Dino De Laurentiis has announced that he is pressing ahead with plans to shoot his Alexander the Great project, which is set to star Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicole Kidman and will be directed by Baz Luhrmann.
"We will shoot the film in one year's time, and it will be the Alexander that everyone has been waiting for," De Laurentiis told Italian daily Il Corriere della Sera, confirming the talent that was attached to the project when it was announced in 2003.
De Laurentiis's film, which was originally due to shoot in Morocco last April, was put on hold when Oliver Stone's rival Alexander project got underway in 2004. "I don't want to hit out against Oliver Stone, who merits respect. But his picture was certainly flawed, and was missing the spine of a screenplay," the Italian producer told the Milan newspaper.
He added: "Epic films are difficult to do well. King Arthur was also flawed. It badly copied ideas from the third film in my schedule, which is based on Valerio Massimo Manfredi's novel, The Last Legion."
The Last Legion is set during the fall of the Roman empire and tells the true story of a group of legionaries who go to Britain to save the young emperor of Rome who has been kidnapped by barbarians. The film will be shot in English. A director has not yet been named, although De Laurentiis said that Carlo Carlei is no longer attached to the project.
Meanwhile, De Laurentiis is currently preparing Decameron, an English-language movie based on Boccaccio's classic 14th century collection of stories. Written and directed by David Leland, the $38m romantic drama focuses on two young lovers fleeing from the plague that swept across Europe in 1348.
The movie will start shooting in Italy in April with Hayden Christensen. Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli heads the production's costume department. "You won't be seeing any leotards," De Laurentiis warned. "The costumes and sketches I've seen are wonderful, and are adapted to young people on the road today." The production's art department is headed up by Jim Clay.
De Laurentiis's upcoming slate also includes The Lecter Variation, which follows Hannibal Lecter from his childhood in Lithuania through a period in Paris to his arrival in the US. The film will feature Lecter at the ages of 8, 14 and 20. De Laurentiis confirmed that the film will be directed by Peter Webber, and the cast will include Gong Li.