It’s been a long time coming. Talks of the book about a boy’s journey through his first year at Boarding School being turned into a movie were almost instantaneous. Spud had begun to gather a cult following, smashing South African records, but it would be a few years before production on the movie could finally begin. After a six month country wide search for the main characters the movie began filming in March 2010 and it is now finally here.
Spud: The Movie follows John Milton, a first year at a private boarding school in the Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands. It’s about fitting in, girls and the harsh world of high school.
The movie is based on one of the most beloved South African books of all time, no matter how much thought goes into it; it’s not going to please everybody. There are moments were you will grin from ear to ear at the perfect way something was captured just as it was meant to be, and there will be moments were you will cringe in horror as something is done in the opposite way to what you imagined.
Donavan Marsh, director and screenplay writer, has focused the story on Spud, as it should be, but most of the crazy eight don’t get the opportunity to fully develop as characters. This is a painful necessity when turning a book into a movie. You simply don’t have time to develop all the characters. In a quest to squeeze as much of the book into the movie as possible one horrific change was made that may upset some, and had a journalist in the row behind me muttering about how that was never meant to happen. To fully enjoy this movie you’re going to have to see it as a separate entity from the book.
John van de Ruit, the book’s author, puts it perfectly, “…my advice is to forget about comparisons and relish the film for what it is: A beautifully shot but simply told story of a boy seeking acceptance from the mortifying chaos that surrounds him.”
Troye Sivan is simply astounding in this film. He tells an entire story with one look and masterfully stands his ground with John Cleese. I simply can not picture any better person for this role. It’s Troye’s likeability and the ease with which you empathise with him that holds the entire movie together.
John Cleese has never been seen like this. It’s a complete pleasure whenever he opens his mouth to sprawl out a ramble of insults, however his role is far more dramatic than expected and he executes it beautifully.
The backdrop of Michael House is nothing short of breath taking. Expertly captured, it seems to play a character itself, adding an authenticity to the film.
Although I found myself internally struggling not to judge the movie against its source material, overall I enjoyed it. I smiled, I laughed, and there were moments where my sinuses started acting up.
This movie is a must see, and may just have the potential for a stint overseas.
SynopsisIt's South Africa 1990. Two major events are about to happen: The release of Nelson Mandela and, more importantly, it's Spud Milton's first year at an elite boys only private boarding school.
Release DateDecember 3, 2010 (SA);
CastTroye Sivan is signed to play Spud. We broke the news first here. See his YouTube page here: youtube.com/TroyeSivan18
He recently played Young Logan (Hugh Jackman's character at 12 years old) in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. To top it off he's also an amazing singer.
John Cleese has signed on to play the guv.
Other cast members
Genna Blair: Mermaid
Charlbi Dean Kriek: Amanda
Alex McGregor: Christine
Sven Ruygrok: Rambo
Byron Langley: Simon
Thomas Burne: Vern
Josh Goddard: Mad Dog
Blessing Xaba: Fatty
Travis Hornsby: Boggo
Jamie Royal: Gecko
Aaron McIlroy: Spud's Father
Tanit Phoenix: Eve
Jason Cope: Sparerib
Jeremy Crutchley: The Glock
Chris Thomas: Smith