How To Replicate An IRL Prison Escape, According To Actor Daniel Webber

“What is extraordinary, is the creativity."

If you’re a fan of true crime, there’s a good chance you’re just as fascinated by prison escapes. Whether the stories of escape are successful or not, there’s something about the lengths humans will go to seek freedom that boggles the mind.

One of the most famous prison escapes in history is that of three South African men who escaped from Pretoria Central Prison in 1979 after meticulous planning. It’s an incredible story that plays out in the recent film Escape From Pretoria starring Australian actor Daniel Webber and Daniel Radcliffe as Stephen Lee and Tim Jenkin. 

We spoke to Daniel Webber on the most recent episode of It’s Been A Big Day For… about what it’s like replicating a real-life prison escape for the big screen. LISTEN BELOW:

One of the most impressive aspects of Escape from Pretoria, is the film’s inclusion of elements from the actual 1979 prison escape, like the chisel that was used by Lee and Jenkin.

“The small details like the chisel, helped fuel us and give energy to the performances,” Webber explained. “When you’re using the chisel that was used in the final escape attempt – knowing what it did and how they used it, you handle it differently, knowing you’re part of history in telling that story.”

“Historical accuracy in a story like this is absolutely essential,” Webber said. “You know it’s going to be viewed through the lens of history and what was actually happening at the time.”

“On top of that, it’s a real person and they’re going to be watching their life portrayed up on screen. You really want to do them justice as much as you can.”

Speaking about working with Daniel Radcliffe, Webber said they developed a natural comradery before shooting even began. “Stephen and Tim were really good mates – they met during university, had to learn about aparteid and what was going on in South Africa,” Webber explained. “It was a similar experience for me and Dan [Radcliffe], we both had to study aparteid and we bonded in that.”

“The nature of filming, trying to figure out problems, is essentially what Stephen and Tim were trying to do on a daily basis in their attempts to escape prison,” he added.

As for why he thinks people are so fascinated by prison escapes, Webber puts it down to being taken “back to basics.”

“What is extraordinary, is the creativity you see that comes from human beings in a hard situation,” he said.

Webber is no stranger to portraying real-life characters. As well as Stephen Lee, he has also played Motley Crue singer Vince Neil in The Dirt, Lee Harvey Oswald in 11.22.63. 

Credit: Hulu/Netflix

“For Vince Neil I was singing for months prior to shooting, we practiced performing – there’s very specific skill sets. With Stephen – because I aligned with his values and morals, it wasn’t about trying to reach for what he believed, but how far he went with it. He was a man willing to give up his freedom, and life if need be.” 

You can rent Escape from Pretoria now from Apple TV, Fetch, Foxtel or Google Play.

Always be in the loop with our snackable podcast breaking the biggest story of the day. Subscribe to It’s Been A Big Day For… on your favourite podcast app.

The Drug Arrest Of Alfafa From ‘Little Rascals’ Is Sadly All Too Familiar

A tragic tale as old as time.

If you were born in the late ‘80s or early ‘90s, there’s a good chance you’ll remember Little Rascals. The 1994 family comedy followed the adventures of a gang of little neighbourhood rascals lead by Alfafa Switzer, a sweet kid known for his bowtie and iconic cowlick.

Well, it’s been 26 years since Little Rascals hit the silver screen, and sadly – Bug Hall, who played Alfafa in the film, has hit a rather bumpy road. 

According to TMZ, Hall was recently arrested after being caught huffing air duster cans. Weatherford Police Department told TMZ “one of Bug’s family members actually called in asking the police to check on him.”

When the police arrived, they reportedly saw “a ton” of air duster cans – used to clean keyboards – all over the room.

Hall apparently admitted to inhaling the cans and was arrested for misdemeanour possession for use to inhale or ingest a chemical. 

It’s incredibly troubling news, but sadly, Bug Hall’s fall from grace is all too familiar. Time and time again, child stars who are thrust into the limelight at a young age grow up and find themselves struggling with addiction and mental health issues. 

In fact, child actors are three times more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs than the average young American, according to a survey conducted by the Wayne State University for A Minor Consideration. 

Nickelodeon star Amanda Bynes is still in and out of rehab after struggling with years of addiction and mental health issues. Earlier this year, singer Jessica Simpson opened up about her early struggles with abuse and addiction, and her decision to get sober in 2017 after “hitting rock bottom.” 

Hear about Jessica Simpson’s revealing memoir below:

And even further back than the ‘00s, E.T. child star Drew Barrymore began experimenting with drugs at an extremely young age and entered rehab before turning 13 years old. 

Bug Hall’s recent plight is just another reminder that children working in Hollywood need to be protected at all costs, and that more work needs to be done in breaking down the taboo of asking for help. 

If you, or anyone you know is struggling with addiction, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the National Alcohol and Other Drug hotline on 1800 250 015.

Always be in the loop with our snackable podcast breaking the biggest story of the day. Subscribe to It’s Been A Big Day For… on your favourite podcast app.

Hollywood Owes Megan Fox An Apology For This 2009 Jimmy Kimmel Interview

"I was in 10th grade."

Hindsight really is 20/20 in 2020, and lately, looking back and realising certain pop culture moments have ‘not aged well’ is becoming a weekly occurrence. However, there are some that really make you stop and think  – like Jimmy Kimmel’s 2009 interview with Megan Fox. Hear all about it below:

During the interview, Fox explained what it was like working with director Michael Bay.

Credit: ABC

“I had just turned 15, and I was an extra in Bad Boys 2,” Fox explained. “They were shooting this club scene and they brought me in. I was wearing a stars and stripes bikini and a red cowboy hat, and six inch heels – and [Michael Bay] approved it.”

“They said, ‘Michael, she’s 15 so you can’t sit her at the bar and she can’t have a drink in her hand,’” she continued. “So, his solution to that problem was to have me dancing underneath a waterfall getting soaking wet – at 15, I was in 10th grade.”

“That’s sort of a microcosm of how Bay’s mind works,” Fox added. 

Where it starts to feel truly problematic is when Kimmel responds, “that’s a microcosm of how all our minds work.”

“Some of us have the decency to repress those thoughts, and pretend they don’t exist,” he joked.

It’s a big yikes and pretty crazy when you remember this interview occurred just over 10 years ago – which really, isn’t that long ago in the big scheme of things. 

Perhaps, the worst part of re-watching the interview is knowing that later that year, Fox was fired from Bay’s Transformers series after she spoke out and called him “a nightmare to work for” and compared him to Hitler.

Speaking of women speaking out in Hollywood, hear about the #MeToo movement and Harvey Weinstein case below:

To make matters worse, Transformers crew members then published an open letter on Bay’s website, where they called Fox “trailer trash,” a “porn star” and accused her of “blabbing her trash mouth”.

In 2011, Megan Fox’s Transformers co-star Shia LaBeouf spoke out about how she got fired from the film. “Megan developed this Spice Girl strength, this woman-empowerment that made her feel awkward about her involvement with Michael, who some people think is a very lascivious filmmaker, the way he films women,” he told the LA Times.

Credit: DreamWorks Pictures

“Mike films women in a way that appeals to a 16-year-old sexuality. It’s summer. It’s Michael’s style. And I think [Fox] never got comfortable with it,” LaBeouf continued. “This is a girl who was taken from complete obscurity and placed in a sex-driven role in front of the whole world and told she was the sexiest woman in America. And she had a hard time accepting.”

Knowing this, and the fact Fox was being sexualised on-set at just 15, begs the question: does Michael Bay, or Jimmy Kimmel owe Megan Fox an apology? Or does Hollywood owe the apology, for breeding, perpetuating and turning a blind eye to unhealthy attitudes and predatory behaviour?

Always be in the loop with our snackable podcast breaking the biggest story of the day. Subscribe to It’s Been A Big Day For… on your favourite podcast app.

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