Tarantino crew taken to task

JOHANNESBURG — Quentin Tarantino’s crew, shooting a vampire movie in a historic cave in South Africa, has fallen foul of local environmentalists, who claim imitation blood was smeared over rocks, sensitive plants were destroyed and debris was left lying around the area.

The shoot of scenes for “The Hangman’s Daughter” took place in a spectacular outcrop of cavernous rocks that form part of the environmentally sensitive Cedarberg Nature Reserve in Western Cape province.

Cape nature conservation official Kas Hamman said the crew didn’t respect the history of the cave, known as Stadsaal (city hall), where the formerly ruling National Party held a historic party summit soon after the turn of the century.

“We’ll definitely have to make sure this does not happen again,” Hamman told local reporters, adding that all future contracts with film companies would have to be “watertight” to prevent a repeat of the Stadsaal damage.

Producer Michael Murphey said, however, that all the crew did was cover graffiti to make the cave look more natural.

The crew, he added, had taken great care to ensure the natural environment was affected as little as possible and that an independent environmental adviser had been on set.

While fake rocks and exotic plants had been brought on to the set, these were removed afterwards, he said. Even horse droppings were removed in case of germination of plant species foreign to the Cedarberg area.

“The Hangman’s Daughter” is the latest in a vampire trilogy being executive produced by Tarantino and directed by Robert Rodriguez (“Desperado”).

It is a prequel to the successful vampire feature “From Dusk Till Dawn.” The pair plan to produce another vampire spinoff movie in South Africa in January, “Texas Blood,” which will take off where “From Dusk Till Dawn” ends.

Murphey said the two movies had specific locations — the Texas/Mexican border — and had to resemble the American Southwest at the turn of the century.

The Cedarberg and the Karoo semi-desert region of the Cape offered the right geography as well as “more pristine, dramatic settings” that are “more authentic” than the overworked Texas border towns, Murphey said.

Lower costs, combined with the availability of world-class local technicians, combined to make the Cape the first choice, he said.

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