Current Issue #488

Adelaide-filmed Daniel Radcliffe thriller Escape From Pretoria is out Friday

Radcliffe on Pirie Street, standing in for South Africa, in Escape From Pretoria

South Africa-set, Adelaide-filmed political prison break drama Escape From Pretoria will officially hit the Australian corner of the internet this week.

There was an awful lot of excitement in 2019 when half of Pirie Street shut down to accommodate the filming of Escape From Pretoria. Setting aside the indignity of a 2020 Adelaide street being chosen as a perfect stand-in for late-70s apartheid-era Johannesberg, the city was set a-flutter by the prospect of former Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe skulking around our streets setting off leaflet bombs in flares and a wig.

In contrast to the evident joy our state extracted from collectively stalking the grown up boy wizard, the film itself is a sobering political thriller. Based on the 1979 escape of several white anti-apartheid activists from Pretoria Central Prison, British director Francis Annan has Radcliffe portray real life escapee Tim Jenkin, upon whose memoir the film is based.

Radcliffe’s Jenkin, described by a prison guard in the trailer as the ‘white Mandela’ (hoo boy), is joined in his escape plot by an Australian supporting cast that includes Nathan Page (Miss Fisher, The 39 Steps), Mark Leonard Winter (One Eyed Girl) and Daniel Webber (Danger Close). Curiously, the film also stars Ian Hart, who acted opposite Radcliffe two decades ago as Professor Quirrell in Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone.

The film received a limited release cinemas overseas back in March, but Australian viewers will be able to watch in the comfort of their own homes when the film hits video on demand services including Apple TV, Fetch, Foxtel, Google Play, PlayStation Store and Microsoft Store on 22 May.

Walter Marsh

Walter Marsh

Digital Editor
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Walter is a writer and editor living on Kaurna Country.

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