"From the fertile mind of Sax Rohmer (Dr. Fu Man Chu) comes a bold and colourful adventure in the vein of Planet of the Apes and Barbarella."
Co-Produced by Harry Alan Towers (Sherlock Holmes, Allan Quatermain, 10 Little Indians) and Tandem Communications (Dune, Relic Hunter, Superfire) on location in Africa (Johannesburg, to be precisely), it sets a new standard in international co-production.
Sumuru is fun fantasy with broad appeal, featuring a popular cast including Alexandra Kamp (Antonia) and Michael Shanks (Stargate: The Series) plus dazzling special effects by German VFX company Das Werk!" The movie is co-produced by Sumuru Films, Towers of London & Industrial Development Corp. of South Africa, in association with Tandem Communications, RTL2 , Do Productions & Frameworks.
Torsten Dewi, co-author of "Sumuru", states: "This is not even loosely based on Sax Rohmer's novels. It's a fantasy adventure set on another planet where two astronauts discover a tribe of beautiful women (and yes, we have heard the "Planet of the Babes" joke already). It's tongue in cheek, action-packed, and fun. It's not supposed to be Matrix. And I did smuggle in a Stargate SG:1 reference..."
Michael Shanks has a good sense of humour, and one of the reasons he got cast as Dr. Daniel Jackson on Stargate SG-1 was that the people in charge saw that “he could do comedy”. Dewi: "I have just seen dailies from the set - it looks terrific. Michael sports a goatee, and yes - he wears not that much in terms of upper body wear."
Two astronauts, Adam Wade and Jake Carpenter, land on a faraway planet that was colonized centuries ago, but cut off from the rest of the galaxy when all communication broke down. Expecting to find a hoard of ragtag colonists, imagine Jake's and Adam's surprise when they are attacked by a clan of warrior women!
On this jungle planet, women are the ruling class. They follow the orders of beautiful Queen Sumuru, and worship a snake goddess. Except for the task of mating, men are forced to work in the mines, and are sometimes sacrificed to appease the snake goddess when she shakes the ground. Only Jake and Adam realize that the shakes are earthquakes - the planet is about to break apart.
Beside trying to convince these Amazons that men have more worth than being mere slaves, our two heroes have to find a way to evacuate the planet, and a hidden cave might just hold the key to their escape. As they search for the spaceship that brought the colonists to this planet hundred of years before, Adam and the beautiful Sumuru not only discover their love for each other but also what the cult of the snake is really based on - a hideous creature living underground!
SCREENDAILY.COM PRODUCTION NEWS
Production has just wrapped on Sumuru, a fantasy boasting the highest use of CGI ever for a feature produced in South Africa, which has been shooting for the past six weeks in and around Johannesburg.
The film is produced by Brigid Olen and Marlow De Mardt of DO Productions, Harry Alan Towers of Towers of London and Germany's Framewerk. Directed by Darrell James Roodt, Sumuru is loosely adapted from a character made famous by author Sax Rohmer, the creator of Fu Manchu.
The plot revolves around two astronauts who crash land on a desolate planet, where Amazonian-like female warriors rule the roost and men work in the mines as slaves. The society is ruled over with a benevolent but firm hand by the titular Sumuru (played by German actress Alexandra Kamp) who is at odds with another Amazon, Taxan and her followers - who sacrifice men to a giant snake.
Towers, whose actress wife Maria Rohm has owned the property for years, made two previous films around the Sumuru character in the 60s featuring the golden girl from the Bond movie Goldfinger, Shirley Eaton. He says, "This time around we wanted to imbue a new element to the Sax Rohmer character. The film is guaranteed a theatrical release in the U.K and Germany, but in the long run we’re hoping it will become a television series."
Co-writer of the screenplay Torsten Dewi of Tandem Communications says, "Besides from the name and a strong female character as the lead, this has very little to do with the original. The novels were a product of their time, fuelled by sexism and racism, presenting a world full of 'yellow peril' and 'deadly women'. Exotic, but really outdated...The success of Xena - Warrior Princess and Stargate SG-1 has proven that a lot of viewers watch science fiction and fantasy if it is not too tech-heavy or preachy."
Alongside Alexandra Kamp as Sumuru the film also features Stargate SG-1 star Michael Shanks and Simona Levin. The film, whose budget is undisclosed but if shot in the US would run into the tens of millions of dollars, had an investment of 11% from German broadcaster RTL 2, 11% through a U.K sale and leaseback scheme, 28% from German special effects company Framewerk and a 50% investment from South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation.
Stefan Jonas and Frank Wegerhoff of Framewerk, a division of German movie conglomerate DasWerk is responsible for most of the CGI work as well as being a major investor in the project. Nu Image has worldwide rights to the picture while Tandem holds rights for Germany and Eastern Europe.
PINK KHAKI INTERVIEW WITH
Some snippets from the interview:
Adam and Jake have been through a LOT when they finally arrive on Antares. I can't give away the details, but they are "regular Joes" that have been burdened with a major responsibility. They are close friends. Adam is the commander, and Jake is the navigator/science expert. But they are equal. Both have a great sense of humor, depite all things. Having been in space for very long, they have developed a strong survival instinct. Sumuru is Queen on Antares. A proud, beautiful, and strong leader. She is better educated and liberal than you would give her credit for at first glance. She can hold her own in any situation.
There is kissing... and showering. We have a dog. Cool fighting. There are references to Star Trek, Superman, and Stargate.
We have to wait to see how Sumuru does internationally. This will take time. Then we have to find more partners. And once that is done, we need to work on the concept for the series. At the end of the day, if Michael wants to be on board, principal photography can wait until Stargate wraps. But I honestly don't know whether that has been discussed with him.
[Solutions sidebar: SCI FI Channel parent network USA are said to be interested in producing a TV series based on Sumuru]
Official Sumuru website @ http://www.sumuru.com/