“Spud”, the groundbreaking bestselling novel by John van de Ruit, is now a feature film. South Africa’s record-breaking novel is a coming-of-age comedy following a young boy through his year at a private boarding school, and set against the backdrop of a country coming of age. Starring: John Cleese, Troye Sivan, Jeremy Crutchley, Jason Cope, Tanit Phoenix, Charlbi Dean, Julie Summers, Aaron McIlroy. Director: Donovan Marsh. Producers: Ross Garland & Brad Logan. The Story - It’s South Africa 1990. Two major events are about to happen: The release of Nelson Mandela and, more importantly, it’s Spud Milton’s first year at an elite boys only private boarding school. John Milton is a boy from an ordinary background who wins a scholarship to a private school in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. Surrounded by boys with nicknames like Gecko, Rambo, Rain Man and Mad Dog, Spud has his hands full trying to adapt to his new home. Along the way Spud takes his first tentative steps along the path to manhood. (The path it seems could be a rather long road). Armed with only his wits and his diary, Spud takes us from illegal night swimming to the red-hot furnace of the cricket pitch, from ghost busting to a catastrophic family vacation. He also invites us into the mind of a boy struggling to come to terms with a strange new world, a boy whose eyes are being opened to love, friendship and complete insanity. Spud the book - Spud won the Booksellers’ Choice award 2006, and continues to break SA fiction publishing records. The book was launched internationally in 2007. A Barnes & Noble top 10 hard cover youth title in the USA in 2007, it won a US national teen book award in June 2008. It has subsequently been published in the UK, Commonwealth, Italy, Brazil, Russia and India. John van de Ruit continued his record-breaking writing with the sequel Spud – The Madness Continues, which was published in 2007, and released in the US at the end of 2008. The third installment in the series, Spud – Learning to Fly, was published in 2009, and sold 65, 000 copies in SA in the first two weeks from the launch date. The fourth and final book in the series, Spud – Exit Pursued by a Bear, launched in 2012. Finding Spud - With a thirteen year-old boy as the main character in the film, the search for a young actor to play the lead role was critical. A global search started in early 2009. But it was good fortune that led to the discovery of Troye Sivan. Producer Ross Garland’s uncle in Australia sent him a newspaper clipping of a boy from Perth who had just starred in Hollywood blockbuster “X-men Origins: Wolverine”. The article also said he was born in Johannesburg and a well-known singing sensation. Ross tracked down his agent in Los Angeles, and Troye sent his audition in from Australia. After a search all over South Africa, he came out streaks ahead as the perfect boy to play John “Spud” Milton. Finding the Guv - Top international casting agency Hubbard Casting was recruited to find a British star to play “the Guv”. After initially hearing that John Cleese didn’t do this type of smaller, independent film, the screenplay was sent to him on a wing and a prayer. The call came back that he liked the script, and wanted to sign on to the project. With a performance that is both comical and moving, it’s new ground for John Cleese. Nobody can think who would have been more perfect for the part.