Five Flicks Shot in Africa

Kerry Brown/National Geographic Entertainment

Hollywood blockbuster hopefuls from Safe House to the reboot of Judge Dredd set up shop in South Africa.

Safe House
Universal's thriller is the latest Hollywood production to take over the streets of Cape Town. It centers on a CIA operation that goes bad when a criminal has to be transported to a new hiding place. The film, which stars Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds and Sam Shepard, caused a minor stir when residents of Cape Town mistook the sounds of fake gunfire for a gang fight. Two producers on the film, Adam Merims and Genevieve Hofmeyr, had to issue an apology "for any inconvenience or negative effect" caused by the scene.

Dark Tide
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, director John Stockwell (Blue Crush, Turistas) brings us a thriller about a shark scientist who returns to deep waters after a near-fatal encounter with a great white shark. The cast, featuring Oscar winner Halle Berry and Olivier Martinez, and crew spent the winter in South Africa shooting on the ocean. The waters at that time of year can be a little rough, and the leading lady knocked her head badly on the first day of shooting. Not one to be fazed, Berry got back to work, but only after the makeup team was able to conceal the large gash on her head. Afterward, she even came face to face with a great white while submerged in a shark cage.

This reboot of the 1995 Sylvester Stallone starrer Judge Dredd is the first film to shoot at the new Cape Town Film Studios. With Aussie actor Karl Urban (Star Trek) set to play the role of Judge Dredd, filmmakers are promising an exciting new take on the classic 1977 British comic strip about a future world where cops have the power to be judge, jury and executioner.

Based on the 1907 nonfiction children's book Jock of the Bushveld by South African industrialist Percy Fitzpatrick, this heartwarming animated film chronicles the unwavering friendship between a stalwart Staffordshire bull terrier and his kind-hearted owner. Written and directed by South Africa's Duncan MacNeillie, the film features voice work by Academy Award winner Helen Hunt, Donald Sutherland, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and rocker Bryan Adams, who is collaborating on the film's music with Oscar winner Tim Rice (The Lion King).

The First Grader
Based on a true story, The First Grader tells the story of Maruge, an 84-year-old Kenyan man who is desperate to learn how to read. When the local government passes a law allowing everyone an opportunity for a public education, the octogenarian takes full advantage, even if it means sitting in a classroom alongside 6-year-olds. Written by South Africa native Ann Peacock, the film is scheduled for U.S. release in May through National Geographic.