Colin Firth, Rachel Weisz, Ian McKellen and Susan Sarandonhave signed on to star in The Colossus for director Sean Mathias.

Katselas Films' political thriller is based on AnnHarries' novel Manly Pursuits. Lisa Katselas, who previously worked on RichardIII and MrsDalloway,will produce.

Mathias co-wrote the screenplay with Myer Taub.

The story follows an imperialist diamond merchantdeposed from the Colonies who tries to restore his health in Cape Town. Heyearns for the sound of English birds outside his window, so an ornithologistmust bring 500 birds to South Africa. The ornithologist soon finds himself withseveral love interests and also a chance to stop the war with the Boers.

Los Angeles-based Little Film Company is handlingworldwide sales for The Colossus in Cannes.

Principal photography is expected to begin in autumn2006.

Mathias previously directed Bent and several Broadway andWest End productions including Elephant Man and Indiscretions.