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South African Connection

November 16, 1986|Pat H. Broeske

Outtakes reported a few weeks ago that Cannon Films was shooting a small portion of "Ben, Bonzo and Big Bad Joe" (a.k.a. "My African Adventure") in South Africa, with black comic Jimmy Walker. That film is now shooting in Zimbabwe.

We heard that Cannon was again shooting in South Africa. Cannon co-chairman Menahem Golan responded to our query: "We've already talked about this--haven't we? I stand by what I said the first time."

A production rep in South Africa told us that Cannon's "American Ninja 2: Re-Creation" has gone into production in Johannesburg and Capetown, directed by Sam Firstenberg, starring Michael Dudikoff and black actor Steve James. That's also what a Cannon inner-office memo declares.

Golan said that some of the production also is filming on the African island nation of Mauritius.

Exec producer Avi Lerner, speaking from Johannesburg, said that Swaziland, which borders South Africa, will largely be the locale for "Freedom Fighters," to star Peter Fonda.

But, the Cannon memo lists South Africa as the site for that one, along with "Ali Baba" (to film in late 1987 or early 1988). There's no confusion over the financing of the aforementioned titles, which have South African investors.

"Again, I must tell you that I am in the entertainment business. I am not in the business of making politics," Golan said. "And I have no problem with using South African money--no problem. I understand your concerns, naturally. But let me tell you, we have black American actors working alongside black African actors in our movies. Working together.

"Listen, when the United States issues restrictions against dealing with South Africa, I will comply. I will have to comply. But for now, we make our movies the way we want. And, sometimes, we go where the financing is."

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