Danish production group Nimbus has bought the film rights to French classic novel Maldonne.

A romantic thriller, Maldonne is the story of a down on his luck businessman who poses as a richer man in order to secure an inheritance and win over a beautiful woman.

It was written in 1962 by the legendary duo of Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, whose literary output has been adapted more than 15 times for the big screen. The rights were obtained after 18 months of negotiation with Jerome Lapara-Dares of World Markets Network on behalf of the estates of the writers and French publishing house De Noel.

"Given what we have paid for the rights and the scale of the project the film will be set-up as an English-language picture," said Nimbus co-chief Lars Bredo Rahbek. "We will probably modernise the plot and may take it out of France, but we have yet to settle on the writer."

Rahbek indicated that two directors both working with Nimbus - Thomas Vinterberg, in post production on Its All About Love, and Soren Kragh-Jacobsen, who recently wrapped Skaggerrak - have expressed interest in directing the film adaptation. Lapara-Dares is expected to earn an executive producer credit.

Boileau-Narcejac's credits include Entre Les Morts which Alfred Hitchcock made as Vertigo, Eyes Without A Face which Georges Franssu made as a film of the same name and Celle Qui N'Etait Plus, which was made as Les Diaboliques in 1955, TV picture The Devils in 1988 and again in 1996 as Sharon Stone and Isabelle Adjani-vehicle Diabolique in 1996.