Veteran US producers Fred Caruso (Blue Velvet) and D. Constantine Conte (48 Hours) have unveiled plans to produce the $60m medieval epic feature The Adventures Of William Tell, based on the life of the legendary national hero of Switzerland.
A single-purpose company Tell Productions Ltd. has acquired the film rights to Friedrich von Schiller's 1805 play Wilhelm Tell from the University of Chicago, and a screenplay is being written by Swiss-born author Cornelius Schregle.
Pre-production on the film, which will be co-financed by the Caruso/Conte 2010 Pan-European Fund as well independent equity financing, will begin in the fourth quarter of 2008 with principal photography following at locations in Lucerne and elsewhere in central Switzerland.
'Everyone knows the story of William Tell and the apple,' Caruso noted. 'Yet few know the circumstances behind why Tell was forced to put his eldest son at such risk and what events were yet to unfold. William Tell was a hero well in advance of his time.'
The Adventures of William Tell will mark the directorial debut for actor-stuntman Ian Quinn whose creative team includes Swiss-born DoP Ueli Steiger (10,000 BC), production designer Wolf Kroeger (Prince Of Persia, Sands Of Time), Academy Award-winning costume designer Ann Roth, armorer Simon Atherton, and composer Ludwig Wicki.
In addition, Swiss-native actress and model Kiera Chaplin, the granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin, has already been cast as Tell's wife.
This latest screen treatment of the Tell legend comes hot on the heels of Mike Eschmann's $4.9m (Euros 3.2m) Monty Python-style comedy Tell which was shot in the Swiss Alps and at the MMC studios in Cologne in 2006 as a Swiss-German-Austrian co-production. Universal Pictures International released the film in Switzerland and Germany last autumn with disappointing results: that film attracted only 55,469 admissions in Tell's native country and posted $35,711 (Euros 23,189) box office in Germany.