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'' The more I visited the more I discovered this thing about them: They don't have a sense of property. If I put my jacket down, one of them would put it on. He picked Coca-Cola, he said, ''because it represents our plastic society.'' He added that he thought a Coca-Cola bottle ''is a beautiful thing, if you've never seen glass before.'' After writing the script, Mr. '' I wanted to meet every Bushman in the world,'' he said.Traveling with an interpreter, he visited areas of the Kalahari that he thought might be inhabited by Bushmen, and took photographs of every likely face.Uys said, ''so he slept on the floor.'' The director said N!
He called him ''the ideal actor - he thought we were playing and that he was playing along with us. In the evening they tell a story around the campfire. Acting is their whole life.'' Every three or four weeks, N!
Xau would be flown back to his home in the bush, ''so he wouldn't suffer culture shock,'' Mr. Still, the Bushman managed to pick up some bad habits.
Some directors go to great lengths to find just the right actor to star in their films, but probably none has ever made a search like Jamie Uys did.
The 63-year-old South African director spent three months crisscrossing Africa's Kalahari Desert searching for the right Bushman to play a leading role in his film, '' The Gods Must Be Crazy.'' He finally found N! The tiny Bushman had seen only one other white man, a missionary.
Since 1981, the film has earned more than $90 million worldwide, including almost $40 million in Japan alone, as well as $11 million in the United States.
It has also played in France, Venezuela, Sweden and other countries, and is in its third year in some.
He learned to smoke, ''and he loves it,'' Mr. He also learned to enjoy liquor, especially the sake he was served when he went to Japan to promote the film.
'' That really worries me,'' Mr. Uys said, ''because a liquor store has opened in the bush not far from N!
Not since '' La Cage aux Folles'' in 1979 has a foreign movie built an audience in this manner.
The film, which cost million, is a comedy about what happens when a pilot drops an empty Coca-Cola bottle into the Kalahari Desert, and it is found by a Bushman who has never seen such a thing before.