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Third ‘Sumuru’s’ out of this world

Dispatches

JOHANNESBURG — The third “Sumuru” feature from prolific British-born producer Harry Alan Towers (“99 Women”), who made two “Sumuru” features in the 1960s, is finally in the works.

Towers, 84, was in South Africa in December to oversee the latest “Sumuru.” He first visited South Africa in 1963 and has shot about 20 features here.

He was involved with the 1995 remake of “Cry, the Beloved Country,” where he first met Darrell Roodt, who helmed the remake as well as “Sarafina” and is now directing the latest “Sumuru.”

Towers’ third “Sumuru” film, based on Sax Rohmer’s novels about a secret society of powerful women, is the first to be adapted as a space sci-fier. Plot involves two astronauts forced to land on a planet inhabited by beautiful women ruled by Queen Sumuru. The planet’s men are banished to labor underground.

Produced by Towers, Brigid Olen and Marlow de Mardt with co-production by Johannesburg-based DO Prods., “Sumuru” qualifies as an official South Africa/Canada/U.K. co-production. German company Daswerk is a post-production partner.

Canadian Michael Shanks (“Stargate SG-1”) stars as astronaut Adam Wade while Queen Sumuru is played by German actress-model Alexandra Kemp.

Shooting took place at Nu-World Studios just outside Johannesburg as well as on location in Pretoria and around Johannesburg.

International sales agent Tandem has sold the film to German national broadcaster, RTL and Nu Image has picked up worldwide distribution. It is scheduled for release in Germany in March.