18/12/2017 07:37 SAST | Updated 18/12/2017 07:42 SAST

Chris Barnard Biopic In The Making

Filming is due to start at the end of 2018.

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12th August 1967: Dr Christiaan Barnard (1922-2001), South African pioneer of the heart transplant, dances with Princess Grace of Monaco (1929-1982).

A biopic based on the life of South African heart transplant pioneer Dr Christiaan Barnard is in the making, following the awarding of the rights to make the film by acclaimed South African film maker, Anant Singh.

According to City Press, Singh won the rights to make the film based on a new Barnard biography, "Heartbreaker: Christiaan Barnard and the First Heart Transplant" by James-Brent Styan.

Singh, who also produced "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom", said he had always been fascinated by the Barnard story.

"I was 11 years old at the time and vividly remember the media frenzy that weekend. Also, it was a time when apartheid was at its peak and this provides an exceptional backdrop. Barnard was a trailblazer," he told City Press.

Filming is due to start in late 2018 after a script has been developed.

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Styan reportedly said: "I remember looking at the new Christiaan Barnard hospital being built in Cape Town, thinking how little I actually knew about Barnard, and I started reading up about his life. What followed was a year-and-a-half of research, when I was sucked in by the incredible story of a guy who became probably the most famous doctor the world has ever seen. I am honoured by the interest and excitement Anant has generated in filming my story, and this agreement is a dream come true."