Arts and culture

South African director to helm Hollywood action film

8 March 2016

Director and writer Donovan Marsh, responsible for bringing South Africa's favourite schoolboy to life on the big screen in the first two Spud films, has been chosen to direct his first Hollywood film, Hunter Killer, starring legendary character actor Gary Oldman and action movie hero Gerard Butler.

Marsh is a fixture in the South African film, television and media industry, having directed a number of commercials and television productions, including the Class Act acting reality show. Feature films, though, are his first love and where he has gained his most success. His first film, the Safta-winning Dollars and White Pipes, was an action-packed South African gangster drama. It gained a cult following in South Africa.

He also directed and scripted the first two Spud films, bringing John Milton, the lovable but awkward hero of John van der Ruit's popular book series, to wider local and international audiences.

Marsh's greatest international triumph so far, however, has been as director and writer of the critically acclaimed action drama iNumber Number, which earned selection for the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. It was also an audience favourite at the official Quentin Tarantino Film Festival. He won a Best Screenplay Award for the film at the 2013 Africa International Film Festival in Lagos, Nigeria. The film also won Best Director, Best Writer and Best Editing at the South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas).

And now Hollywood has come calling, selecting Marsh to direct Butler and Oldman in an action thriller about an American submarine commander sent deep into Russian waters to save the elected Russian president in the midst of a military coup. The film begins shooting in London in July 2016.

Marsh follows other prominent South African directors working in international mainstream cinema, including Gavin Hood (Tsotsi, Wolverine), Neil Blomkamp (District 9, Chappie) and Jann Turner (TV's Castle, Teen Wolf).

Speaking to the Screen Africa website in 2013, Marsh explained what inspired him as a director.

"I am inspired by filmmakers who are always fully aware and respectful of their audience and do everything in their power, in every second and in every frame, to entertain, surprise, move and finally comment on the nature of humanity. Good solid thinking also inspires me. The world is in sore need of powerful thinkers."

A fan of directors such as Martin Scorsese, Tarantino and the Coen brothers, Marsh wants to create films that have both good action and real character development. His new opportunity working in international cinema will, no doubt, give him the chance to use that talent to tell more South African stories to the world.

Source: Deadline (USA)

Donovan Marsh director Donovan marsh, inumber number, spud, hunter killer, gary Oldman, Gerard 
butler, hollywoodDonovan Marsh, director of films such as Spud, iNumber Number and Dollars and White Pipes has been selected to direct his next film in London with actor Gary Oldman, it is announced on 3 March 2016. (Image: Donovan Marsh, Twitter)

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