International actor to star as Jacob Zuma in The President's Keepers TV series


South African filmmaker Niel van Deventer is in talks with an international actor whom he hopes will play the role of Jacob Zuma in a televised dramatisation of the book The President’s Keepers.

Van Deventer said the television series about the book‚ by investigative journalist Jacques Pauw‚ was still in its developmental stages and would have some big industry names attached to it.

“We are basically developing quite strongly now. We have appointed a writing and a research team – local guys so far. I am travelling to London to attach some international people as well. There has been interest by some international platforms as well‚” he said.

The series is expected to run for three seasons with six episodes per season.

“The story is so rich in substance there is potentially so much we can do. Hopefully we can start shooting next year. It will be a drama narrative. We are casting actors to play the roles of people involved. I will be producing. I am hoping to attach an international director. We are aiming to make between 18 to 20 episodes. I bought the book the day it was released at the airport on my way overseas. I just read the foreword and luckily I have worked with the publishers in the past. I sent an email to the publishers right there saying I want the rights to do a TV series.

“The more I read it‚ the more I was happy that I was the first one to go after the rights. If all goes to plan‚ it should be on TV a year from now‚ to have the first season on air. I can’t say who yet‚ but we are in talks with an international actor to play the role of Jacob Zuma‚” he said.

Investigative journalist and author Jacques Pauw said the book had surpassed all of his expectations.

“I am having a meeting with him (Van Deventer) this weekend‚ so I don’t have a lot of detail. I don’t know that much. It is going to be dramatised …. They are already writing the scripts. He has spoken to some serious actors.”

Pauw said his role in the series would be as a consultant. "I have no specific desire to be directly involved.”

Pauw said the success of the book still leaves him at a loss for words.

“I would have been very happy to have sold 20‚000 copies. It is very seldom that something like this happens. People would buy six books at a time and ask me to sign it.”

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