Ageing but unbeaten, Bones tries unsuccessfully to pass on his wisdom to Mathambo, his short, tubby, incompetent, but at-heart honest and independent son. At the same time, two unscrupulous oil diggers are trying to steal the treasures of Kuvukiland. A very funny story about courage and filial confusion.
(Flashback:) Sixty years ago, in an obscure corner of Africa called Kuvukiland, the only survivor of a light aircraft crash is a baby boy.
Perhaps it was the miracle of his survival which gave him the gift of “sight”, and he became the sangoma, the seer of the Kuvuki tribe, interpreting the wishes of The Great One through the throwing of the bones. Hence his name – Bones, Mr. Bones.
Today, at an advanced age but still fit in mind and body, his mission is to pass on his wisdom to his son, Mathambo, and guide him into manhood, a mission doomed because of both of their obsessive personalities.
Our story began at the turn of the last century, when we witness (flashback) the burying of the Kruger millions by two Boer soldiers, who then kill each other through idiotic greed, leaving the Kruger millions hidden in a graveyard in Kuvukiland.
Back to the present. Where a scrawny Indian businessman named Alvin and his Texan engineer partner named Jack, with their beautiful guide, Gabrielle are preparing to mine for oil in pristine Kuvukiland and leave it an oily wasteland.
But back to the heart of our story… Bones believes that he wants his son to carry Bones’ mantle, but what Bones actually wants, but cannot acknowledge, is for Mathambo to be a younger version of himself. And Mathambo basically wants to be an older version of himself, not a younger version of his father. A relationship fraught with conflict and with heart, two of the cornerstones of comedy.
Mathambo is also short and fat and hopeless at anything physical. For example: Bones, for the umpteenth time, is trying to teach Mathambo how to shoot a bow and arrow. “Slowly… put the arrow onto the string… pull it back…. past your ear… let it go!” And Mathambo releases the wrong hand and the bow hits him SMACK in his face!
It is an endless circle - Mathambo messes up, Bones is enraged, Mathambo is devastated, desperate to please his Dad and try again, Bones heart goes out to his beloved boy and around it goes again, with Mathambo’s physical incompetence providing great slapstick comedy opportunities. Like when Bones teaches Mathambo to catch a fish with his hands, but Mathambo forgets to breathe and nearly drowns. Or when Mathambo is helping build the King’s new house and his blundering enthusiasm turns it to dust.
It’s not only Mathambo who is on the receiving end. When Bones is asleep, mischievous Mathambo smears bird poo on Bones’ moustache. When Bones wakes up he is convinced that everything in the world suddenly smells of bird poo, and nobody else can smell it. They all think he’s gone crazy!
To get Mathambo back, Bones hooks goat intestines into Mathambo’s pants while he is asleep. Mathambo runs screaming through the village believing that it is his “colossus” dragging behind!
Throughout all of this, the baddies are pursuing their evil purpose. In a bid to get suck up to Bones, Alvin challenges Bones to a game of gwarra-gwarra, the Kuvuki version of golf. And Bones does some peculiarly Kuvuki cheating, like getting a baboon to steal Alvin’s golf ball.
And poor Mathambo steals Bones’ love muthi in a bid to win the love of the exotic Gabriella. But when he blows the dart he misses her, hitting the baddie Alvin, who falls in love with Mathambo, leaping into an erotic Bollywood dance with all the Kuvukis dancing along. Mathambo misses again, hitting Bones, who falls in love with the ogre of the village and confides in her the deepest darkest Kuvuki secret – the location of the Kruger millions.
In the morning, Bones discovers that Mathambo stole and used his precious love potion, and Bones disowns his son! Tragedy!
The hugely slapstick climax of the film sees Jack and Alvin trying to steal the Kruger millions from the graveyard, while Bones and Mathambo, finally working together, terrify the Westerners witless, pretending to be the souls of the dead. But then the real ghost of the a Boer war soldier appears, sending everybody from both sides running screaming!
And Bones and Mathambo? Well, Mathambo has one last go at shooting Gabrielle with a love dart… Which takes an unexpected change of direction in mid-air… And it hits a very plain Kuvuki girl named Amina, and for Mathambo she is Cinderella.
Bones realises that Mathambo can only be his own man, whom he was always meant to be, and very different from his father. Mathambo, his bride and their friends screech with laughter watching YouTube, where a magician is pulling a beer bottle from someone’s ear, the cell phone being the only remnant of their contact with the outside world.
When Leon got this notion that he’d like to make a third and last Mr Bones it seemed like a damn fine plan to me. Leon’s comedy brain immediately leaped into action, revolving around wild and way out antics in the Kuvuki wilderness. While my brain started searching for a good story to hang it on. Then Leon said “What’s Shorty’s role?” And it all fell into place.
The country has been waiting to see Alfred in a leading role and the young man rose to the occasion like a giant. The father-son relationship is a classic and it worked beautifully – the ageing father wanting his son to become a clone of himself while the son wants to find himself, by himself. And love conquers all, helped along by necessity.
Add into the mix a couple of urban baddies, an outsider named Mamba ad a couple of interesting maidens…
The cast just fell into place. The first actors we spotted and loved were available, and they grabbed the roles and made the characters their own.
