Norwegiandirector Eva Dahr - currently in post with her new film, Mars andVenus - has been signed to directThe Orange Girl, a $3.8m (Euros 3m) feature from Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder's latest novel.

His Sophie'sWorld was published in 45 languages to become the world's bestsellingfiction book in 1995.

Norwegianproducer Axel Helgeland, of Helgeland Film, will not only stage the production,but has co-written the script with Andrea Markusson.

MediaPlus has contributed $64,000 (Euros 50,000) and the Norwegian Film Fund $32,000(Euros 25,000) development support for the film, which will shoot in Norway andSpain during the autumn of 2007.

SandrewMetronome has purchased Nordic rights."It isa warm and beautiful story about living and having the courage to love," saidHelgeland of The Orange Girl, which is Gaarder'smost successful novel since Sophie, so far translated into 38 languages.

Whilelooking for a German co-producer, Helgeland and Dahr will be in Spain this week(Nov 2) to discuss with Seville's Jalao Films, which has been attached to theproject.

On hisdeathbed Georg's father writes a letter to his then four-year-old son, tellinghim about a mysterious girl, carrying a bag of oranges, whom he sees for thefirst time in 1982. He sets out to find her; when he does, she disappears again.

His search ends in Seville, under the orange trees. In the letter he asksGeorg, now 18, a basic question, to which Georg knows he must find his ownpersonal answer.

Aformer head of now-defunct, state-owned production house, Norsk Film

A/S,Helgeland produced eight films for his own Northern Lights, before joiningNorway's Nordisk Film Production, where - among others - he made IAm Dina. The Orange Girl isthe first feature from his new shingle, which has co-produced current localblockbuster, Roar Uthaug's Cold Prey.