By Emma Kakololo
Producer Lance Samuels of the film ‘Generation Kill’, currently being shot at the coast, has strongly denied allegations of discriminating against Namibian extras working on the film.
In a letter addressed to this newspaper last week, Namibian extras claimed that they were tricked into shaving their heads completely bald in preparation for the movie, with promises of compensation of N$200 per day and an additional N$1 500 per week when called for work.
However, after they shaved their heads the amount was changed to only
N$200 per day, while South Africans were given N$380 per day and an extra N$1 000 per week regardless of whether they had worked or not.
Samuels at a press conference Monday shot down the allegations, claiming that all film extras irrespective of their nationality were each paid an amount of N$200 per day. He however differentiated between two groups of extras, the normal extras and featured extras, the latter being paid more because of their specialized training and talent.
“There are 19 featured extras from South Africa and they were recruited through an (extra) casting agency. We have to pay them more money than the normal extras for them to be able to pay the casting agency,” he stated.
He deduced that the bogus claims were being made by two brothers whom the company refused to reappoint because of their unrealistic demands. The Namibian extras apparently demanded more pay compared to what the others were getting.
“Two brothers from Windhoek have been working on the production and have agreed on a certain amount, but they wanted to be paid more … I told them they work on our conditions or leave. They even threatened to do something. The next, I see an article in the newspaper.”
According to Samuels, they have worked for years to bring the project to Africa and have done everything according to the guidelines set out by the Namibian Film Commission. The only time they have tested explosives was in the presence of the police, Walvis Bay Municipal Fire Department and officials from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, therefore allegations that damage was caused on the Welwitschia plants are unfounded, he said.
The letter by the Namibian extras alleges that explosives were tested at the Welwitschia plants without a permit.