BY BILLY SUTER
WHAT do a Johannesburg-born actor based in Los Angeles and a blonde German actress have in common with South African Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius?
The answer is that LA-based Andreas Damm portrays Pistorius, and German actress Toni Garrn plays the woman he fatally shot, Reeva Steenkamp, in an American-made biopic on the killer athlete, who turns 31 on November 22.
Scheduled for DStv’s Lifetime (channel 131) at 8pm on Saturday, November 18, the made-for-television film is Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner Killer, and tells the story of the rise and fall of Sandton-born Pistorius.
Written by Amber Benson and co-produced by ThinkFactory Media, the movie is said to be based on public records, but the families of Oscar and Reeva did not participate in its making.
The movie tells the story of the world-renowned sprint runner who was dubbed the blade runner, and his rise to fame as a gold medalist Paralympic champion and as the first double-leg amputee to participate in the Olympics, says a DStv spokesman.
“It looks at Oscar’s resilience to overcome his disability, combined with his apparent fairytale relationship with model Reeva Steenkamp. It also looks at how Reeva’s brutal death shocked the world and details the courtroom drama that followed.”
Both of Pistorius’s legs were amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old. Wikipedia reports that he was the tenth athlete to compete at both the Paralympic Games and Olympic Game, competing in sprint events for below-knee amputees in Paralympic events, and in non-disabled sprint events.
After becoming a Paralympic champ, adds Wikipedia, Pistorius attempted to enter non-disabled international competition, over persistent objections of the IAAF and charges that his artificial limbs gave an unfair advantage. Pistorius eventually prevailed in this legal dispute.
Actor Damm, who plays the athlete in the new film, is originally from Johannesburg and went to the US in 2005 to attend the University of Pennsylvania before he attended the New School for Drama, class of 2012. His film credits include Off the Rails (2017) and Elementary (2012).
Actress Garrn, born in Hamburg, West Germany, includes among her movie credits Under the Bed (2015) and The Victoria’s Secrets Fashion Show (2011)
Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner Killer, produced by Eric Tomosunas and Swirl Films for Thinkfactory Media, and executive produced by Leslie Greif, is directed by Norman Stone, whose credits include the 1985 TV film, Shadowlands, teaming Josh Ackland and Claire Bloom.