Unfortunately, not every visit to Africa by the entertainment industry's goodwill ambassadors results in a Hollywood-quality happy ending like the one still being written about Madonna's selfless semi-orphan acquisition (much more on that shortly). Today's Page Six reports on Warner Bros.' promise to provide the 27 teenage and child amputees they used for atrocity-verisimilitude purposes during the filming of Blood Diamond with prosthetic limbs, a pledge that the studio apparently still hasn't fulfilled since shooting ended back in June:
Young Nkululo Mnisi - whose arms and legs were cut off by machete-wielding rebels - used to be taunted by cruel classmates as "baboon" because of the way he ran on his stumps and crutches. Mnisi told a South African newspaper that the dream that kept him going was the promise of getting artificial limbs so he'd be able to play soccer like a normal child.
But months after filming ended, Mnisi and his fellow amputees were still waiting. When they asked Warner Bros. about the promised prosthetics, they were allegedly told, "You will have to wait for December, when the movie comes out, so we can get some publicity out of it."
A local African charity, Eastern Cape, came to the rescue when it heard of the amputees' cruelly dashed hopes, and outfitted them with limbs paid for by the organization. Eastern Cape has said that if Warner Bros. does finally come through with the money, it will go to 27 other deserving amputees.
A rep for Warner Bros. told Page Six, "We're working on it."
Be shocked if you must at the thought of a Warner Bros. executive telling his assistant "to put a pin in the arms-and-legs thing until December," but really, the most disturbing aspect of this story is those young amputees' selfish demand for their limb-participation months in advance of the movie's release date; their agents undoubtedly explained to them that their prosthetics would be delivered only after their publicity commitments were completed, so this posturing in the tabloids is obviously just an opportunistic power play. As this transparent ploy unfolds, expect young Nkululo to threaten to pull out of a planned premiere-night photo-op playing soccer with star Leonardo DiCaprio in order to gain leverage with the cruelly exploited studio.