The much-hyped movie version of the comic Gringo television drama series, “Gringo Troublemaker”, is set to hit the big screens in February. The drama series dominated the Zimbabwean television screens in the late 1990s, into the early 2000s. The director of the movie, Ben Mahaka, confirmed the development and promised the nation a hit.
“We are aiming for next month for the release of the movie, everything else has been done except confirming the venue for the premiere and release dates with cinema owners,” said Mahaka.
“We are all burning the midnight oil and airtime to get it out there and I am sure the nation will enjoy it in the same way as they enjoyed the drama series.”
“Gringo Troublemaker” is about John, an ambitious young man who, in his quest to please his girlfriend, unwittingly gets mixed up with Gringo. John, who goes out of his way to please his girlfriend, Mary, engages a traditional healer to help him get rich. Things go wrong for him when he accidentally meets Gringo, who tampers with the sangoma’s muti. The man lives to regret the day he met his enigma, Gringo.
Almost every character in the movie meets through this unfortunate set of circumstances. Mahaka said the title of the movie was chosen by Enock Chihombori, the brains behind the project who felt that it is appropriate since every Gringo storyline is premised on troublemaking.
The movie does not conform to the somewhat rule of law in movie-making, that a usual movie runs for at least 90 minutes, “Gringo Troublemaker” runs for almost 120 minutes.
“The movie runs for 1 hour 54 minutes and I feel that it’s a little bit too long, but the plots are so well integrated that we found it difficult to trim it any more than we did without feeling like we were taking a hatchet to a beautiful piece of work,” explained Mahaka.
Why not a continuation of the drama series, one may wonder?
“We wanted to grow the Gringo brand because it has so much potential for growth. Chihombori and his original cast have nurtured it well over the years on the small screen, and it was ripe for the jump to the big screen and all the benefits that it avails,” Mahaka said. Like any other film production in the country, the production of “Gringo Troublemaker” took longer than the producers had anticipated due to a number of hiccups.
“We shot everything in nine days in January last year and we anticipated finishing post-production around April and launching it around mid-year, but some people were not happy with the results and so we decided to make that process hands-on and that slowed us down,” explained Mahaka.
“However, we were also not willing to rush the process. The script had been around for seven years, so it could survive a few more months waiting for the process to be done right.”
“Gringo Troublemaker” has only two surviving members from the original Gringo cast which are Lazarus Boora (Gringo) and William Matenga (Gweshegweshe), following the tragic deaths of talented actors such as Collen Dube (John Banda) and Stembeni Makawa (Mai Gweshegweshe).
Mahaka explained that the storyline does not mindlessly follow the drama series, such that old fans will find some nice surprises in the story.
The John character is played by Tapiwa Mavindidze, the hilarious n’anga is Chati Batao, the role of Mary is played by Evangelista Mwatse and Chipo the maid is played by Agnes Trigy. Asked how they are going to tackle piracy, Mahaka said they will take to task anyone found wanting.
“We are very mindful of the problem of pirating and we will vigorously pursue anyone who steals our intellectual property, even if it’s Joe Average selling pirated DVDs,” reiterated Mahaka. Mwatse, who plays the role of John’s pompous girlfriend, Mary, is excited that the movie is finally being launched and she described her role in the movie as a great experience.
“It was an honour and great experience for me to be part of the cast of the film which looks into the humourous everyday life,” said Mwatse.
“The idea of working with Gringo and Mbudziyadhura made me want to be part of it as I had to contain my laughter all the time. I am excited that it’s finally coming out after the long wait.”
Source: The Sunday Mail