Johannesburg - Acclaimed film producer Anant Singh has negotiated and won the filming rights to the new Chris Barnard biography, Heartbreaker: Christiaan Barnard and the First Heart Transplant by James-Brent Styan. The deal was signed on Thursday.
The book’s publication coincided with the 50th anniversary this year of the first heart transplant, which was performed here in South Africa by the pioneering heart surgeon.
“I have always been fascinated by the Chris Barnard story,” said Singh.
“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.”
A director has yet to be selected for the project, and filming will only commence at the end of 2018, once a script is developed.
Singh’s production and distribution company, Videovision Entertainment, is also responsible for films such as Sarafina! and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
Styan, the delighted author of the book, 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,” he told City Press.