We wanted to shoot the movie in West Africa and initially we were going to shoot a portion of the film there but logistically it was very challenging. We did send a small splinter unit to Ghana after the main production wrapped. It felt important to shoot something in West Africa.
Are there any shooting locations that really stood out to you?
Near Cape Town, we used Palmiet Beach for our beaches. The estuary there doubled as a river for when Nanisca [Davis] and Nawi [Thuso Mbedu] make their escape over the wall at Quidah. In Cape Town, we built out the Castle of Good Hope to serve as our Port of Quidah. There’s also the Wiesenhof Nature Reserve, where the Agojie battle the Oyo.
As cinematographer, how did you want to capture the world of the Agojie?
With the Agojie, we moved the camera fluidly and gracefully. It was also important to contrast the beauty of Dahomey with the ugliness of Quidah [a port and hub of the slave trade]. The horror of the trade in human life. Quidah we photographed with a handheld camera and embraced the contrast of the African sun.
During your off-hours, how did you and the rest of the cast and crew spend your free time? Are there any spots—restaurants, bars, hotels, museums, landmarks—that you loved?
We didn’t have much time off We filmed for six days a week and Gina and I would work together on the seventh day to prepare for the next week. That Omicron break—when 65 percent of the crew tested positive and we shut down for for six weeks—did give me and my family a few weeks to enjoy being in Cape Town. My husband and two toddlers traveled with me to the continent and so we were able to make some phenomenal memories together. Cape Town is an incredibly beautiful city with so many activities to enjoy, indoors and out. We hiked up the top of Lion’s Head, took a cable car up Table Mountain, walked around the beautiful Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, we took a boat out to Robben Island and saw Nelson Mandela‘s prison cell where he spent the majority of his life. We went and saw the penguins at Boulders Beach, we went out to various wineries and tasted wine and had picnics. We even did a helicopter tour around the Cape which was breathtaking. Boschendal was incredible. At Beau Constantia, we had the best meal of our lives. We had a very romantic night away from the kids at Tintswalo Atlantic, where we ate at the Chef’s Warehouses and heard the waves crash against our room after an 8-course dinner.
Every weekend down by the V&A Food Market, there is the Oranjezicht Farmer’s Market which is absolutely incredible. We would take the kids every Sunday morning and have breakfast and buy local produce.