Michael Caine has boarded 18th century legal drama Boswell For The Defence, which Bruce Beresford is to direct from a script by Patrick Edgeworth.

The $13m project is being set up by German fund MBP, Australian-based sales house Beyond Films and the UK's Scala Productions.

Set in 18th century London, Boswell tells the story of a failed lawyer who defends an impossible case. Pre-production is slated for December 1 and shooting for May 1 next year.

Scala's Nik Powell and MBP's Rainer Mockert are executive producing, while Mark Pennell is producing. Beyond will handle international sales.

Caine and Scala are also collaborating on Fred Schepisi's Last Orders, in which Caine stars alongside Tom Courtenay, David Hemmings, Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren and Ray Winstone.

Caine's profile is riding high in the UK, with the veteran actor meeting the Queen to formally receive a knighthood. Along with a well-received performance in Cider House Rules, his recent or upcoming credits include The Quiet American, the Get Carter re-make, Quills and Shiner. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts this year honoured him with a fellowship award.