The Day We Played “White People” in a Sri Lankan Movie

Producer Damith Fonseka, son of actor Gamini Fonseka, (who was crowned the King of Sri Lankan cinema) was on the lookout for three foreigners to star in his latest film Buffalo Travels. 
We volunteered our pasty white skin, and half expecting it to fall through, we dressed our scruffy selves for the 6.45am pick up time. 

We were chauffeured to a hotel, given breakfast & sent to the most adorable old man aka the make up artist as we sat in front of a light up mirror he layered on the foundation, powder & ‘rouge’.


Back at the breakfast table we were introduced to the actors, had a spin in the little blue car used in the movie itself and were driven to set number one to meet Dammith and the crew.

Given the brief that we were to play Dutch consulates, we panick questioned George, one of the leads, a genuinely Dutch guy, for some phrases we could try to say during our scene. 


Having expected to just be white skin in the background, and having flashbacks of auditioning to play Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, but being given the part of the talking tree instead, I fretted a little about my onscreen presence.

The set was quaint and the equipment impressive. It was a long day of shooting sereval scenarios for each scene. We babbled something remotely Dutch sounding, trusting post production to dub over the final edit. 


I wasn’t a natural. My arms suddenly felt 10 feet long, I didn’t know where to look or what to do. My mouth went dry yet my upper lip went a little bit sweaty.

We had people patting sweat off our brows, moving stray hairs off our faces. We could have requested anything we wanted for lunch but in the most British fashion we politely insisted that rice and curry, the exact meal we have been eating daily for 1.5months, would be perfect.


After lunch we had a location change. This part of the day was a lot quicker, Daisy and I literally just had to stand by the car and I still managed to balls that up. 
Once by standing in the wrong place as the car had moved, it through me off, and the other by being classically Britishly polite again; Being demoted to the background, Daisy and I tuned out and started discussing biscuits and evening plans when the director shouts over ‘Thanks Ladies’. Assuming we were done for the day, I yell back ‘Thaaankks’ teaming it with a rather enthusiastic wave. As Dan approaches the car (his fine acting skills got him a legit part in this scene) he growls under his breath like a parent scolding their child in a public place “GET IN THE CAR, we’re still rolling”. All three of us bundle in and roar with laughter, I’ve really not got this acting thing down.

We left with a fresh pack of fancy cigarettes, half a packet of chocolate bourbons, 1.5litres of Coca Cola and an invitation to the wrap party in three days time.

All in all it was a fun experience but not one I’d ever be keen to repeat. You won’t be seeing me on Netflix anytime soon.

1 Comment

  1. This sounds like such a cool (and unique) experience! And you got free biscuits, what more could you want?! Haha.

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