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Swiss penguin man to be immortalised on film

"Domino feeding time" by Bruno Zehnder Keystone Archive

Hollywood is to make a film about the life of the celebrated Swiss photographer, Bruno Zehnder, according to newspaper reports on Friday. Zehnder, who died four years ago, was particularly famed for his photographs of penguins.

According to the reports from Los Angeles, Warner Brothers plans to start work next spring on a film dedicated to the life of the eccentric penguin-lover. It will be based on a screenplay by Ned Zeman and Daniel Bernstein.

The top-paid Hollywood actor, Richard Gere, has reportedly agreed to play the part of Zehnder.

Interviewed by the Swiss newspaper “Metropol”, Bernstein said he was certain the film would be a great success. “We are sure we will win at least one Oscar,” he said.

“Penguin” Zehnder, as he became known, made 21 trips to the Antarctic between 1975 and 1997 to photograph the birds in their natural habitat.

For Zehnder his first Antarctic journey was to be a life-changing experience. “I suddenly knew what I would do with the rest of my life,” he recalled.

But it was an obsession which was to cost him his life. In 1997 Zehnder died of heart failure and hypothermia during a mission to photograph penguin chicks hatching out in a snowstorm.

Zehnder’s unique photographs won him worldwide acclaim and in 1996 he was awarded first prize in the United States for magazine photography.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR