Animals in the Ramadan TV drama “Juha Al Masri” (The Egyptian Juha) had a large portion of importance, not only in caring and catering their meals, but also in paying their salaries. A special session was held at the Egyptian Production City for the signing of contracts with the animals and deciding on what wages are to be paid for each animal, which depends on the “effort” put, the Egyptian daily Al Akhbar reported.
After long hours of debating what salary best “fits” each animal, the committee came out with the final decision as follows:
1. A mules is to receive a 100 Egyptian pounds
2. A horse to receive 60 Egyptian pounds
3. The donkey to receive 30 Egyptian pounds
4. “Human Extras” (people in the background) will be paid between 20 to 50 Egyptian pounds daily depending on their presence in a certain episode.
The Donkey used by director Majdi Abo Amireh stole the spotlight by appearing seventeen times throughout the series. Abu Amireh stressed that the donkey was carefully selected among many to play the part of Juha’s loyal companion.
The director had sent a team to the Egyptian village of Kardasa before the shooting to choose the right donkey, among 120 others that were short-listed for the act. The donkey matched all the criteria required for the part in the series as written by playwright Yusri Al Jundi.
The owner of the donkey demanded that a contract be written between Production City and the ‘Donkey’ to ensure they return him at the end of the show safe and sound. The contract also stated that the donkey was to be fed corn, beans, and wheat throughout his working hours.
The owner of the donkey had also demanded “visitation rights” with his donkey once every two weeks, and the right to watch his friend in action with the renowned actor Yahia Al Fakhrani.
The Production City tried to buy the donkey from its owner for 1500 Egyptian pounds (approximately US $324) due to its calmness and cleanliness. The owner of the donkey strongly refused saying that this donkey brings him money everyday, and that tourist to his village prefer riding him to others due to his good appearance. -Albawaba.com