SOUTH AFRICA: MICHAEL DOUGLAS, VAL KILMER AND JOHN KANI HOLD A NEWS CONFERENCE AS THEY BEGIN SHOOTING 'GHOST AND DARKNESS'Record ID: 386197
- Title: SOUTH AFRICA: MICHAEL DOUGLAS, VAL KILMER AND JOHN KANI HOLD A NEWS CONFERENCE AS THEY BEGIN SHOOTING 'GHOST AND DARKNESS'
- Date: 13th December 1995
- Summary: JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA, (DECEMBER 10, 1995) WIDE INTERIOR OF NEWS CONFERENCE VAL KILMER, MICHAEL DOUGLAS AND JOHN KANI SEATED FOR NEWS CONFERENCE KILMER SAYING "THE LIONS WERE REMARKABLY WITHOUT RACISM, THEY CHEWED ON EVERYONE, THEY ATE WHITE GUYS, RED GUYS, BLACK GUYS, BROWN GUYS. EVERYONE IS AFRAID WHEN THEY START KILLING".
- Reuters ID: LVADT0LWGGVC5E7PQJVA3EX2CELI
- Location: JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
- Country: South Africa
- Duration: 00:00:36
- Story Text: Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer are venturing into the dark recesses of Africa's savage past in their latest film that tells the true story of a small group of men who battled against two man eating Tsavo lions a hundred years ago.
The lions went on a rampage that killed 130 men and brought construction of the East African railway by the British at the turn of the century to a dead halt.
Nothing like this had ever happened before 1896 and has not happened since.
The story is narrated by "Samuel", played by local South African actor, John Kani who has won many awards for his work as actor/writer/director, including Broadway's Tony Award for Best Actor and the Taormina Golden Award at the Milan International Film Festival.
Val Kilmer plays a young Irish bridge-construction engineer who leads the team of men in the hunt for these two cunning beasts.
He is aided by an acclaimed wild game hunter, played by Michael Douglas, who sets out with him to kill these demons - but the lions have set their sights on the two men hunting them.
"The Ghost and the Darkness" is a thrilling tale of the hunt, that becomes a legend in itself and is still told by African tribes throughout the continent.
The title of the film is taken from the legend as the frightened locals gave the lions Swahili names that connected their specific colouring to spiritual recognition.
The lion whose main is tipped with white, was honoured as "Zimwi", which means "The Ghost" and the lion whose main is black, was reverentially referred to as "Giza", which means "The Darkness".
The working camp of labourers and engineers is alongside the Tsavo River where the last connecting bridge that will finsh the East African Railway must be built.
The name "Tsavo" means "place of slaughter" and this is exactly what takes place.
When Val Kilmer's character comes on the scene, as a bright young engineer and soldier who has served in India, his task is to complete the project which is now in jeopardy.
The expedition has been extremely expensive, in terms of both costs and lives lost, and the British parliament has begun to complain.
Although the railway was inspired by British desire to conquer the commerce of East africa and take control of the lucrative ivory trade, they were convinced they would be putting an end to the slave trade.
By now, the British public had begun to lose interest in the humanitarian aspects of the project and the railway company deparately needed the last bridge to be completed to justify the expedition Lt Col John Henry Patterson, (Val Kilmer), arrives to find an exhausted, sickly team who become terrorized by two male lions who are deadly in their shrewd teamwork and their cunning avoidance of capture which seems almost mystical.
For the British to complete the railway, the bridge must be completed and the lions must be killed so they bringone of the most experienced game hunters of the time, Remington (Michael Douglas).
Speaking at a press conference shortly after his arrival in Johannesburg, Douglas said he only appears towards the end of the film and it is actually Val Kilmer who carries the picture.
Michael Douglas is also one of the executive producers of the film, along with his partner Steven Reuther.
Douglas was very quick to emphasize the contribution the film is making to the local community in the area where it is being filmed. He cited the figure of 2500 local South Africans who were being employed in the course of the project and said almost 17 million dollars would be generated.
John Kani also emphasised the benefits of this kind of international project to the local film industry but added it was not a "one way stret" and those involved had much to learn from eachother.
Much of the film is being shot in the Songimvelo Game Reserve and stringent conditions have been agreed to for the rehabilitation of the location on completion of the project.
There is also a representative from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on set for the duration of the film.
Val Kilmer said he was attracted to the project by his love of Africa and has visited South Africa several times in the past 15 years.
He has been living on set with the lions and a handler and described the sound of the lions roaring at night as one of the most amazing experiences of his life.
Although the film is a story of Africa, made in Africa, the lions themselves are ironically not African at all.
Four have been brought over from the United States, two from Canada and two from France.
The film is directed by Stephen Hopkins from a screenplay by William Goldman, who earned Academy Awards for "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and "All the President's Men".
It is the first major Hollywood studio motion picture to film entirely in South Africa and will be released in the United States in the fall of next before being distributed worldwide.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2011. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Embargoed:28th December 1995 12:00
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None