"Heaven and Earth"

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DIRECTOR: Marleen Gorris (Academy Award winner, Antonia’s Line)

CAST: Pierce Brosnan ,Natasha McElhone (Ronin, Solaris, Californication)

WRITER: Malcolm Kohll

PRODUCERS: David Pupkewitz, Malcolm Kohll Focus Films Ltd (The 51st State, The Bone Snatcher, Secret Society, Crimetime)

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: David Pupkewitz, Edward Noeltner, Peter Dale

SCORE: Klaus Badelt (Poseidon, Pirates of the Caribbean)

DESIGNER: Mark Wilby (Red Dust

Pierce Brosnan will add his name to the list of Hollywood stars who have made films in South Africa as he heads to our shores for the shooting of his latest film, Heaven and Earth.

The former lead star of four James Bond films will lend his acting talent to the role of Lord Charles Somerset in a romantic drama set in 1826 in the Cape Colony.

"Heaven and Earth is the true story of James Miranda Barry who was appointed Army Surgeon at the Cape Colony and rose through the ranks to eventually become Surgeon General of the British Army," explains Brosnan in his online blog. "Only when the undertaker was laying out the body of the eminent physician was a startling discovery made - Dr. James Barry was in fact a woman."

Barry, who will be played by British actress Natasha McElhone (The Truman Show and Ronin) disguised herself as a man in order to graduate as a British doctor. She was also the first UK surgeon to perform a Caesarean section.

In an interview with the UK Guardian, McElhone described Barry as a fearless pioneer; "She was a fearless pioneer, pushing the frontiers of accepted medical practice to find new and effective ways of treating her patients, always putting her own safety and popularity at risk

"Barry defied every convention of her time. She disguised herself as a man to attend medical school, then excelled in an entirely male world, achieving the highest position possible for a military surgeon," added McElhone.

South African actors may be cast in supporting roles. Spier Films, a Cape-based production company, is auditioning for extras.

Nicole Klassen of the Cape Film Commission says Cape Town is now a popular destination for A-list stars.

"When a big feature of this size comes out to film in the city and province, there are a number of benefits. There's employment for crews, there's a spin off of actual tourism and tourism benefits and it is exposure for South Africa that we have the infrastructure to host and facilitate big Hollywood-style feature films," she told SABC News.

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