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Saturday, November 22, 2014


(Detail from the poster)

While some teens gracefully walk through adolescence Spud Milton diabolically staggers. South Africa's best-loved teen is back and this time there's no end to the madness he and his friends conjure.

The much-awaited Spud 3 Learning To Fly is due to hit South African cinemas on November 28, 2014, and promises to give viewers front row seats into the sublime and sometimes ridiculous world of being a teenager.

Following the huge, global success of Spud and Spud 2 – The Madness Continues, Spud 3 trails the never dull life of John 'Spud' Milton, as he tries (dismally) to soar on the wings of love, attempts to master Shakespeare, and wrestles constantly with his mates ‘the Crazy 8’, his embarrassing parents, God and the power of negative thinking, not necessarily in that order.

Produced by Ross Garland of Rogue Star Films, in association with Times Media Films and The National Film and Video Foundation, Spud 3 is a South African film to the core. Not only was it shot in the heart of Cape Town but it also boasts the biggest collection of local and international stars.

Based on the best-selling novel by Durban-born novelist, actor, playwright and producer John van de Ruit and directed by John Barker, the movie sees most of the original cast return, headed up by film and television legend John Cleese.

Troye Sivan reprises his role as 'Spud'. Sivan hails from South Africa and has starred as Spud in all three motion pictures. A household name, he currently has over 2.7 million subscribers to his YouTube channel and just under two million twitter followers. With his number one hit song 'Happy Little Pill' and debut EP Tryxye, Troye not only has big screen stardom pegged but pop super stardom, too. Billboard just ranked Troye alongside Justin Bieber and Lorde in their list of Music’s Hottest 21 Stars under the age of 21.

World famous South African YouTuber Caspar Lee makes his screen debut in the role of garrulous 'Garlic' from Malawi. Sivan and Lee are joined by rising young acting stars Sven Ruygrok (Rambo) and Alex McGregor (Christine), UCT business science student Thomas Burne (Vern), cricket star and part-time model Byron Langley (Simon), Johannesburg's Travis Hornsby (Boggo), Durban's Blessing Xaba (Fatty) and second-year varsity student Genna Blair (The Mermaid).

Two of South Africa’s most popular entertainers Aaron McIlroy and established actress of stage and screen Julie Summers play Spud’s dad and mom. Cinematographer Willie Nel joins the franchise for the first time, alongside 5FM DJ Jon Savage who composed the original music in the film. Popular tracks include Catch A Light by aKING, Suddenly by Touchwood, That Is Gube by Bongo Maffin and Tattoo by Desmond And The Tutus. Tsotsi alumnus and prolific editor Megan Gill returns to edit, while Times Media Films has acquired the distribution rights to release the film in South Africa.

“A lot of time and work went into ensuring that everything from the sets and wardrobe were adapted to be authentic for the 1992 setting of the story," says director John Barker, who also directed famed movies Bunny Chow and 31 Million Reasons. "The plot follows 16-year-old Spud as he returns to boarding school as a senior. Spud's hoping for a smooth year but instead, he discovers that his vindictive arch enemy is back to taunt him and that a talkative Malawian called Garlic has taken residence in his dormitory, along with the regular inmates and misfits he calls friends. Spud's world has never seemed less certain. I didn’t try to reinvent the wheel with Spud 3, as a strong aesthetic has already been established. As far as references go I looked at films that created a world through the eyes of a child or teenager."

Spud is the most successful and popular book in South African publishing history with over 200,000 copies sold, with an estimated readership of over 600,000, in South Africa alone. The book won the Booksellers’ Choice award 2006, and continues to break SA fiction publishing records. The record-breaking sequel Spud The Madness Continues, sold over 140,000 copies in South Africa to date, while the third instalment in the series, Spud Learning to Fly, sold 77,000 copies in SA in the first two weeks from the launch date. The fourth and final book in the series, Spud Exit Pursued By A Bear, hit the shelves in 2012.

The Spud movies have been just as successful as the books. Spud topped the South African box office during the 2010 Christmas holidays, beating Harry Potter and various other Hollywood blockbusters, and went on to become the sixth biggest performer for a local film at the all-time box office. Spud 2 was one of the big films of the winter school holidays in South Africa and has subsequently been released in Australia and New Zealand, and is now available on iTunes in major markets including the US and Canada. It's predicted Spud 3 will be just as successful.

Spud 3: Learning to fly releases at cinemas November 28 2014.