We had Morgan Freeman act Nelson Mandela, Forest Whitaker act Idi Amin, Don Cheadle, as the star of the famous Hotel Rwanda, Whoopie Goldberg in Sarafina. Kenya will also be having Jim Iyke starring in a movie based on a popular novel, ‘My life in Crime’…okay he is not so foreign but still, he is not Kenyan…
Last year, the American writer and Film maker Dwayne Johnson-Cochran was in Kenya for the Script power seminar and he shared that in reality, there is a bias for African stories that have a foreign element (i.e. a famous actor from Hollywood) as this tends to make them more relatable to a global audience….
Is there an African actor who has been called upon to star, and not only star but be the lead star in a Hollywood story? And why not?
Nelson Mandela is undoubtedly one of the greatest icons Africa has, his story happened in Africa , from start to finish… is it in any way possible that there is not a single African who could have acted his role? And if the answer is that there is one, why not use them?
At the end of the day , the creative industries are businesses, and as for any business, profit is the ultimate goal; of course a name like Morgan Freeman will grab headlines, he is recognizable and more importantly he is a bankable investment…so it might be a wise investment
Pretty woman, a popular movie in the 90s cost about 23 million dollars to make and it went on to gross about 463 million dollars; Julia Roberts was the star, now if I was to make a movie based on the colonial era for example and make Julia Roberts a star in the movie…well one can only dream the number of zeroes (although sometimes it doesn’t work, no matter who you use)
So is the foreign factor, a wise economic decision? Or is it a way to demean or rather belittle the stars and talent we have right here in Africa? …can we make stars that can match and outperform the Morgan Freemans? And not only in talent, but in marketability as well
wouldn’t we much rather see an African act Nelson Mandela? I would.
Compiled by Christine Mwai