsie, on Muvhango. With her personal life taking the lead, she then met Mandla Mthembu and became the tabloid queen, which signalled the start of a dark period in her life.
Khanyi’s other screen credits include roles in Mzansi and After 9. She was a guest judge on Turn It Out, starred in Ekasi: Our Stories, featured in the documentary I Am and portrayed Sindisiwe Sibeko in the mini-series Like Father Like Son. In 2013 she featured in the docu-reality television series Reality Check, and began hosting her own talk show, Katch It With Khanyi, for which she received a SAFTA nomination. In 2014, she featured in the seventh season of Strictly Come Dancing South Africa.
She made a comeback in 2016, with her first feature film Happiness is a Four-Letter Word, breaking box office records. The film also landed her the Best Supporting Actress nomination for the 2017 Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards. She then joined the cast of Umlilo as a razor sharp public prosecutor and woman of strong principles.
Ruby (Jennifer Steyn)
Ruby is middle-aged American beauty who has a history with Sonny. Why she has a soft spot for the ageing reprobate no-one knows.
Jennifer Steyn is a South African actress and director best known for her starring television roles in Madam & Eve, Jacob’s Cross, Fallen and Abo Mzala. Other television series she has acted in include Shado’s, Shooting Stars, Sorted, Zero Tolerance, End of the Road, Onder Draai die Duiwel Rond, Soul Buddyz, Jozi Streets, Charlie Jade, Home Affairs, Justice for All, Jozi-H, The Human Family, The Principal, The Big Time, Clean Hands and Natural Rhythm.
Jennifer also has an extensive film resumé, having appeared in Cry the Beloved Country, Master Harold and the Boys, Gums and Noses, Goodbye Bafana, Red Dust, The Lovers, Merlin: The Return, Glory Glory, Pure Blood, Borderline, Duma, Free Fall, Windprints, Zimbabwe, Night Drive and Black Butterflies, among others.
Some of her theatre highlights include roles in Macbeth, The Dark Outsider, Old Boy’s, Green Man Flashing, Molly Bloom, The Show – a live performance collaboration between Jennifer and dance guru Tossie van Tonder, A Dolls House, The Milktrain doesn’t stop here anymore, and The Inconvenience of Wings.
In 2015, Jennifer participated in the development of two new South African plays – Chien et Loup by Clare Stopford and Florence by Myer Taub. In the same year, she also directed Tossie Van Tonder in Cathonia for Dance Umbrella.
Over the past 15 years she has shared her craft, teaching voice and performance, in a private capacity and as consultant for various institutions in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Jennifer is also a respected dialogue coach and facilitator of text development.
Gogo (Mary Twala)
Fearless’s devoted, lusty, crazy, village mother.
Mary Twala has had an extensive career as an actress, performing in roles in film, television and theatre.
Her film career includes such films as He Who is Without Sin, The Dark Tower, Vaya, Beyond the River, Leading Lady, Sarafina!, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, A Love in Africa, Malunde, Dr Lucille, Deliwe, Friends, Game for Vultures, Taxi to Soweto, Waati, Science Classic and Score.
Her television career is equally impressive, and includes performances in productions such as Ambitions, The Imposter, Scandal, Hopeville, Dream Hotel, Rooibos with Milk, The Calling, Hard Copy, Home Affairs and Soul Buddyz.
During her long career, she has won a number of awards, including a Golden Horn for Best Actress in a TV Comedy for Skwizas, Best Actress in a Comedy for Undenzani, Best Supporting Actress for Taxi to Soweto, and the PAWE Veteran Recognition Award.
The film boasts fabulous cameos by Alfred Nthombela, David Dennis, Annabel Linder, Camilla Waldren, Tiro Venter, Coco Merckel, Shelly Meskin, Reggie Ndlovu and Tebogo Selebogo.
Fearless’s large, black, long-suffering and devoted canine and second-in-command. After all, someone has to keep Sonny Frank in line.
Adam, or as his owner Julie Bezuidenhout lovingly calls him, Addy Waddy, was born in 2013. Julie knew from the start that Adam was destined for greatness and, after learning to socialise for the first year of his life, Adam went on to do television commercials and series. He trained for an additional 10 months to perfect the commands for his role as Dog in Frank & Fearless.
Adam, who lives in Johannesburg, is the perfect family dog, adores children and people, and loves to show off and make people happy. His all-time favourite thing, however, is food! He shares his home with six Rottweiler buddies, two cats, a Yorkshire Terrier and a Dachshund.
Reini (Animated Rhino)
Along with Dog, this charming, tragic and beloved orphaned baby rhino is Fearless’s closest friend.
Paul Meyer, founding member and CEO of Luma Creative Studio, created Reini and supervised all CGI animation featuring rhinos in the film. Having a fully animated and entirely CGI main character for significant parts of the film is a first for the South African film industry.
Being trusted to bring Reini to life is a dream come true for this internationally acclaimed, award-winning digital content creation studio.
Under Paul’s leadership, Luma has produced VFX for ABC (Disney) and Video Game Products for Microsoft.
Their internally developed animated series, Bun & Bunee, has been sold to Disney XD Latin America & Japan amongst others and was shortlisted as a finalist in the Best Animated Series Family Category of the KidScreen Awards in 2011. In the game development space Luma has produced high end games for iPhone, iPad, Web, PC, Mac, and various Mobile platforms.
Jaco Snyman has been in the film industry for nearly 20 years and has worked on over 60 feature films,
including Mad Max – Fury Road, District 9 and Dark Tower, among others. In 2016 he won a Guild Award for his work on Mad Max – Fury Road, while the collective hair and make-up team won both an Oscar and BAFTA for their work on the film.
Jaco founded DreamSmith, a prosthetic make-up company based in Johannesburg, in 2013. The DreamSmith team designed, sculpted and moulded Reini, an animatronic puppet, into an adorable and functional baby rhino for FRANK & FEARLESS. They also collaborated with the VFX team in bringing Reini to life, ensuring a homogenised performance and end result on screen.
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