1 December 2006

Uganda: Kony Now in James Bond Film

The rebel leader Joseph Kony is portrayed in the latest Agent 007 movie Casino Royale, the 21 under the James Bond brand name. The film is the first to star actor Daniel Craig as British Secret Service agent James Bond.

Kony (44) is the head of LRA, a notorious guerrilla group that has wreaked havoc to northern Uganda for 20 years in a violent campaign to establish a theocratic government in Uganda, based on the Biblical Ten Commandments.

The movie opens with a muddy murram road, thick woodland and an army Land Rover car with a Ugandan number plate before the words "Mbale Uganda" appear on screen.

In Mbale is where they show a ruthless Ugandan warlord by the names of Steven Obanno (Joseph Kony).

The write-up on Casino Royale states that Obbano is a high-ranking member of the Lord's Resistance Army who banks a considerable sum ($101,260,000) with the movie's major villain Le Chiffre.

Le Chiffre ends up losing Obanno's money when one of his stock sorting schemes fails due to Bond's intervention, prompting him to arrange a poker tournament at Casino Royale in Montenegro to recoup the loss.

When Obanno learns of the loss of his money he and his bodyguard travel to Montenegro, break into Le Chiffre's hotel suite and ambush him and his mistress Valenka; threatening to cut off one of her hands.

Le Chiffre implores Obanno to give him one day to win the tournament and recoup the loss. Obanno grants this and leaves the suite.

In the hall, Obanno and his bodyguard notice Bond and Vesper lurking in the vicinity. When the bodyguard sees the hearing device in Bond's ear, he goes to attack Bond, who throws him over a stairwell to his death.

Obanno then attacks Bond with a machete concealed inside his jacket, but Bond gains the upper hand and strangles Obanno to death.

According Wikipedia website, "The movie is based on Ian Flemming's novel Casino Royale. In the novel, the terrorists' organisation whose money Le Chiffre has lost was Smersh. But in a draft of the film's script, it is the Lord's Resistance Army, although this is never referenced in the actual movie."

Ivory Coast star actor Isaach De Bankolé, who resembles Kony in appearance, plays Obanno and he speaks some Acholi in the movie. When a boy brings water to Obanno he thanks him in Acholi, "Apoyo mateke," (Thank you very much).

Kony hails from Odek, a village east of Gulu in Acholiland in northern Uganda and he fluently speaks Acholi.

Mbale is in eastern Uganda near Kenya.

The information on websites states that the footage set in Uganda was filmed at Black Park, a 530-acre Country Park in Buckinghamshire England.

However, the moviemakers had to get a person who resembles the LRA leader and fortunately they found 49-year old Bankolé who has appeared in over 30 films, including Ghost Dog; The Way of the Samurai and Coffee and Cigarettes.

The movie depicts the Ugandan warlord as a ruthless rebel affiliated to other terrorism organisations around the world.

Kony has been connected to the likes of Bin Laden and recently there were reports that the Ugandan government was planning to meet collaborators of the LRA and its ex-financiers in Nairobi, Kenya in an effort to woo the rebels holed up in DRC's Garamba National Park to denounce rebellion.

The movie with running time of 144 minutes is based on the 1953 novel Casino Royale by Ian Fleming and was adapted by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis and directed by Martin Campbell.

Despite initial controversy over Craig's casting, his performance and the film have received positive reviews and it is one of the hottest movies in the world.

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