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Schuks! Your Country Needs You

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Schuks (Leon Schuster) is amazed by everything going on in South Africa. The economy’s in the toilet, e-tolls are looming and politicians have their fingers in the till. What the country really needs is a good laugh!

Schuks teams up with long-time collaborator Shorty (Alfred Ntombela) to wreak some havoc on unsuspecting South Africans – no matter whether they’re famous or infamous. He hauls in his son, Wayne (Rob van Vuuren) to help get some pranks off the ground, supported by gorgeous young actress Sammy (Laré Birk).

The awesome foursome travel the country spreading mischief and mayhem in the quest to show South Africans the funny side of life in a country which knows better than most, how to laugh at itself.  blends the best of Leon Schuster’s famous candid camera gags with a bit of romance – and a lot of laughs!

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Disguising one of South Africa’s most famous faces is no easy task. Cape Town-based Cosmesis were tasked with producing prosthetics to disguise the identities of Leon Schuster, Rob van Vuuren and Alfred Ntombela during filming of gags for Schuks! Your Country Needs You.

The Cosmesis team produced 8 different characters for Leon, using silicone appliances for his nose, ears, under-eye area and cheeks to alter his appearance. These appliances were paired with wigs, false teeth, facial hair and body suits to transform him into an array of characters.

In Leon’s case, it was hugely a matter of changing the shape of his face by adding bulk in different areas, such as his jaw and cheeks, but mostly in trying to hide his eyes and lips which were always most recognisable. On days where the team used full masks (covering the entire face), they used a sort of “face lift”- an elastic with 2 stickers on each end – on his brows to widen his eyes under the prosthetic. This was aided with the use of coloured contact lenses or him wearing glasses. To hide his lips, the team had to either use lip appliances or full moustaches.

It took about 3 months to prepare and produce all the prosthetics required for the film. Cosmesis’ Cape Town studio was continuously casting and shipping appliances from during the time of shooting, up until a week before the end of the shoot. 

Leon Schuster has broken just about every box office record in South African history with his candid camera and slapstick comedies. Widely recognized as South Africa’s best-known comedy actor, Schuster is also the country’s undisputed number one box office star.

Box office records prove that Schuster’s distinctive brand of humour has an enduring appeal for millions of South Africans right across its cultural spectrum. Four of his films are positioned in the Top 10 SA Box Office Hits of all time, while another four round out the Top 20.

More than a performer and storyteller, Schuster’s powerful brand of comedy is virtually an institution. He is responsible for three of the top five grossing films in South African box office history, establishing him as the most commercially successful entertainer in South Africa. On a local level his movies have even out-grossed mainstream Hollywood blockbuster franchises such as Harry Potter, and James Bond.

Among Schuster’s most recent phenomenal box office hits are Schuks Tshabalala’s guide to South Africa. Inspired by the 2010 Soccer World Cup the movie broke local box office records and out-performed his previous biggest hit Mr. Bones 2: Back to the Past, which was preceded by Mr. Bones, and Mama Jack.

His humour has transcended social, racial and political boundaries, with his audience ranging from 8 to 80 year-olds. He has broken geographic boundaries too, with Mr Bones 1 & 2 having been distributed in a host of international territories including Australia, Germany, India, South America, Brazil and Spain.

Schuks! Your Country Needs You is Leon’s 17th feature film.

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