A few of the many South Africans that have undertaken the second Groot Trek down under would have been met with a pleasant – or unpleasant? – surprise if they took a walk down Pirie Street in Adelaide.
The makers of the forthcoming Escape from Pretoria have been hard at work turning this little corner of the Australian CBD into a faithful reproduction of 1978 Cape Town, South Africa.
Jenkin’s real-life prison break
The upcoming film with Daniel Radcliffe in the lead role is based on the life of Tim Jenkin, an anti-apartheid activist, who escaped from Pretoria central prison.
Jenkin’s autobiography Inside Out: Escape from Pretoria Prison is the inspiration for the screenplay and will tell the story of how Jenkin, Lee and Alex Moumbaris escaped the prison using nine wooden keys they cut to open 10 doors.
The film crew have gone to great lengths to recreate the Cape Town scene. CA number-plated cars line the streets with authentic coin-operated parking meters and shop facades.
Escape from Pretoria: attention to detail
The news stands are filled with the era-appropriate reading materials and the “white only” taxi can be seen at the location.
The film will star Daniel Radcliffe as Jenkin. Award-winning actor Sam Neill was cast as Denis Goldberg. The decision to film in Australia was taken due to administrative problems. Jenkin, now in his seventies, explains:
“They were going to [film in South Africa], but there were endless problems with the department of arts and culture. In the end, the producers got fed up and decided to go to Australia. It’s more expensive, but at least things happen there. It’s very sad, because it would have been great to have South African actors and genuine South African accents in the film.”
Watch: Pirie Street transformed into 1970s Cape Town
— ABC Adelaide (@abcadelaide) March 12, 2019
— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) March 13, 2019
— 7 News Adelaide (@7NewsAdelaide) March 7, 2019
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