Bones 3 is definitely a family movie. But I feel more and more that, it a kids’ movie, I think because it is a bit more over the top than usual, and I have pushed the performances and overall treatment right to the edge of reality. This was a definite decision, influenced by the character of Mathambo and Alfie’s performance, which steps flawlessly towards along that edge, reality on one side, cartoon on the other. And his performance is still totally believable. A beautiful piece of acting. I think this will resonate with the kids, and our early test screenings confirm it.
Leon and Alfie as a team? Brilliant!
And Bones 3 twenty years after Bones 1? I think it’s beautiful! And classic. And funny! But then I would, wouldn’t I?
MR. BONES - Leon Schuster (Mr Bones, Mr Bones 2, Mad Buddies, Mama Jack, Frank and Fearless, Panic Mechanic, Oh Schuks franchise, Millennium Menace)
After a lifetime of serving his people and The Great One, Mr. Bones is set in his ways. His purpose is to pass on to his legacy to his son Mathambo. But, to Bones’ paternal displeasure, the young man is very happy the way he is and it is this classic father/son relationship which gives our story its heart.
“This is the same Mr Bones we have grown to love, with an edge of ageing crankiness from Leon Schuster that is a lot of fun”- Gray Hofmeyr, Director.
MATHAMBO - Alfred “Shorty” Ntombela (African Express, Mad Buddies, Mama Jack, Mr Bones, Mr Bones 2, Copposites, Alec to the Rescue, Diamonds High)
Mathambo (bones in Kuvuki) is Bones’ son, in his twenties, single, and very keen to change that status. He tries his best to please his father but he is just not cut out for responsibility or manly sporting prowess. In fact, on most levels he is an accident waiting to happen.
Add to that his instant love for a beautiful female game ranger and we have an intriguing, relatable and very funny human story. And does the young man grow up? Yes, he pretty much does, with the help of a ghost who has been hanging around Kuvukiland since the boer war.
“Alfred Ntombela is brilliant in the role, believable, beloved and very funny. Watch this space!” - Gray Hofmeyr, Director.
MAMBA - Tumi Murake (Comedians of the World, Seriously Single, 3 Days to go, Slay, Skin)
Mamba is one of the few Kuvukis who travels outside of Kuvukiland. She is also an entrepreneur, cynic, crook and utterly charming. She and Bones have a past with each other, which is hinted at, but never disclosed. It is Mamba who sells out her people to the illegal oil drillers. She can also handle herself in a physical brawl.
“Tumi Morake is a South African legend with millions of social media followers. She is a fine actress, brilliant in the diverse, inscrutable and very physical role of Mamba. Truly a gem” - Gray Hofmeyr, Director.
JACK - Daniel Janks (Bram Fischer, A World Away, Boy Meets World, Prometheus, The Tribe)
Jack sees himself as the archetypal tough Texas cowboy, but he is probably originally from Benoni. What he definitely is, is big, unpleasant and unscrupulous. He has a licence to drill for oil in Kuvukiland.
“Daniel Janks acts in almost every foreign film shot in South Africa, frequently playing sinister characters, although he is less known to the south African public. This film shows a side of his abilities not normally seen, culminating in Jack being chased by a spook as he runs and shrieks like a baby”- Gray Hofmeyr, Director.
ALVIN - Sans Moonsammy (Red Room, Durban Poison, Blitzpatrollie)
Alvin is the man who “arranged” the oil drilling contact with the Department of Mineral Affairs though some un-named community connections. He is garrulous in the extreme and, in his own mind, dresses at the cutting edge of trendy. He gets hit by a love dart and falls in love with Mathambo, leaping into a wild and hysterical Bollywood-esque song and dance that is a highlight of the movie.
“Sans Moonsammy is a successful writer and producer for film and television. And a very fine comedy actor.”- Gray Hofmeyr, Director.
GABRIELLE - Jay Anstey (Catch a Fire, Inescapable, The Last Days of American Crime, Friend Request, Farewell Ella Bella, Two Worlds, Leading Lady)
Gabrielle is a professional game ranger employed by Jack and Alvin as their guide as they recce Kuvukiland and its surrounds. She is beautiful, good at her work, but naïve about the ways of the world and the desires of the male species. As she discovers the unscrupulous oil drilling intent of her employers, she is thrown into turmoil. Not to mention by the love struck attentions of young Mathambo.
“Jay Anstey is a respected actress known primarily for her serious and more arty roles. This is a rare and successful diversion for her into world of Schuster slapstick, intended primarily for kids and family”- Gray Hofmeyr, Director.
AMINA - Sthandile Nkosi (Dead Places, Vula Vala, Suga)
Shy, self-effacing and a bit of a tom-boy, fearless. Her job is to look after the King. She is our Cinderella – unnoticed by Mathambo until the very end, when Gabrielle gives her a makeover and she knocks Mathambo out with her beauty and personality.
“Sthandile Nkosi is a fast rising star in the world of South African acting and social media. A young actress to keep an eye on”- Gray Hofmeyr, Director.
THE KING - Jerry Mofokeng (The Forgotten Kingdom, Mandela and De Klerk, Fanie Fourie’s Lobola, Cry The Beloved Country, Tsotsi, Hard to Get, Mama Jack, Five Fingers for Marseilles).
The belligerent, accident prone King of Kuvukiland.
“It is remarkable that Jerry Mofokeng survived this acting experience. Apart from being one of South Africa’s best known serious actors, he is a trooper of note. This role frequently finding him flying, falling, drowning, colliding or hanging upside down”- Gray Hofmeyr, Director.